Sounds of the summer: The World’s Best Music Festivals for 2016

Does anything beat seeing our favorite band belting out their classics live on stage? Well, yeah.

Seeing our favorite band belting out their classics live on stage in a field, in the summer. And as the sun begins to warm up the northern half of the planet, thoughts naturally turn to that annual summer staple: the music festival.

Yes, these can be rain-cursed mud baths where our tents get stolen by patchouli-scented weirdos. They can also be endless sun-drenched parties that we’ll remember forever — even if the details are a little hazy.

This is a list of the hottest places to see the best live music, drink warm beer and feel giddy as the sun goes down.

music festival

Roskilde, Denmark, June 25 – July 2

Nine stages. More than 170 acts.

And an old-school festival experience that won’t be forgotten in a hurry.

Like the UK’s Glastonbury, Roskilde has been going since 1971, although unlike its British counterpart it has retained its hip, off-the-wall feel.

If that all seems a little out there, the lineup this year is first-rate, with New Order, PJ Harvey and LCD Sound system all booked.

Primavera Sound, Barcelona, Spain, June 2-4

Four days without a shower.

A leaking tent that becomes an oven the second the sun crests the horizon. Just two of the worst things about festivals that won’t be found at Primavera.

Dispensing with the traditional campsite, this three-dayer held in the city’s Parc del Forum has become a mainstay of the European scene, with a focus on cutting-edge alternative acts.

Running from Thursday to Saturday, tickets come in cheaper than standard festivals, this year’s headline act: Radiohead.

End of the Road, Dorset, England, September 2-4

“Boutique” festivals have boomed in the UK over the past decade. But while many have earned a reputation as twee breaks for the “keep calm and carry on” generation, End Of The Road has developed into the UK’s best weekend for live music and comedy.

Set in the beautiful Larmer Tree Gardens in Dorset, southwest of London, and taking place as the summer nights begin to creep in, the music here is unashamedly left field. This year sees art-rock stalwarts Animal Collective and songwriter-harpist Joanna Newsom take headline duties.

Canadian alt-pop outfit Broken Social Scene and London punks Savages also make the roster. 

Melt!, Germany, July 15-17

Melt!, held at the dystopian Ferropolis industrial museum between Leipzig and Berlin, is arguably the most hedonistic three-day festival out there. A chance to check out some of the world’s best techno and house music, there’s also a smattering of psych rock thrown in for good measure.

Pitchfork Music Festival, Chicago, July 15-17

Uber-cool music publication Pitchfork has been holding a festival in Chicago’s Union Park since 2006. As with Primavera, this three-day gathering is all about getting tickets and then sorting a comfy bed in town to crash on.

NOS Alive, Lisbon, Portugal, July 7-9

The festival formerly known as Optimus is back in the Portuguese capital this July.

Rather than offering the camping free-for-all of Roskilde and the zero-accommodation approach of Primavera, NOS Alive has a series of novel options for festival-goers.

Exit, Novi Sad, Serbia, July 7-10

Born out of Serbia’s democracy protest movement at the turn of the century, Exit’s been topping best festival lists for years. It’s not hard to see why. Its setting, inside Novi Sad’s imposing Petrovaradin Fortress, makes farm field-fests look somewhat pathetic by comparison.

There’s a dance and pop music focus this year, with Ellie Goulding and Bastille set to play the main stage. But Exit is about more than watching bands. The welcoming vibe and late-night partying make it unlike any other festival.

Osheaga, Montreal, Canada, July 29-31

Spread over five stages at Montreal’s Parc Jean-Drapeau, Osheaga is now in its 11th year, booming from a small indie event into Canada’s best-loved festival. There’s still an indie feel to the three-day gathering, with acts including Beirut, Frightened Rabbit, Kurt Vile and Wolf Parade filling the critically acclaimed quotient.

Rock en Seine, Paris, France, August 26-28

Rock en Seine has a well-earned reputation as one of Europe’s best festivals, its bookers striking the perfect line between the best upcoming and critical acts and huge names that pull in the crowds. This year’s event, held as ever at the end of August in the stunning Domaine National de Saint-Cloud park in the west of Paris, is no exception.

Repair Day at the Shop

Recently, I had a guitar repair day at the shop. Below are a few images of the guitars that were repaired.'s a repair day and I just have to stare at this till I'm done repairing, late night me thinks.
It’s a repair day and I just have to stare at this till I’m done repairing, late night me thinks.


1-8 refret on a Taylor. These boys put the hurt on the nickel so im upping to stainless frets. Third picture is what we call south cakalaki spalt! The humidity and ocean air take their toll, beach life, it’s tough.





