Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts
Press Release

New Prize Announced for Sixth Annual International Guitar Competition

Wilson Center Guitar Festival adds full concert experience to $32,000 in cash prizes

By - May 15th, 2018 06:42 pm

Brookfield, WI (May 15, 2018) In addition to a chance to win their share of $32,000 in in prize money, competitors in the sixth annual Wilson Center Guitar Festival taking place August 17-18, 2018, at the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts (Wilson Center) will also be competing for a chance to perform at this year’s festival. The final concert on Saturday, Aug. 18, will feature performances from each of the first-place winners in the four genres of classical, fingerstyle, jazz, and rock & blues.

All competitor applications must be received by 11:59 p.m. (CDT) on May 31. The application fee is $50 and competitors may apply online at for a maximum of two categories.

Established in 2013, it is the goal of the Wilson Center Guitar Festival to celebrate the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow. In addition to the headliner concert, the Festival offers something for music lovers of all ages, with free daytime activities that include live guitar competition rounds, master classes and workshops, leading industry vendors, art exhibits, and more. This year, audiences also will celebrate Blues and Rock & Rock Hall of Fame inductee Elvin Bishop in a ticketed concert on Friday, Aug. 17, featuring Bishop with guitarist/pianist Bob Welsh and percussionist/vocalist Willy Jordan. All festival activities take place at the Wilson Center, located in Brookfield, Wisconsin. Tickets for the Elvin Bishop Big Fun Trio will go on sale on Mon., May 21, at 11:00 a.m. through the Wilson Center Box Office at 262-781-9520 or online at

“It is our goal to provide competitors with a life-changing experience,” said Wilson Center Guitar Festival Manager Don Sipe. “Over the past six years, the festival has grown to a true international celebration of all things guitar, with competitors coming from more than 29 different countries. Every year, we look for new opportunities to ensure the festival is a tremendous stepping stone in each of their careers, and we are excited that this year’s festival will provide our four first-place winners with a full concert experience.”

In 2017, a generous donation from Mark and Sharon Cameli in honor of John Cameli increased the competition prize money by $10,000 to a total of $32,000. First-prize winners in all four genres received $5,000 as well as the opportunity to headline the final Saturday night concert of the festival; second-prize winners in all four genres received $2,000; and third-prize winners in all four genres received $1,000. All semi-final and final competition rounds are free and open to the public to attend, with winners announced on the Saturday afternoon of the festival.

The preliminary round of judging takes place via YouTube video. From the pool of YouTube and DVD applications, jurors will select semi-finalists who will be invited to the semi-final rounds at the Wilson Center on Friday, Aug. 17. The number of competitors advancing to the final rounds at the Wilson Center on Saturday, Aug. 18, will be determined by the semi-final round adjudicators; semi-final and final round performances will be judged by a panel of renowned artists and industry experts from each genre.

The 2018 Wilson Center Guitar Festival is made possible through the support of Festival Sponsor Krause Funeral Homes & Cremation Services, Competition Prize Money Sponsor Mark & Sharon Cameli in memory of John Cameli, Show Sponsor John Shiely, and Supporting Sponsor Vince Shiely. To learn more, visit

Established in 2013, it is the goal of the Wilson Center Guitar Festival to celebrate the greatest guitarists of today and tomorrow. As the only guitar festival in the world to feature four different genres—Classical, Fingerstyle, Jazz, and Rock & Blues—the weekend is filled with activities for music lovers of all ages. In addition to ticketed concerts, the Festival offers many activities that are free and open to the public, including: semi-final and final competition rounds, master classes, leading industry vendors, and live music from local artists. To learn more, visit

It is the mission of the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts to serve as the catalyst for lifelong discovery and exploration of the arts. The Wilson Center is a multidisciplinary nonprofit cultural arts facility with a 16-year history of excellence. The Wilson Center’s programming is designed to transform both individual lives and whole communities through the power of the art; situated in a 400-acre park in Brookfield, Wisconsin, the Wilson Center is recognized as a cultural anchor in the Greater Milwaukee community and focuses on three main disciplines: Performing Arts, Arts Education, and Visual Arts. Since opening in 2002, the Wilson Center has continued to celebrate its five core values of excellence, innovation, passion, stewardship, and collaboration through an outstanding and diverse array of world-class performances, educational programs, classes, festivals, and special events. Currently in its 2017/2018 season, the Wilson Center now annually welcomes more than 45,000 people, including more than 10,000 students every year. To learn more, visit

Mentioned in This Press Release


Recent Press Releases by Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

Internationally Acclaimed Recording Artist Marc Broussard Brings Bayou Soul to Wilson Center

Tickets for this one-night-only Wilson Center performance are $41-$82.

Telepathically Tight John Scofield Trio Headlines International Guitar Festival

Seventh Annual Wilson Center Guitar Festival Features Free Masterclasses, Music, Competitions

Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts

Wilson Center Guitar Festival Announces 2019 Competition Semi-Finalists

Five-genre competition will feature $40,000 in cash prizes, performance slot at Milwaukee Irish Fest

Leave a Reply

You must be an Urban Milwaukee member to leave a comment. Membership, which includes a host of perks, including an ad-free website, tickets to marquee events like Summerfest, the Wisconsin State Fair and the Florentine Opera, a better photo browser and access to members-only, behind-the-scenes tours, starts at $9/month. Learn more.

Join now and cancel anytime.

If you are an existing member, sign-in to leave a comment.

Have questions? Need to report an error? Contact Us