Laurel Swift 

Musician, Composer, Dancer, Project Maker

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Ceilidh Band Weekend - Litton Cheney, Dorset

24th - 26th September, 2021

*** SOLD OUT ***



Learn the secrets of playing for dance!

Make music that has people itching to get up and boogie!


How to build a great groove, how to play tunes for dancing, what makes a good ceilidh tune, phrasing, speed, emphasis and timing, ensemble skills for ceilidh bands, and what even is 'the go'?!


All players are all welcome, whether new to playing for ceilidhs, seasoned folkies, or somewhere inbetween.


I usually work exclusively by ear, however for this retreat, in addition to working by ear, I will offer the option to work from notation for those who wish to - and I will send tunes in advance for anyone who wants to get a head start.  


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!).


*** Everything is subject to covid being under control and all restrictions lifted! ***

litton cheney yha
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lovely litton cheney
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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 and dance, 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 have a few rounds of dances!  


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 Cerne Abbas!


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country street
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Once a Dutch barn and cheese & milk factory, YHA Litton Cheney is on the edge of a conservation village, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, a brook runs in front of the building.


There are countryside walks from the hostel door, and the Dorset coast is within easy reach.  


The hostel features a wood burner in the lounge and the the White Horse Pub is next door!


Accomodation is in dormitories in bunk beds, a few people will have to share bunks!


(If you would prefer to stay at a local B&B please do! However, please note that the price of the retreat remains at £165 as we can still only accommodate the same number of students in workshops.


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.


£120 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.


* 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 laurelswiftfolk@gmail.com


Use the Paypal link to book your Folk Music Retreat at Street.


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


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