James Burton International Guitar Festival

The annual James Burton International Guitar Festival took place over the weekend in Shreveport, La., kicking off Friday night at Shreveport’s Festival Plaza with the James Burton 70th Birthday Bash.

The evening’s performers included local and regional acts such as Cole Vosbury, Gatordilla, The Louisiana Yard Dogs, and Joel Sonnier.

Although James Pennebaker of our Artist Relations teams missed the cutting of Burton’s birthday cake due to flight delays, he made it in time to say hello to Burton and some of the other artists in attendance including Jr. Brown, Mike Farris, David Grissom, Casper Rawls, Nokie Edwards and Albert Lee.

Pennebaker also snapped a few photos from the night.

Here’s James Burton & Junior Brown signing autographs.

Burton autographs

Louisiana Yard Dogs perform Friday night.


Saturday morning started bright in early with Tipitinas Shreveport Music Office Co-Ops hosting a guitar talent contest. Winners received a Squier® Telecaster® guitar donated by Fender.

Since 2009 marks the 40th anniversary of Burton’s invite from Elvis Presley to put together a band for him since he was returning to live performances, Burton scheduled a mid-afternoon “Tribute to Elvis Concert,” featuring live music by Johnny Earthquake & the Moondogs.

As you can see, Elvis is still alive.


On the heels of the concert, Burton and friends attempted to break a Guinness World Record for the most guitarists performing the same song at once. Burton and guitarists Albert Lee, Steve Lukather, Jennifer Batten, Junior Brown, Casper Rawls, Nokie Edwards, Doyle Dykes, Al Di Meola and Mike Farris joined the audience in performing Elvis Presley’s “Hound Dog.”

Here’s Burton teaching “Hound Dog” to a fan.


And here’s another one of the contestants with an interesting paisley Fender.


Unfortunately, with only 875 guitarists in attendance, Andreas Vockrodt of Germany held onto his 2007 record of 1,802 participants.

Late afternoon, Burton hosted a VIP Party and Meet & Greet where he presented all the weekend’s performing artists with the James Burton Humanitarian Award, a thank you for waiving their performance fees.

After all, the goal of the weekend is to raise money for the James Burton Foundation. The Foundation is dedicated to providing guitars and music training to children and young adults in schools and hospitals, and to veterans who have sacrificed so much to serve our country. James feels fortunate that his parents sacrificed to purchase his first Fender guitar and it has been his dream to give back to the music community by helping young musicians realize their potential.

The weekend culminated with the James Burton & Friends Concert at Shreveport Municipal Auditorium on Saturday evening.

But the evening’s concert, emceed by voice of Sponge Bob Square Pants Tom Kenny, first began with Burton’s induction into the Louisiana Hall of Fame.


The show then got rolling with performances by Nokie Edwards (The Ventures), Doyle Dykes (solo guitarist), Kristen Capolino (19-year old female “shredder”), Junior Brown, Mike Farris, Al Di Meola, David Grissom, Casper Rawls, The Burton Family, Albert Lee, Andy Chrisman, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Jennifer Batten, and All Star Jam, and pre-taped happy birthday wishes to Burton from Vince Gill, Brad Paisley and Keith Richards.

Emcee Tom Kenny & Junior Brown shown below.


Here’s Mike Farris, getting ready to go on with his Fender Buddy Miller model acoustic guitar.

Mike Farris

Farris invited our very own James Pennebaker to join him for his performance.



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