Archtop Guitar International Music Festival and Famous Blue Guitar Exhibition in Arvada


Olde Town Arvada has announced that the world’s only archtop guitar festival and famous Blue Guitar Exhibit once on display at the Smithsonian will come to Colorado September 9-11, 2022.

“For a weekend in September, Olde Town Arvada will become the center of the archtop guitar universe,” said festival organizer Peter Henriksen. “This unique music festival is the only one of its kind and features over 30 of the world’s leading guitar makers showcasing their work, as well as world-class musicians, teachers and clinicians offering workshops and concerts. Over 60 hours of music and over 30 different workshops and clinics will be hosted by various local businesses in Old Town Arvada, all within walking distance, creating the most unique guitar-focused music festival in the world.

The archtop guitar, from its unlikely beginnings to its various current incarnations, is arguably the most difficult to build and most rewarding to play of all guitar styles. Traditionally embraced by jazz guitarists, the versatility of the archtop guitar has also made it a staple instrument in all genres for over a century, including country, folk and western swing music. Even some progressive rock players have relied on the archtop’s unique voice for their sound. The creators behind these special instruments, and the players who love them, can be found at luthiers’ shows around the world, but the upcoming Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival is the only show dedicated solely to these special luthiers and musicians.

Joining the Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival includes three exciting attractions:

  • The famous Collection of blue guitars will make their first touring appearance at the Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival. In 1995, famed guitar collector Scott Chinery commissioned 22 of the world’s top luthiers to build a blue archtop guitar. The collection has been on display at the Smithsonian and was recently purchased by the Archtop Foundation, whose mission is to promote the art, understanding and continued development of the archtop guitar. The Archtop Festival will offer a performance and a discussion forum with the luthiers present whose work is part of this historical collection. More information is available at Follow Blue Guitars on Instagram @theblueguitars
  • The film “The Scissors Are Calling” will have its Colorado premiere at the Harkins Arvada Theater during the Archtop Festival. This feature-length documentary – featuring David Grisman, Ben Harper, Mark Knopfler and others – is a profile of John Monteleone, one of the world’s greatest guitar makers and a living artist. Monteleone’s works are on permanent display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“It was like meeting Stradivari,” remembers the famous musician Knopfler. John Monteleone: The Scissors Are Calling looks beyond the technical aspects of beloved violin making and examines the life, passion, talent and unique approach that Monteleone takes to his art.

  • In the week leading up to the Archtop Festival, Frank Vignola brings his Big Jersey Guitar Camp in Colorado for the first time. Join Vignola and friends at the Hilton Garden Inn in Arvada for an intensive 4-day guitar course to improve your playing, immersed in ensemble jams, masterclasses and Q&A sessions with the pros! Beginners, intermediate and advanced students are welcome. There are still a few places available, details on

Guitar makers who will be attending include: Ken Parker Archtops; Ribbecke guitars; Benedetto guitars; Thorell Fine Guitars; Tad Brown guitars; Maegen Wells guitars and mandolins; LHT Guitars; Mirabella guitars and restorations; Ambrosio Guitars; Galloup guitars; Denny Kopp; Sadowsky Guitars; Zimnicki guitars; German guitars; Manzer Guitars; Koentopp guitars; Wilkie String Instruments; Comins Guitars; Sonntag Guitars; Eastman; Tim Bram; Steve Grimes; Tim Frick; Mario Beauregard and more.

Artists and clinicians who will perform and teach during the festival include: Bobby Broom; Jimmy Bruno; Frank Vignola; Farid Haque; Sean McGowan; Bruce Forman; Corey Christiansen; Sid Jacobs; Ted Ludwig; Donovan Raitt; John Story; Wayne Wilkinson; Tim Lerch; Pat Bergeson; Zakk Jones; Paul Ricci & Mafalda; Jim Nichols; Beth Marlis; Alicyn Yaffee; Perry Smith; Will Brahm; Davy Mooney; Marc Tonelli; Lisa Liu and more.

Tickets for the Rocky Mountain Archtop Festival 2022 are on sale now- and costs $30 for guitar exhibit and film, $150 for workshop pass (limited to 200 participants), with many concerts and events also free for the public. Festival sponsorships are also available. For details, email [email protected]

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