Review : Melbourne Guitar Show 2019 at Caulfield Racecourse

Review by Natasha Wyborn

Melbourne Guitar Show 2019 at Caulfield Racecourse Photographer: David Jackson

Caulfield, known worldwide for its racetrack, was overrun with guitar players, enthusiasts and fans alike over the weekend. The venue gave way for what has to be one of the best guitar playing line-ups in the festivals history. The event held under complete cover in the members grandstand drew fans and players alike to two days of guitar mania. From the moment you entered the building you were greeted by 50,000 watts of pure guitar shredding. This area of course was the trade component of the show where budding guitarists got to play and talk everything from the classics of Gibson and Fender and numerous independent and personal guitar makers who were on show. But it didn’t end there. Amplifiers with some wicked pedals and everything accessory wise to make even the most professional player salivate. All stall holders were more than generous with their time and experience. Over $75,000 was paid out for the most expensive guitar of the weekend confirming build the right instrument and they will buy.

Venture upstairs and enter a musical nirvana with a stellar line up. The playing areas were broken up into sections including The Whammy Bar, The Exclusively Acoustic Stage, The Mezzanine Stage and the Winners Circle Workshop Room. Day one saw the likes of Sarah McLeod, Ash Grunwald and American guest Keith Merrow demonstrate why they are some of the most in demand acts in Australia and overseas. 

For me one of the stand out highlights for day one was an intimate Q&A session with guitar genius Michael Dolce. Having played with just about everyone in Australian music over the past 20 years Dolce gave a very realistic insight into why he is one of the country’s most sought after guitarists. I have to also say it was great to see Newcastle local Jeremy Barnes on stage doing what he does best.

Day two highlights included a celestial performance from The Cartridge Family followed by Lloyd Spiegel who left the laymen gasping with thoughts of just how bloody good is he? The appearance of 70’s band Stars; featuring Mal Eastick, Nick Charles, Roger McLachlan and Mick Pealing wet the punters appetite. Having never seen this band live it was a real treat and the rendition of their classic “Last of the River Boats” pushed it over the edge.  

I was warned in advance to catch the traditional Triple M All-Star Jam and I was not disappointed. Past jam regulars Simon Horsford and James Ryan invited the cream of Australian guitar players on stage which included Mal Eastick, Pete Robinson, Dennis Jones, Mick Pealing, Roger McLachlan, Charlie Bedford, Kathleen Halloran with Marcus Ryan on drums. The set was raised up a notch when The Badloves front man Michael Spiby gave the audience a breathtaking version of “Green Limousine” followed by The Band classic “The Weight”

Overall what a fantastic weekend for the player and fan alike. I got a thrill watching a number of parents, with children in tow, purchasing a guitar assuring the gene pool of talent in this country remains endless. The festival itself was also extremely user friendly with an affordable entrance fee, reasonably priced exhibitor costs complete with heaps of show only bargains and free parking. Mark the date for 2020 I know I will.

Melbourne Guitar Show August 3&4 Caulfield Racecourse Victoria

Photo Gallery : Melbourne Guitar Show 2019 at Caulfield Racecourse