The Experience PRS 2018 Event fell on the same weekend of the CMA Fest, so it was a busy weekend for GGM. I started my week in Nashville at the CMA Fest which was fun and exciting but left early to head to Stevensville, Maryland to attend the highly anticipated PRS Experience 2018. All I can say is WOW, what a day.
PRS lovers from all over gathered for a behind the scenes look at Paul Reed Smith Guitars. This was their 9th open house event was attended by over 3,300 people, mostly from the U.S., but PRS reported they even had fans from Australia, Canada, Japan, Brazil, the UK, Spain, France, China, and Korea attend.
Upon entering the event, there was a covered tent where clinics were held throughout the day. Several of the many topics discussed included “How to solo” by Tim Pierce, “Blues Rock Soloing and Tone Tips” with Dave Grissom, and “How to Be a Full-Time Guitar Player in 2018” with Tyler Larson of Music is Win.
Next up was a stage where performers were jamming. Attendees were able to sit, relax, and enjoy the music while feasting on some of the great food available from several food trucks. As a foodie, it was a difficult choice, but the carnitas was the winner. And, of course, beer and wine stations were plentiful!
Right around the corner was the “Test Drive” PRS gear station where attendees could try their “dream” PRS guitar, and then walk across to the PRS merch pop-up shop to purchase your guitar accessories. On hand, just inside the factory doors, were PRS dealers from across the US ready to fulfill those dreams with over 200 guitars on display available to purchase.
If you’ve never seen a guitar factory, it’s quite an experience. PRS opened their doors to the public and offered factory guided tours, or wander around on your own. Experiencing how these incredible instruments are created from exotic wood blocks into sleek dimensions of solid and hollow-body guitars was indeed a unique experience. We had a chance to speak to several of the craftsmen that work in the factory and the level of skill, artistry, and pride the PRS staff brings to work every day is nothing short of inspirational. What event wouldn’t be complete without a raffle to benefit a good cause? Up for auction was plenty of PRS merch with the grand prize being, of course, a PRS guitar. Paul Reed Smith himself was onsite for autographs and fan photos.
Showcased at the event were limited edition guitars which just announced that day: Semi-Hollow McCarty 594, Singlecut Semi-Hollow McCarty 594, Semi-Hollow Special, and a unique Private Stock “Graveyard Limited” model.
For the grand finale, guests rocked out to a live main stage concert with multiple acts including The Paul Reed Smith Band rounding out the evening. However, before the evening’s performance, there was a brief “rain delay” where Paul Reed Smith himself instructed everyone to take cover in the PRS building from the impending lightning storm. After its passing, the evening’s performance resumed with a night of fantastic music. Definitely worth the wait!
The first band caught the attention of GGM. Magnolia Boulevard from Lexington, Kentucky, fronted by the raspy-throated singer Maggie Noelle, set the mood for the evening with songs from their recently released eponymous EP. Before the show, we had the opportunity to sit down with Maggie for an intimate interview that offered insights into this mild-mannered and humble artist (who kicks ass on stage with her incredible band)! Check out the interview and excerpts of their show, and you will see what we mean!
All in all, a great day at PRS Experience 2018!