Deep Purple’s Steve Morse Joins Poland's Thanks Jimi Festival to Help Set New World Record for Largest Guitar Ensemble

 2009 marks the seventh annual edition of the Thanks Jimi Festival and a continuing effort to establish establish May 1st as World Guitar Day. 

Photo: Javier Mai´llo

Each year the festival attracts guitar players from around the world who gather to celebrate the legacy and inspiration of Jimi Hendrix. It is a free, open-air event featuring top Polish music stars and notable international guests. The event draws people of all ages though young people are especially well represented. Many traveling in pilgrimage to take part. The climax of the event is an attempt to set the Guinness World Record for “Largest Guitar Ensemble." 2008 saw 1,951 guitar players (electric, acoustic, and bass) playing “Hey Joe." And while "Hey Joe” will be on the song list again this year, with the participation of Steve Morse, the iconic guitar tune “Smoke on the Water” is being added to the repertoire.

Founded in 2003 by master guitarist and Hendrix interpreter Leszek Cichonski, and with support of the city of Wroclaw (the mayor of which, Rafal Dutkiewicz, has taken part playing guitar himself every year and the city has taken on the name "Wroclaw Guitar City"), the event has grown steadily every year and fills the beautiful medieval central city square with up to 10,000 participants, supporters and spectators. They hope, with Steve Morse’s participation, to push well past the previous numbers. The event takes place live, and though only those taking part in event in Wroclaw count towards the record, there are simultaneous smaller international satellite events planned as well as real-time on-line participation. A concert by Deep Purple follows nearby.

Visit the Thanks Jimi MySpace page for information on how you can participate.