Laurel Swift 

Musician, Composer, Dancer, Project Maker

P9016313.ED.1 (1)


A photo posted by Paff La Girafe (@pafflagirafe) on

English Fiddle Festival

with Laurel Swift, Miranda Rutter,

Tom Kitching and Deborah Chalmers

Bradwell, Milton Keynes

5th - 7th April, 2019

A unique weekend away for fiddle players of all levels, focusing on the details that make English fiddle style the dynamic, engaging and evolving form it is. Hosted by Laurel Swift, with guest tutors Miranda Rutter, Tom Kitching and Deborah Chalmers, this is a weekend of workshops, masterclasses, and one to ones, alongside homecooked food, informal sessions, a tutors concert and country walks.


The retreat is a great way to improve technique, find inspiration, learn new tunes, make new friends and celebrate the spring in music and laughter.


There will be 3 simultaneous classes at any time. Some sessions will be split by ability (beginner, intermediate and advanced), and others will be free choice – the options always accommodating the range of levels.

Choose between the following workshops:


* Nerves and tension versus tone. A method to help you find your best sound.

* Bowing tricks to make tunes groove.  

* Building a style toolkit to apply to your own favourite tunes.

* Bowing technique masterclass - Advanced bowing techniques for folk music.

* Playing for Dance

* Double stopping - Covering chords, counter melodies, and textures.

* How to play faster - building up speed without crashing!

* Variation and where to start.

* Creating harmonies - a beginners guide to harmonising tunes


Plus opportunities to play in small groups and a problem-solving masterclass!

An attractive converted 18th century farmhouse with great access to both the city and countryside. There is a comfortable lounge which has plenty of books and games to enjoy - perfect for relaxing inbetween tunes!



(If you would prefer to stay at a local B&B please do! However, please note that the price of the retreat remains at £160 as we can still only accommodate 16 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.

£170 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!)


£110 concessions* 

- 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.


Use the Paypal link to book your Fiddle Festival 2018 Retreat  

If you’d like to avoid charges, you can pay by BACS or cheque, CLICK HERE!


(Please note that Paypal's handling charge is 3.5% which will be displayed as a postage cost.)

* 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


Arrival from 4:30pm Friday (dinner approx 6:30pm, welcome / first class 8pm), Leave 4pm Sunday.