Workshops 2023 at Wessex Folk Festival

Whether you’ve always hankered after a taste of step clog or yearn to learn picking techniques on your guitar, then the Wessex Folk Festival 2023 workshop programme offers opportunities for you to learn new skills or develop your abilities with talented teachers in a secure environment.  

Sessions will be held in the Hope United Reform Church on Saturday and Sunday.  See the programme for details and times.  

These workshops are run by teachers who are donating their time to the festival.  There is no entry fee, but please give a donation on arrival at the door.

Download the Festival Programme for Details Here

Saturday 3rd June

French Bal with Confluence and Steve Earwicker. 

Join us for a traditional French Bal with the wonderful music of Confluence – Gill Redmond & Alasdair Paton. Before the Bal Steve Earwicker will be teaching French Dances including bourrees, schottisches, mazurkas and more – so no need to have done any before! We run the EuroBal Wessex dances at Ibsley in the New Forest and help at the Dorchester EuroBal. We have run workshops at Chippenham Folk Festival, Bridport Folk Festival and Evesham May Heydays as well as performing across the South West.

Steve Earwicker

Clog Dancing with Helen Earwicker.

Your chance to see what clog dance (stepping, not Morris in clogs!) is all about!

No experience needed, we will be looking at the basics of what step clog dance is and learning some simple waltz steps. Don’t worry if you don’t have clogs, but hard-soled shoes are needed, trainers or others that stick to the ground really don’t work…

Notes will be available and if anyone wants to learn more and is in the Wareham area, we have a small group there (Dorstep Clog) on some Sunday evenings in the autumn and winter months.

Helen Earwicker

Helen has been clog dancing since 1983, having joined Greenwood Clog in Nottingham. She danced with them until 2006, when she moved to Dorset. Over the years, as well as dancing at events in the East Midlands area and on trips to France, she attended various workshops etc. More recently, in around 2009 she started a group learning Stepclog in Wareham, called Dorstep Clog. They have learnt a variety of steps including the waltz that will be taught in the workshop.

‘Fling Up Thy Heels!’ with Tim and Angela Laycock. 

A celebration in words and music of country dancing in Dorset.

Angela and Tim Laycock present a specially compiled entertainment of local poetry, prose and live traditional dance music from Dorset. Tunes from the repertoire of Benjamin Rose of Bechalwell, Richard Luckham from Broadwey, and the Hardy manuscripts from Bockhampton.

Wonderful descriptions of social dancing in Dorset from Thomas Hardy, William Barnes and other local writers interspersed with toe-tapping melodies- and we might even have a go at a dance to one of them!

Angela Laycock calls regularly with Tatterdemalion, The Hambledon Hopstep Band and Up and Running, and has a particular interest in Dorset dances.

Tim Laycock is a folk singer, concertina player and storyteller, and the artistic director of the New Hardy Players.

Sunday 4th June

Reg Meuross leading a songwriting workshop. 

Award-winning Reg Meuross was introduced onto the stage of the Albert Hall by Mike Harding as ‘one of the finest singer-songwriters this country has produced’. 

Reg Meuross

With 14 solo albums to his name, Reg is a true modern troubadour, representing contemporary English folk writing at its best while captivating audiences with his beautiful tenor voice and a breadth and depth of material that is unparalleled in contemporary folk. Accompanying himself on his ‘44 Martin six-string guitar, harmonica, tenor guitar, banjo and dulcimer, Reg produces music that has an unrivalled power to reach and move the listener. 

His songs tell stories that need to be told, relating struggles that need to be known, injustice that needs to be uncovered and social conscience that needs to be celebrated. In April this year, Somerset-based Reg releases a new song cycle, Stolen From God, focusing on the transatlantic slave trade and uncovering its hidden history from a South West England perspective. Also due for release later this year is Fire & Dust, a song cycle that delves into the life story of Woody Guthrie. 

Reg will be performing on the festival’s main stage on Saturday and Sunday and will also be leading a song writing workshop.

Guitar with John Buckle. 

Alternative Tunings for the singer songwriter, folk guitarist wishing to expand his sound palette, with easy arrangements and how to progress through the many tunings available without getting lost.  There will be lots of space for questions and answers with advice on right hand-picking techniques and quick tuning tips, also a section on jigs and reels etc and how to play them.

John Buckle

John has many years of experience in guitar playing throughout the south west of England, in semi-pro bands covering, Rock, Blues, Soul, Country, Folk.  Leader or musical director for top cover and original bands, as well taking part in recording projects. He has taught guitar for about thirty years.

John moved to Dorset three years ago and has been working with the Charlie Cole Band, Leverstock and under his own name at a number of festivals and open mic nights, as well as depping for other bands.

Primarily currently working as an original songwriter guitarist in many genres utilising altered tunings and standard, and occasionally on mandolin and banjo.

Begin to play spoons with Graham Winter. 

Long-time supporter of Wessex Folk Festival and all things Weymouth, Graham is a local folk enthusiast, former Frome Valley Morris dancer and self-taught spoons player.  

This is an hour-long spoons workshop for beginners only.  Bring your own spoons – dessert spoons recommended (no wooden spoons!)

Foraging with Paul George Burkhardt. 

Take a stroll around the beautiful Nothe Gardens, just a few minutes’ walk from the Festival site with internationally renowned forager Paul George Burkhardt.  Learn about the amazing properties and deliciousness of some of the plants that we walk past every day.

He will be taking trips from Hope Church on Sunday 4th June at 11am/1pm/3pm and finally at 5pm!

This workshop is £5 per person.  Begins from outside Hope Church.