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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Guitars and music lovers swarm Park Place

    Rebecca Marie Sasnett

    Barry Sparks puts his guitars up for display as he talks with mall-goers about music and guitars during the Southern Arizona Arts and Cultural Alliance’s Guitar Festival at Park Place Mall on Saturday.

    The second annual guitar festival took place at Park Place Mall this past weekend.

    The free festival showcased local music exhibitors, live performances and engaging activities for guitar enthusiasts. The Southern Arizona Arts & Culture Alliance funded and produced the festival to instill interest in music, and expose local guitarists to the community.

    The event kicked off its first note on Friday night with Guitars and Growlers, a free opening act where attendees got the opportunity to sample adult beverages and jam with guitars. The festival continued on Saturday from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., a day that included over 25 performances, an air guitar competition, giveaways, guitar shows, promotional vendors and exhibitors.

    Performances occurred on three separate stages throughout the day, where various local artists performed genres that ranged from classical guitar to Celtic rock. Saturday’s festival also provided several activities for aspiring guitarists, such as the annual Air Guitar Competition. The competition provided an outlet for inner rock stars to experience the main stage and perform their moves in front of a cheering audience. Other activities included a GuitART booth where coordinators taught attendees to paint and decorate acoustic guitars.

    The festival gave exhibitors and vendors an opportunity to inform and inspire guitarists of all ages. Exhibitors and vendors provided valuable information on everything related to the guitar. Taylor Treadway, product specialist at Instrumental Music Center on Speedway Boulevard and Kolb Road, expressed the importance of promoting local music to the community.

    “It’s cool to get everybody out and exposed to local music,” Treadway said. “Tucson has a lot of talent that a lot of people don’t recognize. It’s important for local music to be spread out to the community, especially in such a high trafficked-area.”

    Perhaps the most memorable moment from Saturday’s event came from Tucson’s own Brian Lopez. Lopez is a successful recording artist who headlined the festival, and played an hour-long set list of Spanish folk. Lopez’s presence brought a big crowd to the main stage Saturday night.

    In between songs, Lopez reminisced on his Tucson upbringing and told several inspiring anecdotes of life on the road. Lopez also gave the audience advice for success in the music business and demonstrated his respect for the guitar and the Tucson community. Lopez tours internationally and performs in several languages.
    According to, Lopez explained why he decided to incorporate Spanish into his music.

    “[I use Spanish] because of my Latin roots and just being in Tucson, the culture is very Hispanic and Spanish is just a normal thing here,” Lopez said. “I just like language, switching it up.”

    Lopez’s debut solo album, Ultra, was released on March 6, and Lopez is currently touring the West with the Heartless Bastards.

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