Each year for 16 years now, Leszek Cichoński—founder of the Guitar Guinness World Record Festival (formerly, Thanks Jimi)—puts out the call for players to come to Wroclaw, Poland, and attempt to smash the Guinness Record for Largest Guitar Orchestra.
The last time that happened was in 2016, when 7,356 guitarists captured the title. The guitar army fell a bit short last year, amassing 6,299 players, and missing the opportunity to break its own record.
This year was a different story.
The record attempt is always undertaken by performing a communal version of "Hey Joe," and when Cichoński and Wroclaw president Rafal Dutkiewicz announced the official results, the jubilant outcry was tremendous. The 2018 festival had logged 7,411 players. Mission accomplished! Record smashed!
The day-long festival—which occurs annually on May 1—is a titanic celebration of the guitar, music, and community. Guitar lovers from across Europe travel to the city to perform all together as one, hear various musical artists, and take in the city's beautiful Market Square.
Cichoński has retained the festival's annual salute to Jimi Hendrix, and much of the day's musical performances revolve around songs written by, or covered by the eternal guitar master. I was even tapped to sing and play "Wild Thing" for the crowd—a thrill that you can only imagine until you step in front of thousands of people playing along with you.
WATCH THE OFFICIAL VIDEO!
PHOTO GALLERY: Photos by Dariusz Ptaszyński Photography