Call us free in the UK 0800 043 1022
the musical instrument specialists
Login | Account

Sheehans Acoustic Avalon 2014


The dates for Acoustic Avalon 2014 are Saturday 8th & Sunday 9th  November. 

Hundreds of guitars at unbeatable prices | 0% finance available | Performances throughout the day

About The Show

An annual event run by Sheehan's of Leicester, Acoustic Avalon provides a unique opportunity for enthusiasts to see, play and buy a huge selection of the world's best acoustic guitars. The show attracts visitors from all corners of the UK and beyond. Now in its 20th year, the show has become a landmark event in the acoustic guitar world, regularly featuring world class artists as well as world class instruments.

The 2014 show will take place on Saturday 8th and Sunday 9th November at Leicester Racecourse Conference Centre. Opening hours are 10:00am to 5:30pm with regular demonstrations throughout the day, plus workshops, cafe / bar, evening concert and a large selection of guitar accessories all at knocked-down prices.

For those looking to buy a guitar, it’s a unique opportunity for you to put together your ‘fantasy guitar’ shopping list and try them all in one single location. Visitors can also look forward to seeing a spectacular range of top guitar brands and manufacturers, representing some of the finest acoustic guitars produced anywhere in the world.
For those of you who have never attended the show, there really is no other like it. Come and play some wonderful instruments, browse through our accessory shop, have a coffee, watch some great artists, and maybe treat yourself to a guitar!  And all at your own pace and leisure.
There’s something for everyone from beginner to professional artist, with great one-off prices. The show is famous for its friendly atmosphere, with many visitors declaring it the highlight of their acoustic year. So don’t miss out!

You can see many past Avalon performances on YouTube. To open a new window and go straight there click here. (Videos courtesy of Kev Stevenson)

Venue - Leicester Racecourse

Leicester Racecourse is easily accessible from the Midlands Motorway Network. Situated near junction 21 of the M1/M69 and close to the A6/main outer ring road (A563). Three miles away from the centre of Leicester and only two miles from the main Railway Station

Leicester Racecourse Co ltd - Oadby - Leicester - LE2 4AL

Keep up-to-date with everything Avalon-related through our Facebook page.

Artist Performances


11.00 Steve Fairclough (Fishman)

12.00 Hicks & Goulbourn (Yairi)

13.00 Sophia Johnson Masterclass (G7th)

14.00 Chris Newman Masterclass (Mike Vanden Pickups)

15.00 David Wyatt (Sheehans)

16.00 Natalie McCool (Yamaha)


Saturday Concert

Antoine Dufour

Chris Newman and Stella Hensley



11.00 Kaylen Castle (Crafter)

12.00 Sophia Johnson Masterclass (G7th)

13.00 David Wyatt (Sheehans)

14.00 Natalie McCool (Yahama)

15.00 Antoine Dufour (Strings n Things)

16.00 Chris Newman and Johnny Magic Boy Wright (Mike Vanden Pickups)


About the Artists

We are very excited to announce that the following artists will be performing at Acoustic Avalon 2014...


Antoine Dufour

34 year old Montreal, Canada based guitarist Antoine Dufour is known colloquially among the best guitar players in the world as a musician’s musician. To fans of popular music, he deftly combines jaw-dropping guitar playing skills and an artistic soul in crafting instrumental compositions that reflect ambient and progressive music that transcends global cultures and languages. That he does this in an incredibly visual and entertaining style has endeared him to a broad spectrum of fans of popular music.

Via his six albums of original material released to critical acclaim, two live performance DVDs, 6 years of global touring and more than 50 million cumulative views on YouTube, Antoine Dufour has emerged as a young star of fingerstyle acoustic guitar, building a worldwide reputation for innovation and creativity.  2014 will showcase his abilities as he tours global markets including Canada, Germany, USA, China, UK, France Netherlands, and many others. He has recorded a new album of material that is slated for a fall 2014 release.

Antoine’s records of accomplishment include winning First place at the Canadian Fingerstyle Guitar Championships, Third place at the ultra-prestigious international guitar championships at Winfield, recording for the leading Instrumental music record label Candyrat, plus touring and playing with luminary guitar players such as Andy McKee and Don Ross.

Through his active schedule of post show meet and greets with every fan after gigs, holding seminars, workshops and masterclasses as part of his tour schedule he truly loves engaging fans on a one-to-one level – however, it is via social media that he has connected with millions of fans spread out all over the globe.  His fans have recorded countless covers of his music on YouTube and his fan base is as loyal and ravenous to see him perform as any artist out there today.

Clearly, fans are attracted to his technical prowess in the progressive Acoustic Guitarist as trail-blazed by such geniuses as Michael Hedges and Preston Reed; yet, it is a solid reflection of his ability and persona that he is simultaneously hailed by reviewers and critics alike.

He has been described within traditional media and press with accolades such as:

“… (Antoine is a)  wonderland of fingerpicking and highly intricate compositions soothing the soul as they engage the mind. Dufour's riffs are incredible, never-ending, and at times seemingly impossible for human fingers to pull off.”


