Glebe Farm Bluegrass & Beyond Music Camp

How we got here

Welcome to the Glebe Farm Bluegrass & Beyond Music Camp 2018 website.

The 2016 Glebe Farm String Pickers’ Weekend proved beyond doubt that close harmony works not only in singing but more importantly, in the true Bluegrass community spirit. Mutual support was the order of the day.  Those who knew more than others were happy to share their musical secrets by volunteering as workshop leaders.  Our evening entertainment was provided by a splendid array of scratch bands in front of a full house. The open mic afternoon was also a great success – particularly because everyone stayed to support the performers.  As the open mic combinations and the scratch bands were pulled together, new friendships were forged and so the essence of Bluegrass lives on.

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In 2017, the format for this event   (and name….The Glebe Farm Bluegrass & Old Time Music Camp) changed slightly to better accommodate the clear desire to learn as well as play that came across so loud and clear in 2016…… and so, it became a self-help Pickin’ and Learnin’ Camp in equal measure where like-minded musicians of all ages and levels of expertise have the opportunity to come together in the heart of the beautiful Cheshire countryside to share the joy of music.  It was a great success.  Thanks to Kevin Shannon for the excellent review in the Autumn British Bluegrass News:

“As many of us have noticed, traditional music festivals are suffering financially and many long-standing ones have now ceased. Such a pity when there are plenty of players & singers who love getting together and enjoy the jamming opportunities of festivals.

 Fortunately, the “picking” aspect is able to thrive as a result of newly established “Picking Weekends”. On a small scale these are more straightforward to organize, don’t have the expense/commitment of Band Fees, don’t always need complex sound systems and require only 1/200 people to attend to ensure the minimal costs are covered.

 Established amongst these is “Glebe Farm Picking Weekend” which has been held for a few years in the quaint, rural location of Astbury, Nr Congleton, Cheshire. Based at a real farm, housing a petting area, it has been developed to include concessions, retail units, farm shop and restaurant. It is an ideal base for campers and caravanners to spend a musical weekend.

 The Weekend is run by multi-instrumentalist and music teacher, Andy Anderson who is keen to ensure there are opportunities for self-development (with several instrument workshops) musical collaboration (with a scratch-band concert) and general performance (with an open-mic concert)

This year the event, held 10-13th August was very well-attended, had decent weather and a well-constructed, sizeable marquee (housing a great bar !!) that allowed plenty of ‘jam-time’ as well as well-attended workshops including harmony singing , expertly run by Roger Jackson with over 50 participants.

 The concerts benefitted from Andy’s attention to detail with the small but effective sound system and there were plenty of ‘first-timers’ on stage who will have benefitted immensely from the experience

………. and they’ll be back for more next year !

 Andy is happy with the size and scale of the Weekend and does not want it to grow too big and lose it’s identity and unique features. So my message to you is book early next year because the limited tickets will sell-out quickly and you don’t want to miss this event !!” 

Kevin Shannon   –  Helsby Bluegrass Club

 

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One of the objectives was to bring together Bluegrass and Old Time in the hope that the two would meet in the middle somewhere so that we could all learn something about the nuances and etiquette of both. It didn’t really work out that way because the Old Time element failed to materialise.  However, what did become apparent was that there is a growing recognition and acceptance of certain styles of string picker music  – such as Western Swing, ‘Country Bluegrass’ ….and there is even a Jazz element that seems to rear its head from time to time in the darker corners  – that hitherto have been spurned by the more purist elements of the Bluegrass community.

In light of this, to broaden the spectrum a tad, the 2018 event has been renamed ‘The Glebe Farm Bluegrass & Beyond Music Camp.  This is definitely the last name change!

The venue

Glebe Farm is set in the beautiful village of Astbury on the outskirts of Congleton, Cheshire. In the backdrop is the historic church of Astbury St Mary’s. The farm takes its name from medieval times where a Glebe was land used to support a parish priest.

In 2010 Glebe Farm Shop opened its doors selling home grown and local produce. The coffee shop followed shortly afterwards. The farm continues to expand and recent additions include a Butchers shop, children’s petting area and playground, retail units (yoga, dog grooming, hairdresser and fresh fish counter to name but a few) and tractor rides.

At Glebe Farm there is something for everyone – whether it is to stock up on supplies, enjoy a coffee and a tasty treat, (great English breakfasts by the way!) feed the animals, get some retail therapy or to just enjoy a wander if you need a break from the music.

For those who are thinking of bringing dogs there is a public footpath that runs right through the site, leading way out over the cheshire countryside, providing a convenient, pleasant  and safe way to exercise your dog (and you of course!).  There are no restrictions regarding dogs other than a requirement to respect the rules of common courtesy and care around farm livestock.

Check out this video to get an idea of the layout of the site and also what goes on during the music camp.

Check out the Glebe Farm Website here:

http://www.glebefarmastbury.co.uk

The campsite 

The campsite is located in a large field a two minute walk from the Glebe Farm complex. It has a small convex curve in the middle with a slight slope from top to bottom, so it is advisable to bring levellers etc just in case.  When you find your spot please leave space for others. Apart from that, there is no control over where you set up other than what is available when you get there.

There is a fancy toilet block , fresh water supply and a chemical waste disposal point. Limited hot shower facilities and toilets are available in the Glebe Farm complex.

There are currently no hook-ups available.

The main marquee  will be set up on the smaller field opposite the main camping field. This will  create a lot more space for camping on the main field. It will sport a fully equipped real ale bar and will be open for business from 2pm on Thursday 9th August.  New for 2018, Hot BBQ style food will be available later in the evening on Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

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Harnessing the power of the picker

 

Harnessing the Power of the Pickers