Seven years ago, Baker Rorick began with an idea to have a small show where some fine guitar builders could get together, swap stories and techniques, pick a little bit and have something that could be perhaps a fledgling, distant cousin of the much larger gatherings of fine luthiers at Healdsburg or Montreal.
Now, many others have dropped off the map, but Rorick’s seventh annual Woodstock Invitational Luthiers Showcase returns again to the Bearsville Theater and other local environs on Saturday, October 25 and Sunday, October 26, larger than ever, with more events, not only for the guitar aficionados, but with shows featuring artists playing the beautiful instruments, as well as music workshops, tonewood displays, and a crop of wooden guitars unlike any you’ll see anywhere.
This year there’ll be 76 guitar builders exhibiting their wares at Bearsville. “The hand building community that we’ve got here, the best of the best,” says Rorick. “It amazes me year after year, people come and buy guitars. Some start at $20,000 and they have a waiting list that’s four years long. The artistry gets better and better, people are still pushing the envelope as the guitar continues to evolve. I have people coming from Japan this year. One exhibitor has at least six clients from all over the world to pick up guitars that were ordered three, four years ago. The community continues with all its generosity, and spirit.”
The whole rollicking festival kicks off with a warm-up show featuring John Sebastian, Happy Traum, Kinloch Nelson, Craig D’Andrea and 19 year-old guitar picking prodigy Macyn Taylor on Thursday, October 23 at Club Helsinki Hudson. Friday is a set up day, but the displays and activities begin in earnest at 11 a.m. Saturday, October 25 at the Bearsville Theater. Performances start then in the theater’s lounge, with local and national players demonstrating for different guitar builders. Peter Einhorn kicks things off, Paul Asbell plays for two different builders; the magnificent Eddie Diehl surfaces for one of his two yearly performances at 12:30 p.m. He’ll have Lou Pappas on bass. Mark Dziuba plays for Kraut Guitars, Martin Keith displays his chops on his own instruments. Sunday, Bruce Ackerman plays; the incredible Frank Vignola and Vinny Raniolo demonstrate for Thorell Fine Guitars. That portion of the program climaxes with Larry Campbell and Teresa Williams and friends in concert at 5:10 p.m. Sunday.
The Saturday Night String Sampler concert with David Bromberg and Larry Campbell at the Woodstock Playhouse, is sold out. Macyn Taylor and Itamar Erez will also perform on that show, and Taylor will play for Petros Guitars at 2:25 p.m. Saturday in the lounge.
General Admission ticket options include $20 per day, or a $35 two day pass, available at woodstockinvitational.com or at the door, and of course, the Bearsville Theater is at 291 & 293 Tinker Street (Route 212), Woodstock.
The String Sampler Concert with Bromberg and Campbell is sold out.
For the pre-show concert in Hudson, Premier Seating is $45, Reserved Seating is $35, General Admission (standing room) $25; advance tickets through the Club Helsinki Box Office. 405 Columbia Street, Hudson, or by calling 518-828-4800 or online at