Eric Clapton brought together some of music’s most notable guitar players for the fifth annual Crossroads Guitar Festival this past weekend.

The two-day event held at the American Airlines Center in Dallas featured many old friends and collaborators of Clapton, including Jeff Beck, Joe Walsh, Sheryl Crow, Peter Frampton, Gary Clark Jr., and many more.

The festival was a benefit for the Crossroads Centre, a substance-abuse treatment facility on the island of Antigua that Clapton founded in 1997. He first organized the event in 2004, and has held it every three years since, with the exception of 2016.

As a proud sponsor of the event, we had the opportunity to host several up-and-coming, as well as veteran players on the Village Stage presented by Ernie Ball.

Ernie Ball is a proud supporter of both Eric Clapton and the Crossroads Centre Antigua. Since the first Crossroads Guitar Festival in 2004, Ernie Ball has provided a stage and helped co-produce an amazing performance of great talent. The 2019 Crossroads Guitar Festival Village Stage was a huge success featuring the biggest lineup to date.

Ryan McLain, Director of Experiential Marketing

Check out some of our favorite moments from the Village Stage below…

Day 1

Joe Robinson

Let’s be honest, sometimes we struggle to man a single guitar — let alone two simultaneously. Joe Robinson makes the act seem effortless, and has grown a dedicated following surrounding the impressive feat. Fresh off a summer tour with fellow Ernie Baller Rodney Crowell, the Australian native took to the Crossroads Village Stage to showcase his talents while also playing favorites off of his recent release, Undertones.

Jacob Reese Thornton — Brotherhood of the Guitar

17-year-old Jake DeMarco relies on the Ernie Ball Music Man StingRay bass for the low end.

Jacob Reese Thornton rocking his Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass guitar.

Brotherhood of the Guitar is a passion project spearheaded by legendary rock and roll photographer Robert M. Knight. The platform gives rising guitar players the chance to showcase their talents to a live audience and gain exposure amongst the greats.

This year, the Brotherhood presented Florida based blues rocker Jacob Reese Thornton. The 16-year-old has traded licks onstage with blues legend Buddy Guy and has racked over a million views across his social videos. Thornton treated fans performing originals including “Sketches of You” and “I Can See for Miles” while ripping on his Ernie Ball Music Man Cutlass guitar.

Ryan McGarvey


Ryan McGarvey has steadily been on the rise the last few years with his soulful guitar playing — gaining attention from Eric Clapton himself. Clapton personally invited McGarvey to perform at the festival in 2010, and the New Mexico native made his return to the Dallas festival for the third time this year.

It was definitely worth us flying back from Europe mid tour. I’m humbled, inspired, and just so grateful. To be accepted, recognized, and treated as a total (undeserving) equal with some of the greatest guitarists/musicians to ever live — just has my heart speechless. More to come soon! Thank you!

Ryan McGarvey, @officialryanmcgarvey 

Marcus King with Asher Belsky

At just 14, Asher Belsky has technique that some take a lifetime to master.


Son of Blue Revival guitarist Marvin King, Marcus King is continuing the legacy of American rock and soul music that runs in his family. Accompanied by the Gibson prodigy Asher Belsky, the duo gave a taste of what the next generation of grassroots and blues has to offer.

Carla Olson and Todd Wolfe

Since departing from Sheryl Crows’ band, Todd Wolfe has released nine studio albums.


Carla Olson and Todd Wolfe are “two kindred spirits” who have combined their talents to deliver the ultimate blues mashup. Olson’s roots date back the 80s when she lead the rock group Textones, while Wolfe spent many years touring with Sheryl Crow before embarking on his solo endeavor. The two spent their time on the Village Stage performing songs from their new acoustic album, The Hidden Hills.

Day 2

Artur Menezes

Artur Menezes secured a spot on the Village Stage after winning the PLAY Crossroads contest presented by Ernie Ball.


PLAY Crossroads’ contest winner Artur Menezes and his band kicked off day two of the festival. The crowd got a taste of what the LA-based guitarist is capable of, and we’re proud to have brought his talents to the Village Stage.

[It’s] really a dream come true to play at the Crossroads Guitar Festival. I’ve been watching the DVDs since the first edition and it’s a blessing being in the same place as my guitar heroes. Thank you so much Ernie Ball for this opportunity and thank you so much for everyone who rooted for me!

Artur Menezes, Guitar World


Arielle plays the Ernie Ball Super Slinky and Hybrid Slinky guitar strings.


Music has been engrained into singer and songwriter Arielle from a young age. At just 5-years-old she was singing with the Peninsula Girls Chorus, learning piano, trumpet, and inevitably guitar. After dedicating her youth to music, she eventually gained notoriety by some of music’s biggest names. This year, Arielle ripped on her custom made guitar while treating fans with sounds from her new record, Suspension/Dimension.

John Mayer

John Mayer paid a special visit to the Village Stage with Paul Reed Smith of PRS Guitars. Mayer spent the afternoon discussing gear and demoing his signature models.

Steven Johnson and Dexter Allen

Steven Johnson (left) singing vocals with blues guitarist Dexter Allen.

Steven Johnson, grandson of legendary blues artist Robert Johnson, alongside singer/guitarist Dexter Allen combined their talents for a unique performance, paying tribute to many of the great blues players that came before them.

Salvation from Sundown

Reece Malone has been playing guitar since he was five years old and joined the Ernie Ball family when he was just 12.

Reece Malone and Kelsi Kee of the blues outfit Salvation of Sundown helped close out the evening. The young duo put on an impressive performance to a hometown crowd, while Kee nailed a nearly perfect cover of Memphis Slim’s “Mother Earth.”

For more from Crossroads, check out our live All Access coverage here.


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