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Sat, 16 Nov


Worplesdon Memorial Hall, Perry Hill, Worplesdon, Guildford GU3 3RF, UK

Big Balfolk Workshop Weekend

Playing for balfolk dancing with Andy Cutting, Jo Freya and Dave Shepherd

Big Balfolk Workshop Weekend
Big Balfolk Workshop Weekend

Time & Location

16 Nov 2024, 10:00 GMT – 17 Nov 2024, 16:00 GMT

Worplesdon Memorial Hall, Perry Hill, Worplesdon, Guildford GU3 3RF, UK

About the event

Andy Cutting, Jo Freya and Dave Shepherd are hugely talented and influential musicians and teachers. They are widely recognised for inspiring musicians and dancers across Europe over the past few decades with their beautiful compositions, outstanding musicianship and love of European music and dance. As our tutors for this special European music workshop weekend, they will be sharing their knowledge of playing for balfolk dancing.

Workshop topics and activities

  • Learn about groove, tempo, technique and style of playing for balfolk dancing.
  • Learn how to play the tunes and dance the dances that go with them.
  • A combination of mixed instruments and instrument-specific sessions so that participants can work with all three tutors.
  • A Saturday evening bal with our tutors and special guests Shivelight. Participants will have the opportunity to play in ensembles for dancers during the evening.

The workshops are designed for players of any acoustic musical instrument. You should have a good basic knowledge of how to play your instrument(s) - e.g. understanding of basic scales. The workshop sessions will involve working by ear, some music will be provided.

About the tutors

  • Andy Cutting - Andy has been a consistent musical force since he came swiftly to prominence with the innovative Blowzabella. As well as a thorough grounding in the English tradition, Andy’s influences extend way beyond these isles, particularly to the music of Central France and to the storming Quebecois tradition. As well as his ongoing work with Blowzabella, Andy currently tours with his trio Leveret and with Anglo-French acoustic dance band Topette. He is also working on a new duo with Belgian diatonic accordion player Anne Niepold.
  • Jo Freya - Jo’s background is rooted in the traditional folk music of England, having started playing and being in bands since her early teens. Many of the bands she is in have been major influencers on the development of UK folk music, including the legendary Blowzabella. Jo set up Freyja, a European band, featuring female instrumentalists and their music from different countries. She has also collaborated with Breton-British band Belen and Dutch band Maalstroom. Jo is currently Artistic Director of the National Youth Folk Ensemble. She has taught extensively in workshops and summer schools, with work including mixed instrument ensembles, one-to-one instrument tuition, singing solo and in harmony, dancing and more.
  • Dave Shepherd - Dave took up the fiddle when he was 12 after his family moved to London and played for morris and country dancing. Later Dave discovered the various European fiddle traditions which led him to see English music and dance in a different light. He is best known as the fiddler in Blowzabella and over the years has developed a distinctive style. Several of Dave’s compositions have become standards both here and in Europe. Dave is well known as a teacher of traditional dance and fiddle in the UK and abroad. As well as playing in Blowzabella he has played in a duo with Becky Price, currently plays with Belgian accordion player Simon Gielen, and more recently has begun researching the English dance tradition and formed a duo with diatonic accordionist Anna Pack to present dance workshops and play for dancing.


The weekend’s workshop sessions and the bal will be held at Worplesdon Memorial Hall, a popular village hall less than 3 miles from Guildford. It is an accessible venue with accessible toilet facilities and free parking close to the hall.


Tuition: For two days of workshops and Saturday evening bal with tutors and special guests Shivelight. Adult - £130, concession for under 25s - £104 (under 18s must be accompanied by a parent, guardian or responsible adult.)

Meals: We can provide lunch and dinner on Saturday and lunch on Sunday for £38 per person. Menus will be provided 6 weeks in advance of the event for you to book your meals.

Accommodation is not provided. Please book your own accommodation. There are options available to suit different budgets, including a small 4-star hotel across the road, a 3-star hotel less than 3 minutes’ walk from the workshop venue, plus B&Bs, guest houses, a Travelodge and Premier Inn within 10 minutes’ drive.

Book your place

Please click on the Tickets button to complete and submit your booking form. We will contact you by email with details of how to pay your deposit. A deposit of 50% of the tuition fee will reserve your place. The balance of the tuition fee, together with payment for meals, is requested by 5 October 2024 (6 weeks before the event starts).

Policy for Cancellations and Refunds

We are a small, non-profit organisation and early bookings are very much appreciated.

You can cancel before 5 October 2024 by emailing us and you will receive a refund of your deposit.

After 5 October, we will only be able to offer a refund if we are able to fill your place.

Contact us through our website or by email to

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