August 13, 2014: Some serious cash is up for grabs this weekend in the 2nd Annual Wilson Center Guitar Competition & Festival, which begins Thursday, August 14, and runs through Saturday, August 16. The event will be held at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts in Brookfield, Wisconsin, a Milwaukee suburb. Guitarists from 21 states as well as Canada, Israel, Slovenia, and Australia -- 63 guitarists in all -- will compete in four categories: Rock/Blues, Jazz, Fingerstyle, and Classical.
Total prize money adds up to more than $22,000, with first place winners taking home $3,000 in each category. Second and third place finalists will take home $1,500 and $1,000 respectively. This is an invitation only competition which required contestants to submit videos via YouTube or DVD earlier this year to be considered. Start practicing now for next year and be ready to submit your video beginning next February.
Milwaukee native and guitar virtuoso Greg Koch will perform and be one of many highly qualified judges for the competition. Koch will perform Friday, August 15th and will be one of several judges in the Rock/Blues category. Koch will also teach a masterclass from 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Friday. Canadian flamenco guitarist Jesse Cook will perform Saturday, August 16th and will teach a masterclass from 2:00 to 3:00 Friday.
Other masterclasses feature jazz guitarist Jack Grassel (3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday), and classical guitarist Anne Waller (also 3:00 to 5:00 p.m. Thursday). Semi-finals for the competition take place beginning at 9:00 a.m. Thursday and Friday, with the finals on Saturday. First place winners in each category will open the Jesse Cook performance Saturday evening.
The competition and festival is free and open to the public.
-- Adam St. James
Read Guitar.com's recent Greg Koch interview: Greg Koch: The Wild Man of Wauwatosa