Guitar Week – July 28-August 3, 2024



The Covid-19 pandemic has presented unique challenges to the safe presentation of in-person gatherings of all types. Our safety protocols are guided by the findings of the national Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the Buncombe County Health Department and those of Warren Wilson College.

For the last two years, we have required documentation, verified with a photo ID, that all participants have received a COVID-19 vaccine primary series and have gotten the most recent booster dose recommended by the CDC.

Covid is still with us, but its prevalence has receded to the point where we no longer require vaccination, but still strongly recommend it. Anyone testing positve for Covid during the Gathering will be asked to leave in order to limit the spread of the virus among the participants. Participants will be updated throughout the spring of any changes or additions to these safety measures.


Since 1991, the Swannanoa Gathering Guitar Week has brought together a world-class staff of teaching artists and dedicated students to the beautiful setting of the Blue Ridge Mountains for a week of classes, concerts and jamming. Removed from the pressures and schedules of everyday life, participants are immersed in what one student has called ‘guitar utopia’. Held on the Warren Wilson College campus near Asheville, NC, the Swannanoa Gathering is one of the finest programs of its kind in the world, having received both the Bronze and Silver Medal Player’s Choice Award for Music Camps by the readers of Acoustic Guitar magazine. Each year, Guitar Week attracts award-winning faculty, including this year’s Vicki Genfan (Guitar Player magazine’s 2008 “Guitar Superstar,”) Clive Carroll (Total Guitar magazine’s “Top 10 Acoustic Guitarists of All Time,”) and Robin Bullock (Swannanoa Gathering’s Master Music Maker Award.) Providing quality guitar instruction at every level and in multiple genres and traditions, a week at the Swannanoa Gathering will help you grow as a musician in a supportive community of acoustic guitar lovers, many of whom will become lifelong friends. Whether you are a beginner just learning your first chords, an intermediate player exploring a new genre or a gigging musician hoping to bring your playing to a new level, you will be challenged, nurtured and nearly guaranteed to have a good time. With classes in blues, swing, boogie woogie, bluegrass, bossa nova, jazz, Celtic, Hawai‘ian, composition, theory, flatpicking, percussive and fingerstyle, there is something for everyone in every class period. This year will welcome back all-time favorite instructors from years past including Mike Dowling, Vicki Genfan, Scott Ainslie, Clive Carroll, Patrick Landeza and Ray Chesna along with veteran staff Robin Bullock, Sean McGowan, Tony McManus, Danny Knicely, Ed Dodson, Grant Gordy, Toby Walker, Cesar Garabini and Guitar Week Coordinator Greg Ruby. Joining Guitar Week as an instructor for the first time will be former Guitar Week student Josh Turner. Please read the class descriptions carefully and self-assess your level before registering. Typically, beginning level classes move at a slower pace and develop foundational guitar skills, while intermediate classes more a bit quicker with the expectation to have the basics under your fingers with advanced levels taking a deeper dive into technique, theory, genre or arranging. For the majority of our classes, it is recommended that students play at an intermediate level – be able to tune their instruments, keep time, play scales cleanly, and know how to play a few tunes with confidence. Ed Dodson will be leading daily ‘slow jams’ where participants can learn easy songs in a relaxed environment and an afternoon ‘Django Djam’ will occur in the Bryson Gym. Our Luthiers Exhibit will feature guitars from several respected builders. Guitar Week runs concurrently with Contemporary Folk Week, and students may take classes from either program. Founding Guitar Week Coordinator Al Petteway’s passing in September 2023 was an immense loss to the Swannanoa Gathering community and this year’s Guitar Week will commemorate his legacy. This year’s concerts will be dedicated to his music and on the Friday of Guitar Week, Patrick Landeza will be hosting a Luau. Please plan on attending so we can all share our stories about Al and raise a glass in his memory.