”The youthful Antoine Dufour's million views on Youtube are easily understood. His style packs a rock band's punch behind extraordinary fluency and features highly effective flamenco-like percussion and deftly reflective melodies as well as urgent, nimble picking.”

To take a look at Antoine Dufour for yourself, you can visit his website here. A big thank you to Strings N Things for sponsoring his performance at Acoustic Avalon 2014.

Natalie McCool

'Natalie McCool is understandably, and simply, one of the greatest female musicians of this time'

'Calm and collected, her anthems act like a calling. Summoning you inside, closing the door and engulfing your being'

'Natalie’s music crafts such a beautiful soundscape that you can get lost in the layers and layers of content'

'McCool has that extra something that makes her a cut above even her most talented peers'


Her childhood years spent drawing together a fine fabric of influences from Jeff Buckley, Cocteau Twins, PJ Harvey & The Stone Roses, McCool rose up, and with a daggers aim, unleashed a formidable body of work- an enthralling sonic panorama that dislocates you into its gravity: at times controversial; yet always delivered with absolute conviction.

A singular voice surrounded by a constellation of guitar; shifting from delicate fingerstyle beginnings to chorus drenched Johnny Marr-esque riffing, Natalie is lauded by every single music luminary that crosses her path- including recent acclaim from BBC 6 Music’s Chris Hawkins & BBC Radio 2′s Janice Long, Guardian and ‘Louder Than War’ journalist John Robb, and Liverpool’s own arts, music and film magazine The Double Negative.

A long list of National and local radio stations have already recognised her undeniable guitar artistry including BBC 6 Music shows such as Chris Hawkins, Tom Ravenscroft, Shaun Keaveny, Steve Lamacq and Huey Morgan; also the BBC ‘Introducing’ show; XFM’s John Kennedy and Hattie Pearson; and BBC Radio 2 shows including Dermot O’Leary, Janice Long, Steve Wright, Richard Allinson and Claudia Winkleman.

On top of all this, last year Natalie won Female Artist of the Year at the Liverpool Music Awards!

To take a look at Natalie McCool for yourself you can visit her website here. A big thank you to Yamaha for sponsoring her performance at Acoustic Avalon 2014! 

Chris Newman and Stella Hensley

Chris Newman, Blues, rock, slide and ragtime guitarist teams up with the velvet vocals of singer songwriter Stella Hensley. Their recent collaboration has culminated into a collection of 15 beautifully crafted original songs co written by the pair.

Their album "Tantra Blues" is receiving great reviews:
Chris Newman is an outstanding guitarist who started performing in the mid 70's. He has an impressive musical C.V. He has been a member of the "John Slaughter Blues Band" and toured as support for" The Climax Blues Band." Later he joined "The Gravy Train," a band formed by Colin Cooper (front man of the Climax) which featured Pick Withers on drums (Dire Straits) He has worked with Russell Gilbrook (Sabbath/ Uriah Heap) on a national Mapex drum tour. In 2003 he played at The Cambridge Folk festival with Steve Lockwood and Eric Roche. 2005 he headlined at the Rory Gallagher Tribute Festival in Philadelphia, performing songs from his Acoustic Tribute to Rory Gallagher album. (Redball Records) Chris composes music for TV adverts and film, and has been featured on BBC Radio 4.

Stella Hensley trained at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts. Worked on sessions for Mark Shaw (Then Jericho), Ricki Wilde, various film and radio work alongside her own gigs on the London circuit.
She has been songwriting all her life working with various musicians. She recorded her first original album "Ben and Me" with Guitarist Ben Smith in 1997. 2001 saw her opening up for "Uriah Heap" at "The Magicians Birthday Party " at The Shepherds Bush Empire. Her album "Six Hours Notice" followed . Stella went on to record a further two albums with guitarist Johnny Wright ; "Strong" and "Glass Bridges". Her voice is mellow and soulful and the lyrics are quirky and heartfelt.

On Sunday, Chris Newman will be joined by Johnny "Magic Boy" Wright, of the Split Whiskers, to rip up the stage and serve you a slice of Blues Slide Rock n Roll.

To take a look at Chris Newman and Stella Hensley for yourself, you can visit their website here. A big thank you to Mike Vanden Pickups for sponsoring their performance at Acoustic Avalon 2014.

Steve Fairclough

“Steve Fairclough is a collage of some of the Worlds Greatest Guitar players, and as such he’s one of my favourite players”

“Steve is a superbly accomplished player at home in both the Jazz idiom and the Fingerstyle world, and playing with him is always a pleasure”

“Lots of variety,environments,textures and just plain good tunes, this is a Refreshing, Musical, Unexpected guitar player”

“Steve is a unique fingerstyle guitarist, he plays lots of different styles, different moods with a lot of talent, furthermore, he is a real gentleman”



Steve Fairclough spent most of the 90's as the International Demonstrator for Takamine & Parker Guitars and KORG keyboards.

