Guitar Aficionado

Lowertown Guitar Festival: Pat Donohue, Scott Henderson, Marc Ribot and More, Plus Free Guitar Clinics


McNally Smith College of Music is hosting the first-ever Lowertown Guitar Festival — a free day of live music happening Saturday, August 10, in Mears Park, downtown St. Paul, Minnesota.

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As a proud partner in many other major music events (Twin Cities Jazz Festival, Lowertown Roots Music Festival, Concrete and Grass), McNally Smith is excited to bring the new Lowertown Guitar Festival to the diverse summer programming taking place in the heart of Saint Paul’s arts district.

The guitar-centric fest features an array of guitarists and styles. Unlike other music festivals that often cater to a specific genre, the Lowertown Guitar Festival celebrates one of America’s most beloved instruments — guitar — and the artists who play it. The festival promises something for all tastes, with an eclectic line-up featuring six-string virtuosos such as:

• Scott Henderson of seminal jazz fusion group Tribal Tech
• Marc Ribot who has worked with everyone from Elvis Costello to Tom Waits to T-Bone Burnett
• Accomplished Fender clinician Greg Koch
• National Fingerpicking Guitar Champion and Prairie Home Companion regular Pat Donohue.
• Beloved St. Paul-based singer/songwriter and guitar tech extraordinaire Molly Maher will be on hand to emcee the festivities.
• Free Guitar Clinics: In continued support of artistry and education, McNally Smith is also hosting free guitar workshops on its nearby campus the morning of Lowertown Guitar Festival. These workshops are open to the public and feature guest clinicians Koch and Jacob Hanson (Mason Jennings, Halloween Alaska, Hayley Bonar).
• CLASH OF THE TEEN GUITAR TITANS: Guitarists aged 15–19 are encouraged to enter the Clash of the Teen Guitar Titans competition happening after the clinics. A panel of esteemed judges will award prizes courtesy of McNally Smith and Guitar Center to a few talented teens. (For more info and registration for the Clash of the Teen Guitar Titans, visit

Lowertown Guitar Festival Schedule:

Main Stage:
• 8:30 p.m. — Scott Henderson
• 6:30 p.m. — Marc Ribot
• 5:00 p.m. — Greg Koch w/ John Sieger
• 3:30 p.m. — Pat Donohue
• 2:30 p.m. — Dean Magraw
Acoustic Stage:
• 8:00 p.m. — Tom Feldman
• 6:00 p.m. — Chris Olson
• 4:30 p.m. — Joan Griffith
• 3:15 p.m. — Omid Huttar (McNally Smith student)

Guitar Workshops / Clash of Teen Guitar Titans Schedule:

• 9:00 a.m. — Registration for Clash of Teen Guitar Titans
• 9:15 a.m. — Open jam session
• 10:15 a.m. — Clinic with Jake Hanson
• 11:00 a.m. — Clinic with Greg Koch
• 12:00 p.m. — Lunch in Atrium for contest participants
• 12:20 – 2:00 p.m. — Contest performances (1 song each)
• 2:00 p.m. — Open jam session
• 2:30 p.m. — Awards announced

For more information about the Lowertown Guitar Festival, visit