Highlights of the line-up include blues & roots musician Ash Grunwald, who will present a show at the Dunstan Playhouse on July 17 featuring songs from his back catalogue and recent releases. The concert will also see local singer-guitarist Nick Kipridis, of The Streamliners, debut of his new side project History of Trees.

The July 4-25 festival will include classical ensemble Melbourne Guitar Quartet, in a double bill with 2019 Adelaide International Classical Guitar Competition winner Andrew Blanch; a flamenco double bill with guitarist Paco Lara and his quartet, supported by Adelaide flamenco ensemble Compañía Alma Flamenca; and a show titled The Lowdown, in which six local bassists will showcase their instruments with music traversing funk, jazz, rock, experimental and country.

Grigoryan says that after 2020’s “calamitous mark on 
the arts industry”, he is thrilled that the previously biennial Guitar Festival will be held annually from now on.

Ongoing international border restrictions and COVID-19 uncertainty mean this year’s event features an all-Australian line-up.

“We are very fortunate to have so many extraordinary guitarists living right here in Australia, and this year is the perfect opportunity to celebrate their artistic excellence with a selection of inspiring performances and unique collaborations,” Grigoryan says.

“As always, we will shine a light on the guitar’s ability to star in any genre of music – everything from classical and jazz to rock, blues & roots and flamenco. It’s going to be a spectacular few weeks as we explore all the magnificent possibilities of this instrument, and the musicians who have spent years and even decades honing their skills.”

As previously announced, the headline event (at Her Majesty’s Theatre on July 15) will be The Stones’ Sticky Fingers – a touring show featuring Australian musicians Tim Rogers, Adalita, Phil Jamieson and Tex Perkins ­that pays tribute to the Rolling Stones’ iconic album.

Other 2021 Guitar Festival artists include Adelaide cabaret performer Carla Lippis, performing with a backing band including her guitarist husband Geoff Crowther; jazz guitarists Hugh Stuckey and James Muller; folk duo Hussy Hicks and multi-instrumentalist Lecia Louise

The festival encompasses a “classical intensive” featuring workshops and tutorials, a week-long blues & roots course, and an On the Road program presenting performances across towns in regional South Australia.

The festival has also co-commissioned The Bridge of San Luis Rey, an adaptation by Phillip Kavanagh of the Thornton Wilder novel of the same name by Brink Productions. It will feature Paul Capsis alongside guitarists Slava Grigoryan and Manus Noble, and is set to open in the Space Theatre on July 9.

The full 2021 Adelaide Guitar Festival is available online.

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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.