How Mannheim's Guitar Summit Plans to Redefine the Guitar Show

Here at Reverb, we’re excited to lend our support to a brand new guitar show taking place in Mannheim, Germany from September 8 to September 10.

With over 100 workshops included in your general admission ticket, Guitar Summit is certainly a twist on the typical guitar show model. Show organiser Stephan Killermann took inspiration from online music communities, finding out what questions players searched for the most so that he could build the show's workshops around answering them.

We caught up with Stephan to find out why guitarists should think about making the trip and supporting the new show.

Guitar Summit is a brand new event starting at a time when some of the biggest and most established events on the calendar are slightly struggling. How did the idea come about, and what is it that sets Guitar Summit apart from other shows?

As Germany’s biggest guitar and bass magazine, we simply felt the need to bring all of the guitar industry and the whole guitar player scene back together at one big event. In fact, we were asked to do so by many musicians, builders, and companies.

Yes, it does seems that music [instrument] shows have a hard time nowadays competing with what’s on offer online. We think our biggest rival is not a growing lack of interest in music, but simply that the internet keeps the guitar players in their homes doing their thing, talking, and sharing their music virtually. The community is still alive and thriving, it’s just doing so online. We want to get them back to a face–to–face event.

Guitar Summit will have over 100 workshops on six stages. It provides a separated area for amps with a hands–on mentality. There will be a separate floor and a special stage for all of the acoustic guitar brands.

We wanted to make sure to have every single topic — pedals, amplifiers, basses, acoustic guitars, studio/recording, and boutique guitars — displayed well. The Guitar Summit should be the go–to event for everybody who is interested in guitars and the musical environment.

Which other events have you looked to for inspiration?

Well, we didn't compare that much. We liked the spirit of the Sweden's Fuzz Guitar show, and instantly felt that we need a certain periphery of interests at the show to make a difference to already existing shows.

Right away, we knew that having a big number of workshops is what we definitely need. That’s what the community is looking for — a place to meet and share interests.

And what’s going to be unique about Guitar Summit?

To get the guitarists’ and bass players’ attention, we had to make sure that our workshops would cover the types of topics that are typically searched for on YouTube. We converted all of those YouTube searches about digital amps, microphones, and tips and tricks about how to set up your guitar into workshops held by experts.

Who else than Ola Englund knows more about the differences between all those digital amps on the market? And who, if not Jon Gomm, could show you some tricks of percussive fingerstyle?

Guitar players are eager to learn, and we want to be a platform that takes all the knowledge and all the interests that are available online and transforms them into a workshop with people sitting and talking next to each other. Pretty old school, right?

Bringing influential players like Guthrie Govan, Ola Englund, Ida Nielsen, and Jon Gomm to one big event with more than 1900m2 of exhibition on four separate floors with 300 brands and more than 100 workshops sounds to us like the perfect recipe.

Why did you decided to do it in Mannheim?

So many reasons. Mannheim is the UNESCO, the city of music, and it has a strong musical heritage. The founder of Gretsch was born in Mannheim, for example. Practically, too, the city is close to the French, Swiss, and Austrian border and easily reached by train or even plane via Frankfurt.

The Rosengarten is a great location for a show like ours, and it is built around one of the most traditional concert halls in the area, which is where our aftershow parties will take place.

Those shows will feature performances by artists like Jon Gomm and Ida Nielsen, an all–star jam with players from Thomas Blug to Guthrie Govan, and a show with famous post–rockers Long Distance Calling.

What are you most looking forward to about the show?

We’re looking forward to seeing if our plans work out and if we will achieve our goal of bringing the whole scene back together at an event that covers all the needs of today’s guitarists and bassists.

There are so many rumours about the guitar being dead (even in publications like the Washington Post), and we’re going to prove the opposite.

Give us three reasons European guitarists should attend Guitar Summit 2017.

  1. There are over a 100 workshops covering all the areas from acoustic to metal to business to DIY technical stuff.

  2. What we call ‘Tube Amp–Finity’ offers you the possibility to check out 64 tube amps and 64 cabs and combine them in any possible combination with the flip of a switch — an inspiring experience!

  3. On top of that, there will be parties with good live music on Friday and Saturday evening. Friday, we'll be celebrating the Guitar Summit Acoustic Party, and on Saturday, it will be loud and electric. Everything is included in the ticket.

You can grab your tickets to the show here, and be sure to swing by the Reverb booth (149) to say hello while you're there. You can also catch our workshop — “How to Make Money Buying and Selling Gear” — on Sunday at 2:15 PM, location to be announced.

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