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home : arts & entertainment : arts & entertainment August 18, 2017


4/28/2015 12:40:00 PM
Guitar-maker and music fest team up
By Jim Cornelius
News Editor

It's a natural harmony: a nationally renowned premier guitar maker and a nationally renowned music festival. The duo has come together in Sisters to hit a sweet note of mutual support and benefit.

Preston Thompson Guitars has made a rapid and impressive mark in the world of quality acoustic instruments since opening its manufacturing facility on Main Avenue in Sisters at the end of 2013. It's a return to a career that Thompson started in the 1970s, recreating the classic American sound produced by Golden Age Martin Guitars of the 1930s.

Meanwhile, the Sisters Folk Festival has built a reputation as one of the finest music festivals in the country, attractive to audiences and artists alike for the beauty of the setting, the quality of the venues and the commitment to the music.

Next week, the festival will host its "other" major event - the annual My Own Two Hands (MOTH) fundraiser, which features an art stroll and party on Friday, May 8, and an art auction and party at Ponderosa Forge on Saturday, May 9.

Thompson crafted a dreadnought guitar for auction at the MOTH event.

Somebody on May 9 will go home with an exceptional instrument, knowing that he or she has contributed significantly to the programs that are making Sisters a thriving center for arts, education and an arts-driven economy.

"It's all so woven together," Thompson said.

His business partner Dan Stewart notes that being woven into the fabric of the festival and the music scene in Sisters was always part of the business plan. They deliberately located at 352 E. Main Ave., next door to The Belfry, which is a year-round venue for music in Sisters, including during the Sisters Folk Festival.

"When we made the decision to locate here, the whole idea was to be more a part of the arts and music community," Stewart said.

The fabric is made of many colorful threads. When The Nugget showed up to interview Thompson and Stewart, they were busy selling a guitar to a man from Portland who had first fallen in love with a Thompson guitar at the 2014 Sisters Folk Festival.

Eric Bibb, who returns this year as the SFF encore artist, will then take possession of a guitar he picked out while he was here last year - a guitar that Thompson had made for a friend in Bend who was willing to sell it to Bibb.

"The intent is to sponsor Eric Bibb," Stewart said. "He'll be here every day (during the September festival) meeting with the folks."

And Thompson is working with another festival artist on a signature guitar: young jazz and bluegrass phenom Chris Luquette.

"Chris is like 25 years old and he's so good," Thompson said. The young guitarist has "so much in front of him. To have that relationship is really invaluable."

Luquette was part of the 2014 Sisters Folk Festival, as lead guitarist with Frank Solivan & Dirty Kitchen, one of the nation's most highly regarded bluegrass outfits. The band returns to Sisters May 9 to play the art auction and party at Ponderosa Forge.

Luquette plays the same model of Preston Thompson guitar that is up for auction.

It's all part of an artistic and entrepreneurial symbiosis that is helping Sisters thrive both culturally and economically. And it sounds really, really good.

For more information on the Sisters Folk Festival and My Own Two Hands, visit www.sistersfolkfestival.

org. For more information on Preston Thompson Guitars, visit www.pktguitars.

com. Contact Thompson at 541-977-3014.





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