An opportunity for young musicians from the South West and beyond to work with leading folk artists, to create a new performance piece – and to perform it live at Sidmouth Folk Week!
“Very long days, however every minute was incredible.” Participant
The young performers will operate as a company: taking warm ups together, technique classes in their disciplines, learning repertoire and creating contemporary reinterpretations of traditional material. The group will live, work and play together, with opportunities for informal rehearsals and social gatherings to enrich their experience and understanding of the folk arts.
“It was full on, packed with amazing stuff.” Participant
Who’s is it for?
This is a fun but intensive course for young people aged 12-18, leading to a day of performances at Sidmouth Folk Week. It’s designed as a progression from our Spring Halsway Young Folk: Intro Week, but if you’re new to Halsway, that’s ok; you’ll need prior experience as a musician or singer, and to have some folk experience, eg from taking part in workshops at Festivals, from going to courses at other venues, from playing in a school (or your own!) folk band. If you’re not sure, then get in touch.
“My ability to learn tunes without notation has definitely improved.” Participant
How to Apply
Places costs £230. Accommodation, all meals, tuition and activities are included in the price. Transport to Sidmouth is NOT included; parents will need to collect participants on Saturday morning and accompany them to the Festival for the day.
Places are limited and will be allocated on a first come, first-served basis. Contact us for an application form, or download an application form here. Please return your completed application form with a deposit of £60 to secure your place.
We do all we can to offer bursary places to young people with exceptional talent or for whom the opportunity would be especially beneficial, but whose financial circumstances would otherwise exclude them from the programme. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if this is something you would like to discuss.
We are delighted to announce that Becki Driscoll will be taking up the reins from Will Lang as Lead Artist in 2020. She’ll be joined by experienced folk artists and educators, including Kerrie Seymour (Pastoral Support) and young professional folk musicians Ford Collier, Kate Griffin & Alex Garden.
Becki is a musician, singer, composer and educator with many years’ experience. Based in the heart of the West Country she has a deep knowledge on love of our local – and wider – folk traditions.
Becki leads educational projects and workshops for festivals and specialist courses, ranging from beginners fiddle sessions, to mixed-instrument folk orchestras for all ages. She leads the prestigious English Fiddle Weekend at Halsway (together with Nick Wyke), and is an Associate Artist for Wren trust for whom she has led numerous community music projects including the Folk Orchestra of North Devon, the Fiddle Orchestra of Devon, regular music groups with children and young people, and a specialist early years project she developed with Bideford Bay Children’s Centre.
“folk music at its best” – The Living Tradition
Becki is well known for her celebrated musical partnership with Nick Wyke; two of the UK’s finest fiddle-players, together they give a playful and innovative take on English traditional music and song. They first collaborated as a fiddle duo on a busking trip around Spain and Portugal, and in the years since have worked with some of the leading lights of the English folk scene, always pushing the boundaries and developing new and inventive music. The duo’s compositions and interpretations of traditional songs are influenced by a wide range of musical cultures: “We are inspired by the people we meet and the places we’ve been. We like the idea of a global approach to the English tradition.”
“…lovely, inventive playing” – fRoots
Kerrie is a community artist, youth theatre director and project manager with a background in Social Work, specializing in Youth, Education and Children’s Residential care.
Working extensively with schools, community groups and a range of support services Kerrie has delivered countless projects from small theatre performances to large scale outdoor events. She strives to be part of creating fresh, innovative, thought provoking and exciting work that can motivate, inspire, and engage participants and audiences. At Halsway she’ll be leading fun team-building and confidence-boosting games and creative activities to complement the musical tuition, whilst making sure each young person feels included and supported during their stay.
Ford Collier is a Radio 2 Folk Award Nominated multi-instrumentalist, specialising in folk fusion. He plays low whistle, guitar, and percussion, and draws on a wealth of traditional Irish tunes, his 8 years of experience as an accompanist, and knowledge of the rhythmic language of Indian classical music to broaden his roots in UK folk. Ford regularly tours the UK and has played festivals including Glastonbury with his two bands who feature other Halsway young folk tutors; global folk collective Mishra with Kate Griffin and electrified-folk duo The Drystones with Alex Garden. Some of Ford’s first teaching experience came at Halsway Manor, where he participated in courses as a teenager and eventually became a tutor. He has since delivered a series of workshops in primary schools on local folklore in collaboration with Historic England and Halsway Manor, begun work as a peripatetic teacher at schools in Sheffield and taught one-to-one lessons privately.
Kate is a clawhammer banjo player, vocalist and composer rapidly emerging on the UK folk and world scene. Described as “one of the top banjo players in the country” by virtuoso Dan Walsh, her innovative banjo style combines both traditional UK and American folk, whilst also placing the banjo in a contemporary setting. In 2017 Kate Griffin and Ford Collier formed award winning global folk collective Mishra, fusing Indian classical with UK and American folk music, with their debut album being released autumn 2019. Her solo projects include the Wayside Tales EP which transformed stories from her home village in Gloucestershire into reflective compositions; participating in a cross-cultural collaborative project Virtual Migrants; and touring with theatre company Pif-Paf.
Whilst studying at the University of Sheffield Kate has led numerous workshops with the university’s folk ensemble and undergraduate students, alongside teaching instrumental lessons in piano, guitar and banjo for 4 years. She has also led workshops at folk festivals and with refugee groups in Sheffield.
Alex Garden is a fiddle player with a unique sound born out of traditional Scottish and English styles. Growing up in Somerset, he was classically trained from childhood, providing the technical scope to explore other genres. His family roots lie in Scotland and he visits the North West Highlands every year, immersing himself in the landscape and traditional music of the area.
A music degree at the University of Southampton provided the opportunity to be taught by internationally renowned fiddle player John Dipper and to hone skills in composition, production and live sound. Alex’s other projects include an unusual fiddle and vibraphone duo with Harriet Riley, arranging his compositions in a jazz-folk fusion style and working with singer-songwriter Ellie Gowers, accompanying her songs on fiddle and octave fiddle.
He also takes part in collaboration projects such as with a ambient/electronic producer Barnaby Carter’s LP ‘While It Still Blooms’ and works as a ceilidh musician for multiple bands.
Other courses on the HYF Programme
HYF – Intro (12-16yrs) is one of 4 courses we run for young people each year at Halsway.
HYF Junior is a great way for younger children (8-12) to have fun with folk music;
HYF Intermediate (this course) (12-18) includes performance opportunities at Sidmouth FolkWeek;
HYF Advanced (16+) is an opportunity for musicians and singers considering folk as a higher education or career option to work in greater depth.