2,000 guitarists to strum way into record books

UP TO 2,000 people are expected to tune their guitars and strum their way to a world record attempt in West Cork later this month.

Organisers of the International Guitar Festival in Clonakilty say they are on target to have enough people to break the record for the largest ensemble guitar performance.

They need more than 2,052 people, all playing the same song on the guitar at the same time, to break the record held by a group which performed Woodie Guthrie’s This Is Your Land song in California in July 2008.

That group smashed the previous record held by 1,859 Texan musicians.

Ray Blackwell, who is on the organising committee for Clonakilty’s record breaking attempt, said between 500 and 800 people have already signed up online for the attempt on September 19.

Participants will be asked to gather in the town’s Emmet Square from 11am for registration and verification.

They will then be asked to play the old school favourite, Óró, Sé do Bheatha ‘Bhaile, led by two-time Meteor award winning singer-songwriter John Spillane and other top guitarists like Bill Shanley and Charlie Parr who will be taking part in the international festival.

It is hoped that after a few practice runs, the first record breaking attempt will be made at 12 noon. Spillane has put a tutorial for the song online.

Mr Blackwell said he hopes the record breaking attempt will be the highlight of what will be the town’s fifth International Guitar Festival.

“This is a call to all you closet guitarists, all you two chord heroes and weekend warriors, all you keepers and guardians of budding musicians to come out and celebrate the guitar,” he said.

“This is our fifth year and we wanted something big to mark it.”

The committee will set up sign-up stations in Cork city in the coming days to facilitate people who wish to take part. A radio advertising campaign is due to start soon.

Alternatively, people can register their interest on www.clonguitarfest.com where Spillane’s tutorial is also available.

The Clonakilty International Guitar Festival takes place from September 17 to 20. Featured artists include guitar legends like Scott Matthews, Charlie Parr, Dave Acari and George Lowden.

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