Brian Gore, founder of International Guitar Night (IGN), is the pied piper of guitar. In the 20+ years he’s been curating IGN, he’s brought together some of the most enchanting acoustic guitarists in the business to exchange musical ideas and perform their original compositions around the world.
Gore (third from the left) began the international touring act in a converted laundromat in San Francisco in 1995. At the time, he was performing in underground venues, coffee houses, and playing guitar with beatniks in the Bay Area.
As IGN grew in popularity, he decided to take the show on the road and grew the event in small communities and local theaters. He spent 15 years building IGN before taking it to New York or larger markets.
“We go to these places that some people might think are a bit out of the way, but you are going to meet just as many interesting, unique and sophisticated people,” Gore said. “You can build an audience and build a good base there.”
Billings’ Alberta Bair Theater was one of the first stops on IGN’s tour when they started booking larger venues and theaters. They first played the Alberta Bair in 2002.
Gore, with guitarists Lulo Reinhardt, Mike Dawes and Andre Krengel (pictured above) are in Billings tonight, performing at the ABT. “I’m just amazed at the enthusiastic responses,” Gore said. “The people in the arts community in Montana are very dedicated and idealistic, and that is great to be around.”
The success of IGN is due in part to Gore’s curation and the constant evolution of the group. Each year the show is different. “I’ve been pretty lucky in what I do,” Gore said. “I don’t make any compromises when it comes to quality.” Gore describes IGN as providing some of the finest musical experiences, bringing arts and cultural opportunities to areas that may not have as much access.
“Art—even if you never become a professional—is a staple. It’s like food. Once you get the bug, you realize it’s something that we all need in our lives at some level.”
Gore derives motivation to continue IGN from the players he collaborates with and the audiences that enjoy their sound.
“It’s a really wonderful balance of being able to play and develop my music, being able to be in the best theaters, and also being able to support other people in my show,” Gore said. “These guys are hard-working people who have made a lot of sacrifices for their music, and they deserve this.”
Gore describes the solo guitar atmosphere when he first started as highly competitive. He decided to create a different atmosphere with IGN, one that is more collaborative.
“My philosophy has always been to try to find a way to help people connect with one another and create and more supportive environment,” Gore said. “If you want to have more audiences for guitar, you need to break through these competitive attitudes. That is what we’ve done with the show and whey we’ve been successful.”
International Guitar Night, returns to Alberta Bair Theater on Saturday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. On this tour guitar poet Gore teams up with Lulo Reinhardt, Mike Dawes and Andre Krengel.