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Blowzabella Festival with guests Garenne

Friday 28 Jun 4pm — Sunday 30 Jun 4pm, 2024


This course is currently sold out. We do sometimes get cancellations - if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please contact us.

Full board per person (tuition, activities, all meals & accommodation):

£310– single occupancy ensuite room (sold out)
£265– sharing an ensuite room (sold out)
£265– single occupancy non-ensuite room (sold out)
£210– sharing non-ensuite dorm room (sold out)

Camping per person (tuition, activities, all meals):


Non Resident (tuition, activities, all meals except breakfast):


Sunday night (any accommodation)


This course is currently sold out. We do sometimes get cancellations – if you would like to be added to the waiting list, please contact us.

We are delighted to announce the return of international folk legends Blowzabella for a third festival weekend of workshops, sessions, concerts and dances at Halsway Manor. The band are very pleased to invite Garenne (previously known as Les Poufs à Cordes) as their guests for the 2024 event. This much-anticipated visit by the duo would have happened sooner, but the small matters of a global pandemic and incredibly busy diaries delayed them somewhat. We’re delighted to welcome both bands to Halsway in 2024.

“If ever a band was overdue a lifetime achievement award it is Blowzabella. Not only have they written a stack of what have become standard tunes in sessions on both sides of the channel, but they have also been largely responsible for reviving English Bagpipes and hurdy-gurdy, instruments that played a foundational role in traditional music.” Andrew Letcher, SONGLINES.

An outline programme for the weekend will be available soon, including all your favourite dance and instrumental workshops, bals, sessions, relaxed activities, and the Halsway Cream Tea.

An extra night is available on the Sunday night for those wishing to extend their stay, for £60 per person. Please add this to your booking form in the ‘Other Comments’ section.

All events take place in the Manor or on the Marquee Stage in the gardens. Camping is onsite in the water gardens.

Who is it for?

Blowzabella have been staging folk music and dance workshop events in Britain and abroad since 1984. The aim is to encourage people of abilities to participate at whatever level they are comfortable with. Many participants have gone on to form bands and dance groups as a result of attending Blowzabella workshops. All the members of the band are highly experienced at teaching people of all ages and abilities. The band are joined by their invited guests, the duo Garenne, who will both play for dancing and offer workshops too! Due to how busy this event is, and with safety and wellbeing in mind, participants must be aged 16 or above.

The Artists

Blowzabella is Andy Cutting – diatonic button accordion; Jo Freya – vocals, saxophones, clarinets, whistle; Paul James – vocals, border bagpipes, saxophones, whistle; David Shepherd – violin; Barn Stradling – bass guitar; and Jon Swayne – border bagpipes, saxophones.

The band make an inimitable, driving, drone-based wall of sound, played with a fabulous sense of melody, rhythmic expertise and sheer feeling. They compose their own music which is influenced by English and European traditional dance music. Many of the tunes they’ve composed are “standards” in the modern British/European folk repertoire and are played by people all over the world. Bands across Europe who experiment with folk music often cite Blowzabella as a major influence.

Since 2009, Garenne (Noëllie Nioulou and  Clémence Cognet) have been offering vibrant acoustic music based on the popular violin repertoires of the Massif Central. When playing for dancing, they deploy an indomitable energy, flowing full of rich timbres and rhythms. Their music is multi-layered yet refined, and as good for the ears as it is for the feet!

Find them on Facebook.
Visit their website

For our European Friends

Blowzabella, c’est un son inimitable et immédiatement reconnaissable; une musique à bourdons toute en émotion portée par des mélodies envoûtantes et des rythmes terriblement efficaces ! Leur répertoire s’inspire des musiques traditionnelles à danser d’Europe et bien-sûr d’Angleterre. Nombre de leurs compositions originales sont d’ailleurs devenues des standards du répertoire folk actuel et sont jouées partout à travers le monde. Blowzabella est une influence majeure pour beaucoup de groupes folk à travers toute l’Europe.

Die Gruppe hat ihren ganz eigenen, mitreißenden, auf einem starken Bordun basierenden Sound mit sagenhaftem Gespür für Melodie und Rhythmus und mit viel Gefühl. Sie spielt Eigenkompositionen der verschiedenen Bandmitglieder, die von der englischen und europäischen traditionellen Tanzmusik inspiriert sind. Viele ihrer Stücke gehören mittlerweile zum Standardrepertoire der modernen britischen bzw. europäischen Folkmusik und werden weltweit nachgespielt. Viele progressivere Folkmusikgruppen in ganz Europa erklären, dass Blowzabella sie maßgeblich beeinflusst hat.

De band heeft een geheel eigen, opzwepende, van bourdons doordrongen klank gespeeld met een fantastisch gevoel voor melodie, ritmische expertise en pure feeling. Ze schrijven hun eigen muziek die beïnvloed wordt door Engelse en Europese traditionele dansmuziek. Alle bandleden componeren; veel van hun nummers zijn inmiddels “standards” in het moderne Engelse / Europese folkrepertoire en worden gespeeld door mensen over de hele wereld. Bands in heel Europa die experimenteren met volksmuziek noemen Blowzabella vaak als belangrijke inspiratiebron.

La banda tiene un inigualable sonido basado en los bordones de gaitas y zanfona, con un sentido del ritmo y de la melodía muy característico. Música original influenciada por la música de baile de tradición inglesa y europea. Todos los componentes escriben nuevos temas, considerados “standards” en el moderno repertorio del Folk Europeo y son interpretados por muchas otras bandas de folk en todo el mundo. Muchos de los grupos europeos de folk consideran a Blowzabella un referente y una de sus mayores influencias.

Blowzabella propongono un inimitabile sound basato sulle sonorità degli strumenti a bordone, realizzato con un fantastico gusto melodico, ritmicamente coinvolgente e di grande impatto emotivo. Il repertorio è formato da brani di nuova composizione del gruppo stesso, fortemente influenzati dalla tradizione Inglese ed Europea. Molti dei loro brani sono divenuti “standards” nel moderno repertorio folk e sono eseguiti da musicisti di diverse nazionalità in tutto il mondo. Blowzabella sono spesso citati dai gruppi di tutta Europa che sperimentano con la musica folk come un’importante fonte di ispirazione.


Blowzabella photo: Lieve Boussauw