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Okanagan Guitar Festival set to run this weekend

The Okanagan Guitar Festival is set to officially kick off tomorrow, promising an exciting array of performances, workshops, and master classes for guitar enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Alec Pearson, the festival's organizer, shared insights about the event in a recent interview.

The festival which runs Thursday, July 4 through Sunday, July 7 aims to attract a diverse audience, from music lovers to aspiring guitar players. "There are different components of this festival," Pearson explained. "The largest component is music lovers who are audience members and want to see live music, particularly classical music. But a guitar is an instrument that bridges a lot of genres, so you're going to hear music from the Baroque period, as well as jazz and South American rhythms."

In addition to the performances, the festival includes lessons, master classes, workshops, and open mics for players and students. Pearson highlighted the unique aspect of master classes, saying, "As a student, you sit down in front of a teacher, maybe you have some questions or something you want to talk about, but the traditional format is you just play your piece, and then the teacher helps you with whatever they think will help you improve on your instrument or your overall performance."

The festival welcomes participants of all ages and skill levels. "We'll have some participants that are just young kids, some university students gearing up towards a music career, and some older amateurs playing guitar for the love of it," Pearson said.

The Okanagan Guitar Festival first took place in 2020 but was cancelled due to the pandemic, with some live-streamed concerts as a substitute. The festival resumed in person in 2022, and this year marks its third iteration. The primary venue for the festival is St. Michael's Cathedral and All Saints, a location Pearson praised for its acoustics. "It's a beautiful place for live music just outside of downtown Kelowna. When you see the pictures, you know instantly that it’s perfect with its tall ceilings and all-wood construction. The acoustics in there are amazing."

For those interested in attending, tickets can be purchased at okanaganguitar.com. "We have concerts happening Thursday night, Friday night, and Saturday night, and then a free concert on Sunday. If you want to attend all three concerts, we have a concert pass where you can purchase three tickets for the price of two. We also have discounted ticket prices for seniors and students," Pearson noted. Tickets will also be available at the door, with plenty of seating in the spacious church venue.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit OkanaganGuitar.com.

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