With the world-famous Kitchener Blues Festival running from Aug. 4-7, Elmira-resident John Woods hopes to capitalize on the fact that thousands of passionate music fans will descend on the region by holding his second guitar swap and show at Lions Hall in Elmira tomorrow (Sunday). “That’s part of the reason why we picked this weekend,” Woods said. “I haven’t advertised that fact, I didn’t want to hang on their coattails, but you can come and visit our show and still be back in Kitchener by noon on Sunday when the first act takes to the stage.”
After the success of his first guitar swap last November, which saw some 500 people crowd into Lions Hall, Woods hopes for much of this same this weekend. The show includes vendors, collectors, hobbyists, music teachers, performers, appraisers and even a promotional agency.
Juno-award winners Ted Leonard and Ray Mercey will also be in attendance for instrument demonstrations and to meet and greet with fans and music lovers alike.
“We’ve had a tremendous response again,” said Woods of this year’s event. “Last year we had several vendors from Toronto and Barrie and London, and we had one as far away as Nova Scotia.”
Woods said the idea for the show and swap came to him when he realized just how prohibitive it had become to travel to shows in other cities such as Toronto.
“You can pay $20 to park and another $20 to get in, so we’ve kept the costs low to appeal to musicians in the area,” he said. “That was our idea, to keep it small and grassroots and to appeal to the hobbyists as well as the bigger vendors.”
He started playing guitar nearly 30 years ago, and his collection has grown to include 10 different guitars, which he will display at the show, with a few for sale as well.
“It was something I could practice away at on my own,” said Woods of why he first picked up the guitar so many years ago. “I had taken piano lessons and played the trombone in high school, and I was just ready for something a little bit different and a little more expressive.”
The show runs from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Sunday at Lions Hall in Elmira. The cost of admission is $5 and parking is free. For more information visit www.ontarioguitarshows.com.