It was a guitarist’s and music nerd’s dream come true. This year marks the fourth Tacoma Guitar Festival, one of the largest guitar shows in the West and the largest gathering of the Pacific Northwest guitar community.
The event kicked off April 21 and continued on through April 22. The Tacoma Dome was packed with performers, guest speakers and a vast array of vendors.
As is typical of large guitar shows, many prominent guitar and guitar equipment manufacturers ran booths. Everyone from Yamaha and Fender to Paul Reed Smith Guitars and Eventide Audio attended the gathering. The popular company TV Jones even made an appearance and flaunted their brand-new PAF style pickups.
David Ellefson, the bass player from Megadeth, Trevor Gordon Hall, Will McFarlane, Carl Tosten, Dan Walker, and John 5 and the Creatures all performed. Paul Reed Smith, the founder and head of Paul Reed Smith Guitars, also gave a talk about the history of electric guitars.
The Tacoma Guitar Festival is a culmination of years of hard work. For the past four years, it has been ran by Bruce Adolph, the head of Adolph Agency Incorporated.
Though Adolph was busy running the show, he explained the history of the event and how he got involved.
Prior to starting the Tacoma Guitar Festival, Adolph attended the much smaller Seattle/Tacoma Guitar Show, a tabletop event in Kent. His first year at the show, he went as nothing more than a consumer and music lover. The second year, he decided to come in as a vendor. After several years, he was asked to be a partner and help run the Seattle/Tacoma Guitar Show and has been helping run it ever since.
After many years, he received a call from the Tacoma Dome, but didn’t pay it much mind. When he almost immediately received an email requesting his correspondence, he took notice. They wanted to let him know that Tom Alexander, who helped run the Dallas Guitar Show — the largest guitar show in the world — was interested in starting a guitar festival in Tacoma.
Afterwards, Alexander and Adolph signed with the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma Guitar Festival was born.
“[The city of] Tacoma are great partners. They are organized and they have a great marketing team,” Adolph said.
He also expressed his love for the Tacoma music scene, describing it as a “growing community.”
Between the amazing musicians and vendors, getting to meet Adolph and spending a paycheck on a guitar amp I just couldn’t say no to, I cannot recommend the Tacoma Guitar Festival more highly.
Lucas is a PPE major in University of Washington Tacoma, and he is graduating with a Bachelor’s in philosophy. His primary interests are philosophy, politics, and law. He is currently working as a teacher at a secondary school while preparing to attend law school immediately following graduation.