When it comes to guitars, South Hill resident Bruce Adolph knows his stuff.
As an avid guitar collector and publisher of Collectible Guitar Magazine, it’s no surprise that he has a hand in organizing one of the largest guitar festivals on the West Coast.
“I was born to do these events,” said Adolph, 60.
Adolph is co-creator of the Tacoma Guitar Festival, a two-day event that features a guitar and instrument exhibition hall, live music by performing artists and training workshops for musicians.
In its third year at the Tacoma Dome, the festival aims to bring together a community of guitarists, musicians and lovers of music.
“I like to see the community of guitarists get together,” Adolph said. “A lot of guitars find new homes.”
I like to see the community of guitarists get together. A lot of guitars find new homes.
For years, Adolph has been a member of the guitar community. Born in Los Angeles, he owned a music shop before moving in 1989 to Puyallup with his wife and two children.
Adolph often attends music festivals, including the SeaTac Guitar Show, which is held in the fall at the Kent Commons Building. He also attends the Dallas International Guitar Festival in Texas. One day, while perusing the vendors at the SeaTac Guitar Show, he decided to become more than just an attendee.
“I thought, with my collection, I could be a vendor here,” Adolph said.
Adolph has been a vendor for the show for about five years and now helps organize the show with founder Gordon Kjellberg.
In 2013, he got a call from Tom Alexander, the Tacoma Dome’s booking manager, who wanted to bring a guitar festival to the Tacoma Dome.
“Knowing how musical the region is — there’s a need for it. If you build it, they will come,” Alexander said. “I reached out to (Adolph), we scheduled a meeting and we hit it off. It was a perfect match.”
Knowing how musical the region is — there’s a need for it. If you build it, they will come ... I reached out to (Adolph), we scheduled a meeting and we hit it off. It was a perfect match.
Tom Alexander, Tacoma Dome booking manager
Adolph and Alexander launched the Tacoma Guitar Festival in 2015, and continue to grow it each year. Last year, there were 1,400 attendees and around 100 vendors at the event. This year, more than 150 vendors are expected.
“It’s the largest gathering of the guitar community in the Northwest,” Adolph said. “We’ve grown to be one of the largest guitar festivals on the West Coast — and it’s only grown from here. Each year we keep upping the game.”
In the exhibition hall, attendees are encouraged to check out guitars for sale and to bring in their own guitars and amps. A loud room will be available to test instruments. It’s not uncommon for families to bring in old guitars to sell to vendors. Vendors also look for musicians to get involved with.
“There are a lot of angles for the community,” Adolph said. “There are a lot of needs.”
There will also be a stage at the event for performing artists, including guitarist Bruce Kulick, formerly of KISS, who will perform Sunday. For a list of other artists performing at the festival and ticket information, visit tacomadome.org/tgf.
“These (performers) inspire you,” said Adolph, adding that some of them will be teaching workshops.
As the founder of Adolph Agency Incorporated, Adolph publishes Collectible Guitar Magazine, which highlights musicians and guitars across the nation, in addition to two other music publications, Worship Musician and Christian Musician.
Adolph keeps busy publishing three magazines, organizing two guitar festivals and leading a guitar training conference in Issaquah. When he gets the chance, he plays his own guitar at home for fun.
Tacoma Guitar Festival
The third annual event will be open from 9:30 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday at the Tacoma Dome, 2727 E D St. in Tacoma.