An Invitation from John Petrucci
I’d like to invite guitar players of all ages, backgrounds, and skill levels to join me at John Petrucci’s Guitar Universe 4.0, taking place August 3-6, 2023 at the W Fort Lauderdale in Fort Lauderdale, FL.
We wanted to change up the location this year. We’ve done camps in New York and on the West Coast so we’re doing this one in Florida, right on the water at the W Fort Lauderdale luxury beachfront resort hotel. I always want the setting to be something special. I want everyone to have the feeling of a real camp experience.
As always, we’re going to have some of the world’s greatest guitar players, all gathered in one spot as guest instructors. Players who I truly respect what they’re doing on the instrument, people whose music I enjoy or maybe I was influenced by. We all have a blast – playing, teaching, hanging out. We try to make it the most fun you can have in four days. During the day there will be classes, instructed by all the different guests. Then at night we’ll have an event, something fun that you really can’t see anywhere else. Sometimes someone is featured, sometimes the instructors get together and jam, and then the week will culminate with a concert from my solo band. We like to keep it really interesting from night to night.
It’s really important to me to feature guitar players of different genders and different styles. It’s important to show different angles, to not only have people whose music I highly respect but also a diverse, international presence as well. The span of the players in this camp – stylistically, age, gender, nationality – represents a cross-section of the guitar community all in one spot. From jazz fusion and instrumental prog to death metal and shred, they all share a common sensibility towards playing guitar – highly energetic, acrobatic, on fire.
I’m especially excited to have Brazilian guitarist Lari Basilio and my wife, Rena Sands, join us. I really think it’s important to showcase more women at these events. All you have to do is go online and you see so many women, of all ages, shredding like crazy. They’re out there, but there’s very few women that attend the camps. I would love to see that change. My message to all the women out there playing guitar is, if you’ve ever thought about doing something like this, go for it. Don’t hesitate. It’s not just for guys.
I also want to encourage players of all different levels of ability to join us at Guitar Universe 4.0. No matter your skill level, it’s not anything to be intimidated by. You’re not going to show up and be forced to play solos on stage with Zakk Wylde. It’s not like that – any level on your path is encouraged! Some people even come that don’t play guitar, they’re big music lovers and they just want the experience. This is a whole different level of interaction. For most fans, the usual interaction with musicians is nil – you go see them play a concert and that’s pretty much it. But now, all of a sudden, they’re right there. You’re having lunch with one of your favorite players, you can ask somebody a question in the hall, at barbecues, whatever.
We’re all trying to do the same thing at Guitar Universe. We’re doing this because we love music. We love playing guitar. And we all want to learn more – me included! I enjoy these camps just as much as the campers. I always feel like I leave a better player, a more informed musician. And I get to meet so many nice people!
After the week is done, we all leave with such a feeling of community in the guitar world. People make lifelong friends at these things, I love it every time. It’s a really special event and I hope that you’ll join us!