A dynamic yet relaxing weekend away for players of all instruments, focusing on improving ensemble skills for playing folk music in small and large groups. A chance to learn new tunes and explore the many options for what to do with them. Hosted by Laurel Swift, this is a weekend of inspiring classes, homecooked food, informal sessions and country walks. The retreat will be a great way to learn new tunes, make new friends and and discover a new part of the country with stunning views across Somerset.
All players are all welcome, whether new to folk music, seasoned folkies, or somewhere inbetween. The retreat is designed for a wide range of players. We will work predominantly by ear and assume that either you are confident at working by ear or you are of ‘intermediate standard’ or above on your instrument. Please get in touch if you’d like to discuss whether the course is suitable for you (if it sounds fun, then it probably is!).
Friday – Arrival from 4:30pm onwards. Hot meal around 7:30pm, and available throughout the evening for later arrivals. Introduction to the weekend and informal playing.
Saturday Morning – Learn a tune and start explore the musical options available. Group exercises on rhythm and harmony that will help improve your listening, playing and confidence.
Saturday Afternoon – Another tune, new exercises in small groups, allowing you to try out the skills we’ve been exploring in the morning. Plus optional intensive class, and opportunities to explore the local area on foot or read a good book and relax.
Saturday Night – Time to play tunes, naturally! Dinner, drinks, maybe board games, definitely more tunes. There’ll be music, there’ll be laughter, the rest is up to you!
Sunday Morning – Another tune, more tips and techniques and a round up of everything we’ve done. We may even make a piece for a final performance together.
We leave the hostel after lunch. If you’re in no rush to get home, there are plenty more walks in the area, or a trip to nearby Glastonbury!
Opened in 1931, YHA Street is the oldest YHA hostel still in operation today. The charming Swiss-style chalet is surrounded by delightful National Trust land and there are a variety of walks with great views from the hostel.
There is a car park adjacent to the hostel for those travelling by car. Castle Cary is the nearest station and some pickups can be arranged / there is a local bus.
(If you would prefer to stay at a local B&B please do! However, please note that the price of the retreat remains at £170 as we can still only accommodate the same number of students in class.)
All meals from Friday tea through to Sunday lunch will be provided, plus hot drinks anytime. We will be cooking as a group, which is an important part of the retreat experience! Everyone will be expected to participate in preparing or washing up one meal. Food will be basic but wholesome and tasty, and we should be able to cater for most allergies, etc. Feel free to discuss any concerns.
£165 for the full weekend,
including all meals and dormitory accommodation
(bunk-beds in single-sex rooms).
There are local B&Bs if you prefer (although we recommend the full immersive experience!)
- please see further information for details of our concessions policy.
£50 deposit** now to reserve your place, with full payment due one month prior to the event.
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* We are offering concessions in order to make this event as accessible as possible. The concession price is intended for people on low income for whatever reason - low pension, student loans, or un/low-waged. Please use your discretion! We don't want to exclude anyone from the retreat, but equally would ask you to pay the full price if you are able to.
** The remainder of the payment must be paid by BAC or by cheque no later than one month before event date. If the payment is late, the deposit and the reserved place will be lost. If you are having any problems with the final payment and would like to discuss please email email@example.com