Gary Flockhart: Another festival? Yes please, bring it on

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WHEN hearing that a brand new guitar and music festival is set to take place in Edinburgh next year, my first thought on the matter was: ‘Do we really need another festival?’

After all, we have plenty already. Off the top of my head, there’s the Film Festival, Art Festival, the Fringe, Jazz & Blues Festival, Military Tattoo, International Festival, Book Festival, Mela Festival, Storytelling Festival, Edinburgh’s Hogmanay, Imaginate Festival and Science Festival.

My second thought had more personal resonance: ‘I love music and this could be good for the city - if done well.’

Having read a bit more about the inaugural Edinburgh Guitar & Music Festival, which is set to take place from 25-27 May, I’m now all for it.

Why? Because as well as attracting participants and visitors from all over the globe to the Corn Exchange during its three-day run, the festival’s organisers are also looking to support the local music community - which is always a good thing.

Here’s what Adam Dzierzek, one of the driving forces behind the EGMF, had to say: “The festival aims to provide a unique international stage for showcasing the work of both professional and amateur guitarists. However, it’s also very much a community event [and] will hopefully become an annual event in the international guitar calendar.”

So, as well as a programme that includes the likes of German guitar virtuoso Peter Finger and Italian fingerstyle guitarist Daniele Bazzani, there will be two competitions for young musicians of different ages, with the finalists invited to perform live at a special event on 26 May.

In my view, even though we already have more festivals than you can shake a stick at, this one sounds like a worthy addition.