Photos: The First-Ever Headstock Guitar Lover’s Festival

Putting on a handmade guitar show is no small feat, even during non-pandemic times. Many have come and gone (including the now-legendary Healdsburg Guitar Show), while a few have found their footing and continue to be a vital link between luthiers and customers. Fact of the matter is, as fun as it is seeing the highest levels of guitar building on Instagram, nothing beats actually seeing (and playing) these guitars up-close… and meeting these amazing builders.

Since COVID, many guitar shows (and even NAMM) have been rescheduled or postponed. But last week, two brave event organizers – Pat Hurley and Scott Bass – debuted the first-ever Headstock Guitar Lovers Festival in San Diego. Though this was their first foray into fretted instruments, Hurley and Bass are no strangers to the SoCal exhibition space – each year they put on a series of showcases featuring the world of handcrafted surfboards.

The Headstock festival was held November 6-7, 2021 at San Diego’s Liberty Station Conference Center and offered a promising glimpse at what will hopefully be an annual tradition. Exhibiting were some FJ favorites like Otto D’Ambrosio and Kenny Hill, Calton Cases, our longtime contributor Todd Lunneborg, and former subject Scott Walker. We tapped another member of the FJ community, luthier Isaac Jang, to take the photos you see below. (Thanks, Isaac!)

Early reports were all positive. An evening concert featuring Peter Sprague and Andy Powers (of Taylor Guitars fame) was a blast. And Bass tells us that the event was a success and at least a dozen guitars were sold during the weekend, which is pretty impressive given these guitars’ price point and that many potential customers are still leery to travel. Bass is hoping for an even bigger show in 2022… and we can’t wait.