Great Guitarist Series – BB King

BB King

The self-proclaimed “Ambassador of the Blues” has become such a beloved figure in American music, it’s easy to forget how revolutionary his guitar work was. From the opening notes of his 1951 breakthrough hit. “Three O’ Clock Blues,” you can hear his original and passionate style, juicing the country blues with electric fire and jazz polish. King’s fluid guitar leads took off from T-Bone Walker. His string-bending and vibrato made his famous guitar, Lucille, weep like a real-life woman. It was the start of a hugely influential blues-guitar style. As Buddy Guy put it, “Before B.B., everyone played the guitar like it was an acoustic.”

King grew up on a Mississippi Delta plantation and took off in 1948, at twenty-three, for Memphis, where he found fame as a radio DJ on WDIA and earned the nickname “Beale Street Blues Boy.” Along the way, he picked up a uniquely eclectic vision of the blues, blending the intricate guitar language of country blues, the raw emotion of gospel and the smooth finesse of jazz. His Fifties classics — “Every Day I Have the Blues,” “Sweet Little Angel,” “You Upset Me Baby” — are tender as well as tough, and 1965’s Live at the Regal remains one of the hottest blues-guitar albums ever recorded. King remains unstoppable, touring hard and cutting albums such as his recent Eric Clapton collaboration, Riding With the King.

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Great Guitarist Series – Duane Allman

If the late Duane Allman had done nothing but session work, he would still be on this list. His contributions on lead and slide guitar to dozens of records as fine and as varied as Wilson Pickett’s down-home ’69 cover of “Hey Jude” and Eric Clapton’s 1970 masterpiece with Derek and the Dominos, Layla and Other Assorted Love Songs, constitute an astounding body of work. But Allman also transformed the poetry of jamming with the Allman Brothers Band, the group he founded in 1969 with his younger brother, singer-organist Gregg. Duane applied the same black soul and rebel fire he displayed as a sideman to the Allmans’ extended investigations of Muddy Waters and Blind Willie McTell covers and to his psychedelic-jazz interplay with second guitarist Dickey Betts in live showpieces such as “Whipping Post.” Although Duane and Gregg had played in bands together since 1960, Duane did not learn to play slide until shortly before the start of the Allmans. In his only Rolling Stone interview, in early’ 71, Duane said that the first song he tried to conquer was McTell’s “Statesboro Blues.” Allman’s blastoff licks in the recording that opens his band’s third album, At Fillmore East, show how far and fast he had come — and leave you wondering how much further he could have gone. In October 1971, eight months after the Fillmore East gigs, Allman died in a motorcycle accident in the band’s home base of Macon, Georgia.

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Great Guitarist Series – Jimi Hendrix

No list of Great Guitarists is complete without Jimi Hendrix!

Jimi Hendrix performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Monday, February 24, 1969. ** USA ONLY ** © David Redfern / Redferns / Retna Ltd.
Jimi Hendrix performing at the Royal Albert Hall in London. Monday, February 24, 1969. ** USA ONLY ** © David Redfern / Redferns / Retna Ltd.

I feel sad for people who have to judge Jimi Hendrix on the basis of recordings and film alone; because in the flesh he was so extraordinary. He had a kind of alchemist’s ability; when he was on the stage, he changed. He physically changed. He became incredibly graceful and beautiful. It wasn’t just people taking LSD, though that was going on, there’s no question. But he had a power that almost sobered you up if you were on an acid trip. He was bigger than LSD.

What he played was loud but also incredibly lyrical and expert. He managed to build this bridge between true blues guitar — the kind that Eric Clapton had been battling with for years and years — and modern sounds, the kind of Syd Barrett-meets-Townshend sound, the wall of screaming guitar sound that U2 popularized. He brought the two together brilliantly. And it was supported by a visual magic that obviously you won’t get if you just listen to the music. He did this thing where he would play a chord, and then he would sweep his left hand through the air in a curve, and it would almost take you away from the idea that there was a guitar player here and that the music was actually coming out of the end of his fingers. And then people say, “Well, you were obviously on drugs.” But I wasn’t, and I wasn’t drunk, either. I can just remember being taken over by this, and the images he was producing or evoking were naturally psychedelic in tone because we were surrounded by psychedelic graphics. All of the images that were around us at the time had this kind of echoey, acidy quality to them. The lighting in all the clubs was psychedelic and drippy.

