Eric Clapton’s first “Crossroads Guitar Festival” took place on 4, 5, and 6 June 2004 at Fair Park / Cottonbowl Stadium in Dallas, Texas. In conjunction with an auction by Christies, it served as a major endowment to the Crossroads Antigua Foundation. The foundation funds Crossroads Centre at Antigua, a drug and alcohol residential rehabilitation facility, founded by Eric Clapton in 1997.
In the event program, Eric expressed his reason for hosting the event: “For many years it has been a dream of mine to collect together in one place the greatest guitar players and the leading companies who make the instruments for the players. I am thrilled that this dream is going to come true and I am truly excited at the prospect of having such a wonderful group of artists join me in Dallas for what I hope will be a memorable experience for everyone - players and audience alike - and will at the same time benefit the charity I set up for the Crossroads Rehabilitation Facility in Antigua.”
The “Guitar Center Village” featured a display of the guitars that were to be auctioned by Christies on 30 June 2004. These guitars included Eric’s Blackie, his Cherry Red Gibson ES-335, Stevie Ray Vaughan’s “Lenny” and many others. There were also numerous displays by companies like Fender, Martin & Co., Yamaha Guitars, Korg, Vox, Ernie Ball / Music Man, DigiTech, Ovation, Taylor, Ibanez, Marshall, D’Addario, and many others. A vintage guitar showcase was a buy-sell-trade extravaganza. Over the three day festival, many clinics were hosted by some of the world’s best known guitarists.
The festival music and clinic schedule was as follows:
Friday 4 June 2004:
Clinics and live performances from 4:30 to 9PM by: Paul Reed Smith Clinic, Luther Tatum Clinic, Chris Poland’s OHM Clinic, Acoustic Clinic with Doyle Dykes, Peter Huttlinger and Laurence Juber, Blues Clnic with Honey Boy Edwards and Robert Jr. Lockwood and more.
Saturday 5 June 2004:
Clincis and live performances from 11AM to 10:30PM by Jay Gordon; Tommy Shaw and James Young; Shredders Clinic with Nuno Bettencourt, Yngwie Malmsteen and Tony Franklin; Del Castillo; Memento Clinic; Guitarmageddon 2004 Grand Finals; Guitar Pull with Buck Page, Norm Stephens, Ramblin’ Jack Elliot and Sonny Curtis; Jonny Lang; Roscoe Beck, Greg Koch and John Calarco featuring Mike Cross; Jeff “Skunk” Baxter Clinic; Eric Johnson; Vishwa Mohan Bhatt; Dan Tyminski; Doyle Bramhall II; J.J. Cale; John Mayer; Robert Randolph; All Star Blues Jam (Eric Clapton, Jimmie Vaughan, Buddy Guy, Robert Cray, Robert Randolph)
Sunday 6 June 2004:
Clinics and live performances from 11AM to 6PM: Johnny A Clinic; Picker’s Corner with Marty Stuart, James Burton and Doyle Dykes Clinic; Roscoe Black, Greg Koch, and John Calarco Clinic; Mark Seal Clinic; Gman, more.
Cottonbowl Concert - live performances from 12PM to 10:45PM: Neal Schon, Steve Vai, Sonny Landreth, Larry Carlton, Pat Metheny Trio, Jerry Douglas, John McLaughlin, The Robert Cray Band, Jimmie Vaughan, Hubert Sumlin with guest vocalist David Johansen, Booker T & The MGs, Bo Diddley, David Hidalgo, Joe Walsh, Vince Gill, James Taylor, B.B. King (joined by Eric Clapton, Buddy Guy and John Mayer), Calos Santana (with Eric Clapton), Eric Clapton (joined by Jeff Beck), ZZ Top.