WINGHAM, ONT -- Kardin and Tegan Penner have been spending their summer perfecting their “shredding” skills on free electric guitars.

“It was nice because it has lessons with it, and play more since that started,” says Tegan.

The guitars are courtesy of Paisley Bluesfest organizers, who after cancelling their blues music festival earlier this summer, decided they’d use sponsorship dollars to loan out guitars to young aspiring musicians.

“These are the next blues musicians that may be coming on stage at Bluesfest a few years down the road. Who knows, right? Unless we keep them involved, and them - the youth - involved, it’s the only way to keep the art alive, right,” says Doug Albrecht of Paisley Bluesfest.

The three-month long guitar lending program, which also comes with free online lessons, has meant kids that wouldn’t normally have access to musical instruments, now do.

“We couldn’t have had a free run on trying electric guitars if this wasn’t in place,” says Kardin and Tegan’s mother, Moiken.

“I’m really excited about it, and my kids love it,” she says.

Bluesfest organizers say this made more sense to them than running a virtual concert, as many other event organizers have done.

“We’ve always had a Blues for Youth program, so during the pandemic, it’s also good for the kids to have something to do at home,” says Bluesfest Organizer Christine Jones.

For the Penners, the free guitars have meant a summer filled with sibling jam sessions.

“I enjoy it a lot. It’s a lot of fun playing with Tegan. It’s just really cool,” says Kardin, an aspiring musician.

More than 20 guitars have been loaned to local youth through the program.

Click here for more information on the program.