Lowertown Guitar Festival 2017

McNally Smith College of Music is excited to present the 5th Annual Lowertown Guitar Festival — a fun-filled day of FREE live music — on Saturday, August 5th. With an average annual attendance of over 4,000 music fans, this year’s Fest returns to the great outdoors and beautiful Mears Park in Lowertown St. Paul, Minnesota.

Unlike other music festivals, which often cater to a specific genre, Lowertown Guitar Festival celebrates one of America’s most beloved instruments — guitar — and the diverse artists who play it. Offering something for all tastes, LGF 2017’s eclectic line-up promises to be the best yet!

Big Apple-based co-headliners Gil Parris and Bernie Williams (the latter best known outside music circles for his highly-decorated 16-year run as centerfielder for the New York Yankees) aim to bring some serious star power to St. Paul with their unique blend of jazz, rock, blues and Latin rhythms. Backing up this dynamic duo (and performing a set of his own), is renowned Fender clinician and best-selling Hal Leonard author and video instructor Greg Koch, who makes his third Fest appearance — this time with the Koch-Marshall Trio, featuring son Dylan Koch on drums and Toby Lee Marshall on Hammond B3 organ.

Also taking the Main Stage at Mears Park: world-class fingerstyle guitarist Doyle Dykes, blistering jazz-rock wunderkind Todd Clouser (a Twin Cities native, now a resident of Mexico City), internationally renowned and staggeringly accomplished jazz guitarist Mimi Fox, and rootsy, critically-acclaimed Memphis-based singer/songwriter John Paul Keith.

The Sixth Street Stage will be rocking as well, featuring must-see sets by Twin Cities-based über-guitarist Zacc Harris (recently named City Pages “Best Jazz Artist” of 2017) and his American Reverie project, McNally Smith student supergroup Inter Alia, Mexican-meets-Americana masters Javier Trejo Trio and prolific vintage American guitarist Dakota Dave Hull.

Save some energy for the Willie’s American Guitars afterparty at Black Dog Cafe, with sets by rockabilly and swing country wizards Jack Knife and the Sharps and soulful roots rocker Hannah von der Hoff.

GUITAR DAY: Teen Guitar Competition 

Guitarists aged 15–19 are encouraged to enter the GUITAR DAY: Teen Guitar Competition — a fun and friendly contest taking place he morning of Lowertown Guitar Festival. A panel of esteemed judges will award prizes — including a  piano black 5th Avenue Jazz Guitar, courtesy of Godin Guitars! Other prizes include free studio time and Summer Workshops scholarships courtesy of McNally Smith. All styles welcome! For details and registration visit: www.mcnallysmith.edu/guitarday


Support for Lowertown Guitar Festival 2017 comes from Saint Paul Cultural STAR Program, Lowertown Future FundSue McLean & Associates, Godin GuitarsTrue Center Group, McNally Smith College of Music, Willie’s American GuitarsCapitol GuitarsFender Musical Instruments, LaVonne MusicBlack Dog Cafe, Reverend GuitarsSpectacle ShoppeSummit Brewing, Premier Guitar, Electro-VoiceMinnesota Guitar Society and Hayburner.