PLAYIN’ THE BLUES: The Get Rooted Festival will be held this Saturday at the Royal Mail Hotel.
PLAYIN’ THE BLUES: The Get Rooted Festival will be held this Saturday at the Royal Mail Hotel. Contributed

Music fans in for a treat with festival

FOR those who gallivant about the stage with expensive Les Pauls and Strats, scoffing at the idea of a guitar made from pre-loved materials, Penny Nelson has a simple message: Get Rooted!

The guitar builder and cigar box instrument festival organiser is bringing musicians and builders from Queensland and interstate to Goodna's Royal Mail Hotel tomorrow.

She hopes to both entertain and educate her Ipswich audience, demonstrating the relative ease at which one can craft a thing of pure beauty from simple items like cigar boxes, biscuit or dog food tins.

"The cigar box guitar goes all the way back to the depression," Ms Nelson said.

"Most of the top blues guys actually started off playing a three-string box guitar - guys like Elvis and Hendrix may have even played them early on.

"Part of our ethos is to bring this kind of music back into the community."

Cigar box guitars were played by depression-era jug band members who specialised in making instruments out of anything.

"The slaves would make their own instruments out of whatever they could find and the cigar box was perfect," Ms Nelson said.

"They would collect broken or discarded broom handles and planks of wood to make the neck and use wire or twine for the strings."

Blind Willie Johnson, Lightnin' Hopkins, Hound Dog Taylor, Big Bill Broonzy and many other old-time blues legends cut their teeth on such instruments.

Ms Nelson said the festival would feature two bands that incorporated cigar box guitars into their performance: Two River Blues and Blue Skillet Rovers.

Roots music fans will also have the opportunity to make their own canjo - a single-string instrument made from a dog food tin and a garden stake.

Lessons on how to play it will also be given.

The festival will run from 10am to 6pm, entry is free.



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