On June 3, 2007 1,683 guitarists gathered in Community American Ballpark in Kansas City to play “Smoke on the Water” and claim a Guinness world record. I wonder if they had someone like Glenn Branca (he of the avant-garde guitar orchestra) reminding the players that Deep Purple’s dead-simple iconic riff is actually played in parallel fourths, not power chords.
On Saturday, August 9 at 5 p.m., a mere 100 guitarists will gather in association with Levon Helm Studios as part of the Guitar Mash: a celebration of what the event’s founders call the “most democratic of instruments.” The goal here has little to do with world records, however. Guitar Mash is a New York City-based nonprofit organization that connects guitarists of all ages, abilities and cultures through participatory events around the world. Proceeds benefit music in education.
Mark Stewart, who has served as Paul Simon’s musical director and guitarist, and ace multi-instrumentalist Larry Campbell will lead the army of guitarists in a massive six-string symphony. Proceeds benefit local music education programs. Chords and lyrics will be available for download one week prior to the event and available on-site for easy follow-along.
Throughout the event, Mark Stewart and Larry Campbell will take turns leading their favorite tunes, sharing stories, offering tips on technique and more. Musical nourishment will be accompanied by Cue BBQ and summer cocktails, with a variety of music and art activities available for younger attendees as well.
Admission costs $80 for adults, $40 for children under 13 and $225 for entire families. Tickets are available at www.eventbrite.com/e/the-great-woodstock-mash-tickets-8994275119. For more information on the event, visit https://guitarmash.org/events.