For event organisers the last 18 months has been nothing short of a nightmare, with pandemic-related border closures, re-openings, lockdowns and limitations leaving thousands of tours and events across the globe at the mercy of postponements and cancellations.
For Margaret River local resident, musician and director of the Strings Attached West Australian Guitar Festival, Dan White, the challenges have presented a need for flexible planning and some creative uses of technology.
"We've got Grammy Award winner Mark Lettieri giving a masterclass and Q&A via livestream direct from the U.S. to the Main Theatre at Margaret River HEART, which is going to be phenomenal," White told the Mail this week.
"Aside from that, we're hoping that Jeff Lang, and Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham can join us from the Eastern States, however if the state border is closed then it will open up more opportunities for even more WA talent, which has been the real focus of this year's festival, making up the huge lineup of more than 70 artists and exhibitors."
As the 2021 program was announced last week, second release tickets to the festival were being snapped up in record time.
"We were so stoked to see the first release sell out in under a week and the second release go not long after," said White.
"There have been some nervous and difficult times since the last fest with everything that's going on in the world so it's been really encouraging to see the response in Weekend Pass sales from both 2019 festival-goers along with first timers.
"Demand is certainly much higher than the last festival which is great because we've got some really exciting plans for where we'd like to take the festival in the future, and the more support we see the more value we're able to deliver festival goers and the wider community."
This year, the festival will expand its offering with a youth-focussed program of events aimed at energising and inspiring the next generation of string aficionados and musicians from across the state.
Margaret River HEART will act as the festival's official headquarters with live performances and sessions scheduled throughout the venue and in the outdoor SoundShell.
"Festival-goers can 'meet the makers' at the Main Exhibition in the foyer all weekend, where luthiers, amp builders, guitar techs, wood distributors and more will be displaying their wares and giving workshops and presentations on various aspects of their crafts," explained White.
White said the festival gave people with instruments at home the chance to have them checked out by experts.
"There will also be a Listening Session running each day, where people can bring along their instruments to have them tested by some of our top players and compared to other instruments on the lineup in the Studio Theatre at the HEART.
"Spaces are limited for that one so check out the program for all the information."
Live music fans will not be disappointed with the program promising the usual stomping good times around the region including partner-venue The River, Colonial Brewing Co, Morries, Burger Baby, Margaret River Brewhouse, South West TAFE and the Youth Zone Room.
The Margaret River Senior High School Junior and Senior Ensembles will perform on the HEART Main Stage on the Friday, as will WAAPA Associate Professor in Classical Music Jonathan Paget and the Plectra Guitar Ensemble.
"The Main Event Saturday night at The River will be huge and not-to-be-missed," said White.
"Kav Temperley of Eskimo Joe will be performing in the Main Theatre at the HEART and giving songwriting workshops during the day - one for adults, and one for kids.
"We'll have a big family friendly Hoedown at The Mill running Saturday afternoon at RAC Nature Park, a bluesier show 'Howlin' at the Moon' at Colonial Brewing Co on Friday night and VDELLI at Settlers Tavern on Saturday night.
"I definitely recommend checking out the program available on the website as it's absolutely bursting with talent and diversity."
Find out more
The Strings Attached: West Australian Guitar Festival is on from Friday October 8 to Sunday October 10.
Final release Weekend Passes are on sale now. Day passes and tickets to single events will go on sale August 23.
See www.stringsattachedfestival.com.au and sign up to the mailing list to get first access to updates and ticket releases.