About SGFC

Our Annual Festival will be held in person on September 30 – October 1, 2023 at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Registration deadline is September 18th, 2023!


Welcome to the largest and most inclusive guitar competition in the Southeast!

The Southern Guitar Festival and Competition is an annual event that brings world caliber guitarists to Carolina. Our mission is to inspire and educate all music lovers. This multi-day festival presents concerts, workshops, lectures, and an international solo and ensemble competition. The guitar competition includes divisions for elementary/middle school, high school, and college/professional level classical guitarists. We also offer an ensemble division and a division for non-classical guitar players (Guitar Idol Carolina), in which every style of guitar playing is welcome, from jazz to blues, electric to acoustic. We look forward to every opportunity to encourage young artists and help them progress toward their full potential.

From our artistic director, Marina Alexandra:

Southern Guitar Festival is a woman-led nonprofit organization serving NC, SC, and the Southeastern US.
Marina Alexandra,
Executive & Artistic Director

It is amazing how much young talent we have in the world today. Inspired by the Piccolo Spoleto Festival held annually in Charleston, SC, I felt that it was my mission to showcase some of the best guitar players in the Carolinas. This is how the idea of the Southern Guitar Festival was born.

For the last 20 years, I have been actively teaching and working on promoting classical guitar among students in schools and colleges. This experience helped me to understand the need for competition; where students of ages 8 and up could compete in different divisions for prizes and concert opportunities.

Back in November 2011, I reached out to my extended network of guitarists in Carolina and offered them the opportunity to get on board and become part of the Southern Guitar Festival and Competition.

Several guitarists, students, music lovers and good friends responded with great enthusiasm and became team members. They have risen to the challenge and leveraged their talents, determination, and time to become the backbone of the Festival. I am truly grateful for the support of all these talented local musicians and my friends who volunteered their time and talent to raise the necessary amount to produce the first Southern Guitar Festival and Competition.

Now we are entering our tenth anniversary year, and more than ever I am deeply honored to work with our dedicated staff and faculty, our donors, sponsors, advertisers, volunteers, luthiers, host campus at UNC-SA, community partners in our new Festival home of Winston-Salem, and as always, our incredible students and their families. With all of your help and support, the Southern Guitar Festival continues to deliver on its promise to present world-class performances, workshops and competition in the Carolinas and Southeast region. We look forward to sharing all the exciting events and opportunities we have planned for the future!