Fretless Guitar Festivals
The Nuit de la Fretless (Night of the Fretless) was held twice in Mende, France, under the organisation of Artistic Director, Franck Vigroux.
All Stateside fretless festivals have been organised by Michael Vick, born in the USA in 1972, unfretted his Telecaster in 1995 and never looked back. He has tirelessly promoted the fretless guitar on radio, television and the press. He has lectured extensively on microtonal and just intonation. He played Fretless Guitar and Glissentar at the American Festival of Microtonal Music in Boston as part of the microtonal orchestra for Reinhard’s epic poly-microtonal work Odysseus.
..in Michael’s own words: The original Fretless Guitar Festival was created to celebrate the CD release for the fretless guitar compilation Village Of The Unfretted, and New York City seemed like the natural choice considering all of the international artists on the recording. From inception, our aim was to showcase the best fretless players from around the world and the visionary manufacturers of these still relatively rare factory instruments. Certainly rare back in 2005 considering all they would have to do is NOT put frets on the fingerboards. Workshops and seminars run alongside instrument demos with “green-room” quick lessons, tutorials and giveaways which are all standard at our multi-day festivals that has also had breakaway sessions in Brooklyn, NY. The Fretless Guitar Festival became a way to cultivate an open and free atmosphere that only a “new” instrument or approach can bring and to spread the idea of various tuning systems and microtonality across the community. – Michael Vick
Michael Vick with his “Old Tele-C #8”
Willem Niehorster has single-handedly organised all of the Dutch Fretless Guitar Festivals, normally referred to as DFGFs. Born in Mexico City 1963, in 1981 he moved to study architecture and classical guitar in the USA. Finally relocating to The Netherlands to graduate from the Royal Dutch Academy of Fine and Applied Arts taking guitar lessons from Theo Ehrlicher, Olaf Tarenskeen and Clemens Wabra.
He bought his first Vigier fretless guitar in 2006 and a year later made his own double neck fretless / fretted / headless guitar Xochitl. Willem describes his music as Progressive / Fusion.
Possibly the most prolific fretless festival performer having gigged at the third NYC festival and First Austrian festival he currently lives in Den Hague (The Hague) with his wife Imre and son Mika.
Willem with his double-neck guitar Xochitl.
Albert Dambeck is a German guitarist and bassist pioneering just intonation and composing many works, some lasting several hours. The festivals are organised by Albert Dambeck and Inge Habereder.