Arts & Entertainment

The Keys are getting strung out with new guitar festival

Mateo Jampol put together the Florida Keys Guitar Festival.
Mateo Jampol put together the Florida Keys Guitar Festival.

Classical and jazz guitar concerts are to take center stage during the Florida Keys' summer season.

The Florida Keys Guitar Festival is to present six guitar virtuosos in seven concerts between June 4 and Aug. 7. The festival is the creation of classical guitarist Mateo Jampol, a longtime Florida Keys resident who performs as Mateo. As well as him, the concert series features the talents of classical master Steve Ramos and jazz greats Bob Hanni, Larry Baeder, Michael Gillis and Mike Emerson.

Initial performances are scheduled in Marathon and Key Largo, leading up to a three-day Key West schedule highlighted by a "guitar summit" featuring all six musicians.

The festival is to begin June 4, with Mateo's 8 p.m. concert of classical guitar highlights and original works at Florida Keys Country Club, 4000 Sombrero Blvd., just off U.S. 1 at mile marker 50 oceanside. The following evening he plans to present a show from 6 to 8 p.m. at the amphitheater at Marathon Community Park, mile marker 49 oceanside.

A maestro of the Spanish guitar, Mateo next will perform for Key Largo audiences in an evening exploring the musical heritage of Spain. The concert is set for 8 p.m. July 2 at the Murray E. Nelson Government and Cultural Center, mile marker 102 bayside.

The festival's three-day Key West showcase begins by celebrating the jazz talents of Keys musicians Baeder, Gillis and Emerson at 8 p.m. Aug. 5 at the Little Room Jazz Club, 821 Duval St.

Mateo is to present a 3 p.m. Aug. 6 matinee at Key West's Old Stone Church, 600 Eaton St., while Ramos and Hanni are scheduled at 10 p.m. for a classical and jazz guitar medley at the Little Room Jazz Club.

The festival's climax is the Aug. 7 guitar summit, presenting all six performers in an evening that blends individual musical stylings with collective artistry. Titled Cool Jazz & Hot Summer Night, the concert is set for 6:30 p.m. in the shaded grounds of the Gardens Hotel, 526 Angela St.

Tickets for most Florida Keys Guitar Festival performances are $25 per person and can be purchased at For event specifics, go to