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Guitar Fest LIVE! Returns to Livermore with Full Weekend of Events

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Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2011 12:00 am

Livermore Valley Performing Arts Center (LVPAC) Guitar Fest LIVE! will return for its third annual weekend of events, bringing together guitar legends, musicians and fans for a celebration of guitar-inspired music on September 16th and 17th in downtown Livermore.

Performances and events will feature a variety of guitar virtuosos and music gurus, and include free events and clinics. The weekend begins Friday night, Sept. 16, with famed jazz fusion guitarist Lee Ritenour in the Bankhead Theater. It ends Saturday night, Sept. 17, with Sonny Landreth showcasing his mastery of the slide guitar. Concert ticket prices start at $14 for students and range from $39 to $62 for adults.

On Saturday afternoon, free activities include clinics with world-class guitarists sharing their talent and techniques at ABC Music Store and Academy located on First Street. A manufacturers' showcase featuring the latest and greatest guitar gear and accessories will be held in the Bankhead Theater lobby.

The festival's free concerts include acoustic guitar music at Blacksmith Square hosted by KFOG's Rosalie Howarth, DJ for Acoustic Sunrise, Sunset and World Music Hour, and live concerts Friday and Saturday evening in the Bankhead's outdoor amphitheater. Livermore's award-winning wines, ice cold American craft brews, and small plates will be available at Blacksmith Square from John Christopher Cellars, Swirl Wine and Tapas Bar, and Tap 25. Those still looking for more fun and flavor can browse at nearby eclectic boutiques, including Victorine Olive Oil with a unique collection of balsamic vinegars and flavored olive oils, GreenLeaf BBQ offering gourmet barbeque products and sauces from award winning chefs, and Artistic Edge providing one-of-a-kind handmade gifts for home, friends and family.

LVPAC Guitar Fest LIVE! offers something for everyone with two world-class concerts of acoustic and electric guitar music.

Friday evening, Grammy Award-winning jazz guitarist Lee "Captain Fingers" Ritenour and his special guest James Robinson will hit the Bankhead stage at 8:00 p.m. Guitar Player Magazine awarded Ritenour the 2010 Lifetime Achievement Award for his exceptional jazz fusion guitar styling. Acoustic guitarist James Robinson has been named "an extraordinary talent who deserves to be heard." Ticket holders are welcome to come early to the performance for a reception in the lobby starting at 7:00 p.m. with Livermore Valley wines, local cheeses and browse the manufacturers' showcase of premium guitar gear, accessories, and demo the new equipment.

On Saturday night, legendary slide guitarist Sonny Landreth will perform at the Bankhead along with special guests, blues guitar phenomenon Eric Gales, and The Michael Landau Group. The performance commences at 8:00 p.m. with the manufacturers' showcase, as well as Lagunitas beer and local sausages, offered in the lobby an hour before the show. Host and M.C. for this year's festival will be Art Thompson, Senior Editor of Guitar Player magazine (and Livermore native!), who will be also teaching a free clinic Saturday afternoon.

For the music lover who doesn't want to miss a beat during the weekend-long guitar celebration, the "Guitar Fest LIVE! Package for Two," includes it all. This comprehensive package includes two reserved seats in the top price range of seating at the Bankhead Theater for both evening concerts, Lee Ritenour on September 16 and Sonny Landreth on September 17, as well as an exclusive meet and greet opportunity with Sonny Landreth after his performance. Package guests will stay for two nights at the nearby Doubletree Hotel by Hilton (double occupancy) with continental breakfast, and receive a selection of gifts including two commemorative T-shirts, caps and posters, two LVPAC canvas bags, and more festival swag! This special "Guitar Fest LIVE! Package for Two," a $485 value, is offered for a limited time only at just $375, and must be booked by calling the box office at 925-373-6800.

Over the past three years, Livermore's Bankhead Theater has established a reputation as a hub for guitar enthusiasts and music lovers throughout the Bay Area and will continue to attract them during the 2011-2012 season. Recent sold-out summer performances by guitar greats Eric Johnson and Ottmar Liebert will be followed on November 7, 2011 by legendary guitarist, Leo Kottke who returns to the Bankhead Theater with his unique language of six- and 12-string guitars, embracing folk styles, pop melodies and classical influences. On January 24, 2012, International Guitar Night will bring together onstage the world's foremost acoustic guitarists from England, Germany and Brazil to perform their latest compositions. In addition to Leo Kottke and International Guitar Night, the expanded 2011-2012 season also includes the blues of The Robert Cray Band and Tommy Castro, as well as exceptional country and bluegrass guitarists.

The Bankhead Theater is located at 2400 First Street in Downtown Livermore. The ticket office is open Tuesday through Saturday from 12:00 noon to 6:00 p.m. To purchase tickets call 925-373-6800, or visit the website at www.bankheadtheater.org. For additional information about LVPAC Guitar Fest LIVE! visit www.guitarplayerlive.com.