A group of people exercising.

We offer a range of workshops and master classes at the Festival. The workshops last roughly an hour, and unless otherwise stated, are free.

2023 Workshops:

Bodhran with Rob Wheatley

Rob Wheatley is well respected as a Bodhran instructor and has been running bodhran workshops for a number of years at Towersey Festival. He takes care to ensure people build skills gradually and pitches his workshops at a level people find rewarding.

A man wearing Indian dress
Join us for some Bhangra!

Bhangra Dance Workshop

Dance is a big part of Indian festivals and celebrations and Bhangra is an energetic dance which originated with Punjab farmers as a cultural and communal celebration.
The workshop is led by Avtar who is from the Punjab region of India. He grew up listening to Bhangra music legends and watching iconic Bollywood films and runs Indian Cultural Workshops to share his knowledge of India and its rich culture.

Guitar Masterclass with Tim Edey

This masterclass is pitched at competent guitarists looking to add some flair and pizzazz to their playing. Tim’s enthusiasm for the guitar is infectious. He is a gifted, virtuoso player whose talent spans a wide range of styles and he has been teaching and running masterclasses for many years. This is a rare opportunity to spend time in the company of someone who is regarded as one of the best guitarists playing today.

Sing in a Choir with Issy Emeney

This workshop was so successful last year we decided to run it again. Issy is a multitalented musician, artist and author and a highly acclaimed melodeon player. She is a great teacher and leads and arranges music for the acclaimed Mendip Folk Choir.

Border Morris Workshop with Beltane

Think Morris dancing is all bells and hankies and tea with the vicar? Think again. Welcome to the dark side of Folk. Beltane are feral, some say crazy and Border Morris is fiery. It uses sticks. Expect a lively workshop.

Circle Dance Workshop

Dancing in a circle, to the exciting rhythms and sounds of the folk music of Eastern Europe and other parts of the world. It is open to all – no experience is necessary as all the dances are taught first. You don’t need a partner, and some dances are fun and lively, others are gentler. The music is played live on accordion, fiddle, guitar and percussion – led by Bob Minney and friends who perform regularly at circle dance festivals.

Maypole Dancing with Alison Rowley

Alison Rowley lives and breathes folk music and dance, respected both for her teaching and playing. She teaches Maypole dancing across the south west and we thought it would be brilliant to bring her and her Maypole dancing to Priddy. Children, mums, dads… in fact anyone can join in. The aim is to have fun and hopefully weave some pretty patterns on the pole. Jenny Toller will be playing violin to get the feet in time (three sessions,  times above).

Mendip Dance Party

SomerStep were formed to keep the tradition of step dancing alive on Mendip. Join SomerStep for some social dances, and at the same time learn some Mendip step dancing to add to these dances. The group will also teach a Handkerchief step dance related to a broom dance.

Fiddle with Bryony Griffith

Bryony will be appearing on the main Swildons stage as well as running this workshop. She is a huge talent, a powerful performer of English dance tunes and has recently been appointed senior lecturer in vocals and fiddle on the new Folk Music Degree at the Leeds Conservatoire.

Cotswold Morris Workshop with Great Western Morris

Cotswold Morris is danced in the villages on the uplands of Gloucestershire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. The teams consist of six dancers and a musician, and often a fool or animal character. The dancers wear bells, and hold hankies or sticks. Learn to dance Cotswold Morris with Great Western, in their own inimitable style, from the ’traditions’ of Fieldtown and Bampton from Oxfordshire.

Play in a band with the Somerset Russets

In the spirit of the village bands of old, The Somerset Russets play arrangements of both dance and sacred music from Britain and further afield on strings, winds and squeezy things.

Living musical traditions don’t stand still.  They are regularly refreshed by the appearance of new tunes.  Join the Somerset Russets to play some music by modern composers, some familiar and some less well known, arranged for a village band.

The ability to sight-read is an advantage. (Bring a music stand if you have one but it’s not essential.) Ear players welcome to pick up the tunes “on the fly”.

Children’s Festival

We’ve got lots of things for children and families to do too! Our Children’s Festival programme features a wide range of activities for families of all ages. Come and listen to stories, or join us for music and dance and relax in the beautiful surroundings of Priddy.