The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival is an international world class musical event that brings together first rate musicians and enthusiastic music lovers to beautiful Zihuatanejo, Mexico. Founded in 2004, the festival has grown every year in prestige, talent and size.
Every year our goal with the festival is threefold:
To generate tourism during the festival as well as year-round by elevating Zihuatanejo’s profile
To raise cultural awareness within the community while raising money for further cultural endeavors
To put on an amazing, out-of-your-seat-dancing, inspiring show with world class guitarists
The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival is dedicated to creating an international world class event to bring first rate musicians and appreciative audiences from across the globe to beautiful Zihuatanejo, Mexico, to generate tourism and raise cultural awareness within the community while raising money for art and cultural endeavors in Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo.
The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival was founded in 2004. Every year in March, this big’hearted community festival brings guitarists from all over the world to our piece of paradise on the Pacific Coast of Mexico.
ZIGF is truly a community festival and we rely heavily on support from our audience, our community, and the musicians themselves, who donate their time and talent in exchange for a week with us here in paradise. The festival benefits ZI-Guitarfest, A.C., a Mexican registered nonprofit association, with 25% of all festival proceeds going toward arts & cultural initiatives in the community. The operations of the festival are carried out by a volunteer organizing committee and dedicated community members who volunteer in the weeks leading up to and during the festival.
Individuals and businesses donate funds, meals, airfare, ground transportation, accommodations, audio/visual services and more, making this a genuine community celebration.
Catherine Krantz, Founder & Executive Director
Catherine Krantz is originally from Texas. She moved to Zihuatanejo in 1998, where she published an Art & Culture magazine about Mexico for 12 years called, Another Day in Paradise. She founded the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival in 2004 with a small group of music loving friends. She has a passion for the arts and a sincere belief that the future of the music industry will involve artist driven initiatives; she hopes the ZIGF will change the world. ZIGF is by far her favorite week of every year and she hopes you’ll come join the fun in March, in a beautiful little place called paradise.
Heidi Nygård, Operations Director
Heidi Nygard, is originally from the north of Norway, she is the owner of Bungalows Casa Heidi in Zihuatanejo since 2006. She has been involved with GuitarFest since 2008.
José Luis Cobo, Artist Ambassador
Miguel de la Barrera, Food and Beverage
I was born in Acapulco, Guerrero and I have lived in Zihuatanejo since March of 1998. Along with my family, I own a restaurant serving traditional Mexican food called Restaurante El Pueblito. It opened in December of 1997, and I am the General Manager. Our restaurant has participated in every single year of the Festival and we have hosted opening and closing concerts.
Edilma Fernandez, Box Office Manager
José Luis Noriega, Vendor Liason & Playa Coordinator
Federico Velderrain & Rodrigo Espejo, Production Directors
Isahrai Azaria, Creative Director
Isahrai has been a longtime supporter of ZIGF as an enthusiastic audience member, in-house graphic designer and as a contributing musician on several ZIGF projects including guest artist at 2013’s Una Noche de Gala con Cesar Tafoya and a contributing artist for the Ángel: In Memoriam benefit project in 2014. Isahrai also co-wrote and recorded the EP, Migration Heart, in support of the 2014 festival. This year she has stepped up to contribute her full range of design talents as she spearheaded the re-branding and rejuvenation of the festival’s image, website and merchandise. As a passionate community member, media expert and a working musician, Isahrai contributes a variety of important perspectives to the growth of ZIGF. After 10 years in Zihuatanejo, Isahrai and her daughter, Ellery Bea, recently moved to the culturally-vibrant, musical and colorful city of Oaxaca de Juarez, Oaxaca, but you can be assured she’s already bought her tickets home for the 2015 festival!
Phil “Philbillie” Milner, Sound Engineer
Philbillie is originally from Hawaii, based in San Francisco. A musician, producer, sound engineer and guitar tech, he has been a roadie for Bob Weir & Ratdog, traded licks with the likes of Hot Tuna, Los Lobos, Bruce Hornsby’s band and The Black Crows in many a backstage and hotel room jam and also worked for Tracy Chapman, Bonnie Raitt, Primus, Graham Nash, and a few other cool players. He is Jenny Kerr’s long-time guitarist, he also engineers and produces her and others’ records, including Guitar Fest performers Amy Cunningham and guitar virtuoso Eric McFadden. He has been a performer at Guitar Fest since its very first year, performing in 7 out of 12 years. He recorded the festival in 2014 for the soon to be released 2014 compilation CD, and was in charge of production and re-mastering for the 2014 ZIGF Ángel: In Memoriam benefit project. He returns to record again in 2015 and will be performing with his eclectic guitar duo The Croweaters.
Gabriela Pasquel, Master of Ceremonies
Gabriela was born in the misty and cultured city of Xalapa, Veracruz. She lived in Mexico City and moved to Zihuatanejo 20 years ago, where she has carried out many cultural projects. Among them, a small hotel, a restaurant and a cooking school where she shared her passion for the beauty and wonder of Mexican cuisine. Among other activities she has been actively involved in the community as an enthusiastic promoter of cultural events, is a member of the Board of Directors of the Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival in Zihuatanejo, and is a member of various educational boards. Currently, she divides her time between teaching languages and editing publications. She has a great passion for the arts, sciences, and letters, and for travel.
Stew Denny is originally from South West England. He grew up next door to Glastonbury Festival, which he began attending as a child and has worked since 2008. He made the switch to the U.S. in 2012, taking a position with the San Antonio Spurs to help develop and introduce their new rock festival into the market. He joined the American festival circuit (circus) in 2014, working with the brains behind festivals such as Bonnaroo, Outside Lands, and TomorrowWorld. Festivals have been his biggest passion since he was a kid and he couldn’t be more excited to join the Zihuatanejo team.
Kirk Wagner, Stage Manager
Staff Photographers: Margaret Reid & Julia Sumner
We work hard to keep all of our TICKET PRICES accessible, offering individual concert tickets for $15-25 USD and week-long passes for less than $120 USD.
In 2014, we also introduced the Founders’ Club, an all-access VIP pass that is available for $250 USD. Founders’ Club members get reserved seating at our opening and closing concerts, invitations to private artist events and our undying gratitude for being our most fervent supporters.
The Zihuatanejo International Guitar Festival would not be possible without its tireless group of VOLUNTEERS, led by Operations Director Heidi Nygård. 40 volunteers – comprised of both Zihuatanejo locals and members of our expat community – assist with all aspects of the festival including transportation, pre-festival publicity, beach set up and clean up, ticket sales and artist relations.
We are always looking for new volunteers who are spirited, music lovers and hard workers! In exchange for a minimum time commitment (requirements vary based on the position), volunteers receive a free t-shirt, two free drinks during their shift and a free pass for the entire week with “plus one” privileges!
For more information and to sign up, visit our Volunteer Page to view our openings and fill out an application! We will be hosting informational meetings in February at several locations and times for orientation and to assign specific roles.