He toured throughout Europe and America playing at all the major Music Industry Shows, and built a reputation as a consummate musician and composer. His work featured on many promotions and features. His demonstration tracks were featured by leading Sound Magazines in England and America, and he was involved with the voicing of the early "Toneworks" range of Effects from KORG.

He stopped touring in 2000 after being invited to play at the "Muriel Andersons All Star Guitar Nite" in Nashville, and in his career has worked alongside such diverse musicians as Brian May, Pat Martino, Billy Cobham, James Burton, Martin Taylor to name but a few.

After 6 years heading his own highly successful Sound Design company (, he still continues to write for TV and Film, but now he has now returned to the Music Industry.

Steve's performance is in conjunction with Fishman Electronics.

Sophia Johnson

Sophia Johnson is one of the UK’s leading female acoustic guitarists. She has been playing since she was seven years old, training as a classical guitarist during her formative years, and then moving into the spheres of bluegrass, western swing and gypsy jazz in her late teens; switching from nylon to steel strings, and from being a mainly finger style guitarist to using a plectrum.  Sophia was a member of critically acclaimed jazz/flamenco fusion group Trio Gitano, after which she went on to form bluegrass & swing band The Toy Hearts, with her sister and father.

The Toy Hearts continues to be her main musical project, with whom she has recorded 4 albums, she plays lead guitar, sings harmony vocals and is a principal songwriter for the band.  Sophia has been working as a professional musician for the last ten years performing, writing, recording and teaching, as well as touring extensively across the UK, Europe and the USA. In 2013 Sophia spent 6 months living in Austin, Texas with her band, where she was a regular performer in the bars and honkytonks of the live music capital of the world. Sophia has been profiled in Guitarist, and is notably the only British female to be featured in prestigious American publication Flatpick Guitar Magazine.

In Association with G7th Capos, Sophia Johnson will be giving two bluegrass guitar workshops at this year’s  Acoustic Avalon.

This is a rare opportunity to learn the tips, tricks and technics that has helped solidify Sophia as the Uk’s leading bluegrass flatpicking guitarist.

Sophia will focus the workshops around using a capo. In bluegrass music the rhythm guitar functions primarily to fill out the middle of the harmonic spectrum, for this reason most players favour using chord shapes with as many open strings as possible. Similarly when playing lead lines the use of open strings is important both stylistically and to give the player as much projection and sustain as possible. For the reasons outlined above, almost all fiddle tunes in the key of A would be played with a capo on the second fret using the regular shapes of G, C & D. Similarly songs/tunes in D/E/F are often played with a capo using the C shape.

Sophia will be covering playing in the key of A, using G runs, and licks with open strings, decorating the basic chord shapes of G, C & D, and looking at some typical ‘A’ fiddle tunes like Salt Creek, Cherokee Shuffle & Red Haired Boy. As she plays in a band with a female vocalist Sophia will often have to move songs into different keys so they are suitable for a woman’s vocal range, they Keys of B and Bb are often particularly useful in this respect.

This is definitely one masterclass not to be missed!

Kaylen Castle


Kaylen Castle is a 17-year-old, self-taught, incredible acoustic guitarist from Grays, Essex. 

"I have always adored music, ever since I was born I gravitated towards music. But at the age of 6 I grew more of a passion specifically for drums and electric guitar. At just 8 years-old I decided I wanted to take guitar playing more seriously. That decision has pretty much determined my life thus far. Up until the age of 14, I considered acoustic guitar to be an instrument I would never pick up. I was all for the hard-hitting grooves of Pantera and face-melting riffs of Metallica – acoustic guitar provided me with no excitement like the electric guitar did. That was until I came across guys like Justin King, Andy Mckee, Jon Gomm, Erik Mongrain and so many more acoustic players alike who completely redefined my attitude towards acoustic guitar. They opened my eyes to a whole new world of music – a whole new way for creating music using peculiar techniques that prove that the acoustic guitar is, covertly, an instrument of true wonder. My passion is acoustic guitar and my job is to showcase my passion and thank those who have inspired me along the way and have supported me."

A big thank you to Crafter Guitars UK for sponsoring Kaylen's performance. You can see Kaylen's previous performance at Acoustic Avalon here.



Hicks & Goulbourn

Hicks and Goulbourn- Quintessential acoustic music. Fingerstyle guitar virtuoso Steve Hicks and singer songwriter Lynn Goulbourn met at a gig in 2007. With a mutual love of folk, roots and acoustic genres, their musical partnership has flourished and taken them to all corners of the UK, to Germany and the USA. They thrive on the creative process of stretching musical boundries and perform mesmeric arrangements of traditional, contemporary and self - penned songs and music. Expect the unexpected...

A big thank you to Yairi Guitars for sponsoring their performance at Acoustic Avalon 2014.




Brands we stock include... many more!

Visit us in-store

58a London Road
United Kingdom
Find us on Google Maps

Call Free from UK Landlines → 0800 043 1022 International / Mobile call +44 116 2557492

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google Plus
  • YouTube
powered by PRIAM © 2015