He was dusty — he had cobwebs and dust all over him. He was a very unremarkable-looking guy with an old military jacket on that was pretty dirty. It looked like he’d maybe slept in it a few nights running. When he would walk toward the stage, nobody would really take much notice of him. But when he walked off, I saw him walk up to some of the most covetable women in the world. Hendrix would snap his fingers, and they followed him. Onstage, he was very erotic as well. To a man watching, he was erotic like Mick Jagger is erotic. It wasn’t “You know, I’d like to take that guy in the bathroom and fuck him.” It was a high form of eroticism, almost spiritual in quality. There was a sense of wanting to possess him and wanting to be a part of him, to know how he did what he did because he was so powerfully affecting. Johnny Rotten did it, Kurt Cobain did it. As a man, you wanted to be a part of Johnny Rotten’s gang, you wanted to be a part of Kurt Cobain’s gang.

He was shy and kind and sweet, and he was fucked up and insecure. If you were as lucky as I was, you’d spend a few hours with him after a gig and watch him descend out of this incredibly colorful, energized face. There was also something quite sad about watching him. There was a hedonism about him. Toward the end of his life, he seemed to be having fun, but maybe a little bit too much. It was happening to a lot of people, but it was sad to see it happen to him.

With Jimi, I didn’t have any envy. I never had any sense that I could ever come close. I remember feeling quite sorry for Eric, who thought that he might actually be able to emulate Jimi. I also felt sorry that he should think that he needed to. Because I thought Eric was wonderful anyway. Perhaps I make assumptions here that I shouldn’t, but it’s true. Once — I think it was at a gig Jimi played at the Scotch of St. James [in London] — Eric and I found ourselves holding each other’s hands. You know, what we were watching was so profoundly powerful.

The third or fourth time that I saw him, he was supporting the Who at the Saville Theatre. That was the first time I saw him set his guitar on fire. It didn’t do very much. He poured lighter fluid over the guitar and set fire to it, and then the next day he would be playing with a guitar that was a little bit charred. In fact, I remember teasing him, saying, “That’s not good enough — you need a proper flamethrower, it needs to be completely destroyed.” We started getting into an argument about destroying your guitar — if you’re going to do it, you have to do it properly. You have to break every little piece of the guitar, and then you have to give it away so it can’t be rebuilt. Only that is proper breaking your guitar. He was looking at me like I was fucking mad.

Trying to work out how he affected me at my ground zero, the fact is that I felt like I was robbed. I felt the Who were in some ways quite a silly little group, that they were indeed my art-school installation. They were constructed ideas and images and some cool little pop songs. Some of the music was good, but a lot of what the Who did was very tongue-in-cheek, or we reserved the right to pretend it was tongue-in-cheek if the audience laughed at it. The Who would always look like we didn’t really mean it, like it didn’t really matter. You know, you smash a guitar, you walk off and go, “Fuck it all. It’s all a load of tripe anyway.” That really was the beginning of that punk consciousness. And Jimi arrived with proper music.

He made the electric guitar beautiful. It had always been dangerous, it had always been able to evoke anger. If you go right back to the beginning of it, John Lee Hooker shoving a microphone into his guitar back in the 1940s, it made his guitar sound angry, impetuous, and dangerous. The guitar players who worked through the Fifties and with the early rock artists — James Burton, who worked with Ricky Nelson and the Everly Brothers, Steve Cropper with Booker T. — these Nashville-influenced players had a steely, flick-knife sound, really kind of spiky compared to the beautiful sound of the six-string acoustic being played in the background. In those great early Elvis songs, you hear Elvis himself playing guitar on songs like “Hound Dog,” and then you hear an electric guitar come in, and it’s not a pleasant sound. Early blues players, too — Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Albert King — they did it to hurt your ears. Jimi made it beautiful and made it OK to make it beautiful.

From Rolling Stone Magazine

4 Ways To Always Keep Your Guitar Perfectly Maintained!

The Benefits Of Keeping Your Guitar Perfectly Maintained:

-The guitar will be much easier to play (for example – you can lower the strings distance from the fretboard) and will not hinder your musical improvement.

-The guitar’s sound will be equal to a well higher priced guitars and even BETTER. High quality fresh strings by themselves make an impeccable difference and just by that you will get a tremendous benefit to your sound.

-Your will to play the guitar and to practice will be higher and therefore you will improve faster on the guitar.

-Your guitar will last for many years while only getting better and hold most of it’s value.

The 4 Most Beneficial Guitar Maintenance Tips:

1 – Keep It Clean.

