If you’re going to be anywhere near Southern France  toward the end of July—or are looking for an excuse to go there—we heartily recommend you check out the third annual ‘Le Temps des Guitares’ International Guitar Festival July 18–21 in the beautiful, medieval French town of Puy-l’Évêque, which is in the heart of the wonderful Cahors wine region, situated on the Lot River, about two hours north of Toulouse. Each year, the festival has gotten bigger and more successful, and this summer’s is looking to be their most ambitious yet, with a wide variety of artists and styles, not mention a different “wine partner” for each of the four evening concerts.

The lineup includes Franco-Israeli guitarist Liat Cohen and French guitar great Valérie Duchâteau on Wednesday 7/18; the young Australian wonder Stephanie Jones (who is also part of Germany’s fantastic Weimar Guitar Quartet) and Egyptian-born Australian oud virtuoso and multi-instrumentalist Joseph Tawadros on Thursday 7/19; Alexandre Bernoud (France) and Les Freres Meduses duo—American Randall Avers and the prolific Frenchman Benoît Albert—on Friday 7/20; and wrapping it up on Saturday 7/21, festival artistic directors Olivier Bensa and Cécile Cardinot (Duo Bensa-Cardinot) perform a show based around the works of lute-and-voice works of John Dowland and his contemporaries, and then Malian kora exponent Ballaké Sissoko (a personal favorite of mine; his At Peace album is a classic!) will play his soothing and hypnotic music.

The festival also includes late afternoon guitar lessons, a demonstration of guitar-making, a free showcase of young guitarists, and, of course, wine-tastings. For ticket information and more, click here.  —Blair Jackson


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Here are four of the artists who will be performing: