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FESTIVAL NEWS: New York Guitar Festival Opens WIth Springsteen Tribute & Summerfest Makes Front Office Changes

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — The New York Guitar Festival 2006 launched it’s 2006 event by honoring Bruce Springsteen's 1982 Nebraska album with a free gala concert under the glass atrium of the World Financial Center Winter Garden on January 14th.

Entitled The Nebraska Project, this 25th anniversary celebration of the classic Bruce Springsteen album featured on one stage a distinctive roster of singer-songwriters, bands and instrumentalists.

Performing their own arrangements of one of the ten Nebraska songs were Laura Cantrell, Dan Zanes, Vernon Reid, Mark Eitzel, Michelle Shocked, Meshell Ndegeocello, The National, Chocolate Genius, Marc Ribot, Martha Wainwright, Jesse Harris, Kevn Kinney, Lenny Kaye, Gary Lucas and Harry Manx. The Boss himself watched the concert from the audience before joining the artists on stage for the encore of Woody Guthrie’s "Oklahoma Hills" that lasted well past the intended end-time.

The free gala event attracted the largest concert crowd the Financial Center Winter Garden has ever hosted. Performance highlights were many. In addition to the impromptu encore performance, the scheduled artists indeed paid tribute to Springsteen by putting their own spin on his classic Nebraska songs. The National turned "Mansion on the Hill" into a suite-like arrangement, which left the crowd absolutely buzzing; Mark Eitzel injected his own vulnerable vocal delivery – and some smart, spare guitar work – into the melancholy-filled "My Father's House," showing he meant each word of his introduction "It's truly an honor to be performing this song" ; Otis Taylor entranced the audience with a banjo-driven, blues-edged rendering of "Open All Night," ; Jen Chapin and stand-up bassist/husband Stephen Crump stripped down the original arrangement of "Born In The U.S.A." to a dirge-like vocal-and-bass duet – beautiful, haunting, and not the reaffirming version Springsteen released in 1984; plus Kevn Kinney, Lenny Kaye, and Dan Zanes offered up rousing, joyous strum-a-thon on "Reason To Believe."

The New York Guitar Festival continues through February 8th in clubs and theatres throughout the city. Now in it’s sixth year, the festival boasts over 20 performances, by some 60 exceptional guitarists of jazz, classical, rock/pop, traditional and avant garde styles. Participating venues include Carnegie Hall’s Zankel Hall, Merkin Concert Hall, Joe’s Pub, the 92nd Street Y, the World Financial Center’s Winter Garden, Flushing Town Hall, The American Youth Hostel Concert Chapel, and The Monkey. Featured artists include Daniel Lanois, Bill Frisell, Jorma Kaukonen, Vernon Reid, Taj Mahal, Pepe Romero, Eliot Fisk, Toshi Reagon, Sonny Landreth, Rory Block, Cindy Cashdollar, Jesse Harris, David Tronzo, Bill Morrissey, Laura Cantrell, Brandon Ross, Gary Lucas, Chocolate Genius, Alvin Youngblood Hart, The National, Mark Eitzel, Dan Zanes, Martha Wainwright, Michelle Shocked, among many others. Concerts range from an all-day Guitar Marathon focusing on the guitar’s history in Spain, to eclectic tributes to Mississippi John Hurt, Skip James, Elizabeth Cotten, Charley Patton, and Bruce Springsteen, to multi-media performances combining film, animation and live music.

Summerfest Makes Front Office Changes

(CelebrityAccess MediaWire) — Milwaukee World Festival Inc., which puts on the annual Summerfest concert series, has announced a number of changes in its front office, including promoting entertainment director Bob Babisch to VP Entertainment.

Babisch, who has always been instrumental in planning, will head planning and securing entertainment for the 11-day festival, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal.

Controller Sue Landry was promoted to VP and CFO of Milwaukee World Festival, and will manage the finance department, admission functions, information technology, box office operations and administration.

Director of Marketing John Boler has been promoted to VP Sales and Marketing.

Assistant Director of Sponsorship Sarah Smith was upped to Director of Corporate Sales. All of the appointments were effective January 1. –by CelebrityAccess Staff Writers