First and foremost, my guitars are always clean and never dusty. It makes for a big difference and it’s easy to follow up on – just about once a week I clean them up with a dry rag, including hard-to-reach places like under the strings. This takes exactly 30 seconds and gives a better feeling immediately. You can also use a guitar polish spray to get some extra shine if you wanna be really anal about it. When I change strings I also clean the fretboard very well and use a fretboard oil – more on that in a minute.

2 – Take It For A Set-Up!

At least once a year, take your guitars to a professional guitar technician for a set-up. What’s set up? A set up is like a car annual maintenance appointment but for a guitar. The main reason to take a guitar for a set up is lowering the action (the distance between the fretboard and the strings) which makes the guitar way easier to play. Also, set up makes sure that there is no buzzing at any given fret, that the neck is adjusted correctly, that the guitar intonation is good (making sure the guitar is tuned in the upper frets as well) and more maintenance stuff that you will not do at home unless you are very technically savvy.

3 – Change Strings Regularly – Always Keep Them Fresh!

Make sure you only use quality strings and change the strings often. Even by doing only that, you will get an amazing guitar in your hands. This is the single biggest improvement.

4 – Use A Fretboard & Strings Lubricant

Now this one’s a tip that will be of tremendous help aand will leave you  surprised.

Always top a fresh pair of strings with a nice brush of String Lubricant and also every once in a while I brush some of it on guitars that have not been played in a while. It  nourishes and moisturizes the fretboard so say goodbye to those cracky dry looking fretboards.

A little maintenance will go a long way to keeping your guitars looking and sounding great!


Match the Master Contest Announced

matchthemasterGuitarist John Petrucci announced the Match the Master, a new interactive online competition that puts guitar players skills to the test and offers a high-stakes prize.

Match the Master gives guitar players across the United States a chance to win a private master class with Petrucci himself and a VIP trip to see Dream Theater live!

Starting January 29, unsigned guitarists can visit to study exclusive videos of John Petrucci performing 10 signature riffs from the new Dream Theater album, The Astonishing. Contestants can then upload a video submission of their best solo impression.

Each week over a two-month period, one winner will be chosen to receive a weekly prize pack. At the end of the contest, one grand-prize winner will be selected to win the ultimate John Petrucci experience.

Weekly Winners will receive:
Sterling By Music Man: JP60 JP SBMM Guitar (Approximate Retail Value [ARV]: $649)
Dunlop: JP95 JP Signature Cry Baby Pedal, 427PJP Players Pack of JP Jazz III Guitar Picks (ARV: $205.62)
DiMarzio: Two (2) John Petrucci Signature Pickups, One (1) John Petrucci Signature Strap (ARV: $195)
TC Electronic: Dreamscape Pedal JP Signature Dreamscape Guitar Effects Pedal (ARV: $152.10)
Fractal: T-Shirt. Winner picks the size (ARV: $19.95)
Mesa/Boogie: Grid Slammer Pedal Grid Slammer Overdrive Pedal (ARV: $179)
Ernie Ball Gift Pack (ARV: $123.25)

Total ARV of each Weekly Prize is $1,524.

Grand Prize Winner will receive:
• A trip for two (2) to see Dream Theater live (includes flight, hotel, and ground transportation to see Dream Theater in concert) (ARV: $2,500)
• A Private Master Class with John Petrucci
• Ernie Ball Music Man: John Petrucci Majesty Guitar (ARV: $2,650)
• Fractal: AX8 Guitar Effects Pedal System (ARV: $1,399)
• Mesa/Boogie: Mark V guitar head + 4 x 12″ cabinet (ARV: $3,249)
• Ernie Ball: One (1) Year supply of Ernie Ball strings (24 sets) (ARV: $250)
• TC Electronic: Signed Triple Delay Pedal (signed by Dream Theater) (ARV: $299)
• DiMarzio: Two (2) custom John Petrucci pickup covers (ARV: $398)

Total ARV of the Grand Prize is $10,745.

“As a guitar player, you never stop learning, never stop honing your skills,” Petrucci says. “Even now, I’m still pushing myself to improve, and feel passionate about encouraging others to do the same.

For more information, click HERE.

A Customer Review!

“I am seriously blown away. I’ve never played or heard a guitar so sweet.”

“We were practicing the other night and right in the middle of a long jam our keyboardist just stopped playing for almost a minute…after the song, he said “man, I got so mesmerized by that guitar I completely forgot what I was doing.”

I already sold my Eq@$?*^ guitar …had planned to keep it as one of my backups but it’s a piece of junk in comparison….there is no comparison. You’ve got a big fan out here!     P.T