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McNally Smith to Host Second Annual Lowertown Guitar Festival Saturday, August 9th in Mears Park Downtown St. Paul

McNally Smith College of Music is honored to host the second annual Lowertown Guitar Festival — a free day of outdoor live music taking place from 2–10 p.m. on Saturday, August 9th, 2014 in Mears Park downtown St. Paul. Unlike other music festivals, which often cater to a specific genre (e.g., jazz, blues), Lowertown Guitar Festival celebrates one of America’s most beloved instruments — guitar — and the diverse artists who play it. Last year’s inaugural Lowertown Guitar Festival drew nearly 2,000 attendees to Saint Paul’s vibrant arts district, and this year’s event promises to be even bigger and better.

For complete line-up and schedule visit

Offering something for all tastes, Lowertown Guitar Festival’s eclectic 2014 line-up features six-string greats such as five-time GRAMMY nominee and jazz/blues legend Robben Ford (Joni Mitchell, Miles Davis, George Harrison), Fender clinician/bluesman Greg Koch, Jim Campilongo (Norah Jones, Cake, Bright Eyes), rockabilly/country player Rosie Flores and National Fingerstyle Guitar Champion Phil Heywood (Leo Kottke, A Prairie Home Companion).

St. Paul-based singer/songwriter Molly Maher will reprise her role as Lowertown Guitar Festival emcee. Maher will be also be joined by slide guitarist/vocalist Gabriela Sweet, to headline the festival’s Acoustic Stage, which also features sets from indie-rock phenom Jeremy Ylvisaker (Andrew Bird, Alpha Consumer, Cloax Ox), and Minneapolis-based composer/guitarist Chris Beaty.

In continued support of artistry and education, McNally Smith is also hosting free guitar workshops on its nearby campus in the early afternoon prior to the Lowertown Guitar Festival concerts. These workshops are open to the public and feature clinician Greg Koch (Fender) and a special guitar pedal clinic lead by John Justen of Eclipse Music.

Guitarists aged 15–19 are encouraged to enter the special Guitar Day: Teen Guitar Competition that takes place in the morning before the workshops. A panel of esteemed judges will award prizes to a few talented teens — including a grand prize Fender Stratocaster provided by Fender Musical Instruments and additional prizes courtesy of McNally Smith and Guitar Center. For more workshop info and to register for the Teen Guitar Competition, visit

Support for the Lowertown Guitar Festival comes from St. Paul Cultural STAR, the Lowertown Future Fund of the St. Paul Foundation, McNally Smith College of Music, MN Guitar Society, Willie’s American Guitars, Electro-Voice, Fender Musical Instruments, Martin Guitars, Real-Phonic Radio Hour, Capitol Guitars, Eclipse Music, Ellis Drum Shop, KBEM Jazz 88 and Summit Brewing.