Festival Workshops

2018 Workshops

A key feature of the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival has always been the range of instrument, vocal and band Workshops conducted by some of the top artists in their field, who pass on their knowledge, skills, experience and heritage to a new generation of folk enthusiasts. We also have an excellent and exciting Kids Tent Programme. 

Don’t forget, all workshops on Saturday and Sunday of the Festival Weekend are included in the price of your Ticket.

We have a wide range of Bluegrass, Folk and Old-time Instrumental, Vocal and Band workshops to choose from over the Festival Weekend.

If you're interested in more in-depth workshops, take a look at our Old-Time Music School held on the 24th-26th October 2018. 

Old-Time Guitar primer with Doug Sharkey of the Blue Ridge Broadcasters
You know the chords but does your guitar playing have a groove? In this workshop we will look at how to put drive and energy into your playing and how to find the often elusive “pocket”. With both picking hand techniques and melodic bass runs, participants will learn how to make even the simplest tune more interesting and dynamic. We will also discuss how the guitar fits into the string band setting as well as duo and trio settings. Class is intended for intermediate players.

Old-time Banjo Tune-Up with Joseph Decosimo of the Blue Ridge Broadcasters
We'll consider tips and trips that will help you get a driving, old-school Old-time banjo sound in the context of string bands or fiddle accompaniment. Our workshop will reach back to the approaches of some classic players and string bands, considering what made those old performances so compelling. We'll explore some unexpectedly simple paths and techniques that can add depth and dimension to your playing. We’ll consider the right hand mechanics of playing Old-time banjo. We’ll also think about how to play supportive and complementary roles that will make you a better (and more sought after) player.

Harmonies with Tom & Jerry
Join Tom and Jerry as they help you find the sweet close harmonies reminiscent of the great duos of yesteryear. Think The Louvin Brothers and The Monroe Brothers.

Mandolin with John Reischman
In this workshop John Reischman will answer questions, demonstrate techniques, answer your questions and play some tunes.

Traditional songs from Asia & the Pacific with Anna Smyrk
Anna Smyrk has run choirs in Solomon Islands, Cambodia and Australia, picking up so many glorious folk songs along the way. Come and learn some traditional folk songs with beautiful harmonies from Asia and the Pacific.

Squareneck Dobro with James Church & Dan Musil
One of Australia's most in-demand Dobro players James Church, presents a discussion and demonstration of this fascinating instrument. Topics covered may include, right and left hand techniques, backing a vocalist, playing rhythm, approaching more intricate melodies, and points of consideration in improving tone. James will be joined by Dan Musil, a lap steel guitarist of exceptional ability who also plays the Dobro. Dan began playing the instrument after an accident prevented him from playing conventional guitar. He has a love of Appalachian and old-timey music and a passion for Celtic tunes.

Tommy Jarrell style with Appalachian Heaven Stringband
Learn to play an old – time Appalachian tune in the style of Tommy Jarrell and other Surry County players on fiddle and banjo. Learn a new tune and techniques, this will be an exercise in a regional style from West Carolina.

Festival Choir with John Flanagan
John Flanagan is an experienced choir leader. From contemporary songs to traditional Old-Time music, learn the sweet harmonies of the Appalachian Mountains. Join John and band members Liz Frencham and Paddy Montgomery on the main stage on Sunday to sing the songs learnt at choir practice on Saturday and Sunday mornings.

Accompanying a Singer with Guy Ghouse
As Guitarists we are often guilty of over playing. The old joke:
Q “how many guitarists does it take to change a light bulb?”
A “Ten, one to do it and 9 to stand there and say how they could have done it better”
As an accompanist, my role and those in similar situations, is to effectively support and enhance those we work with and for. My workshop is geared towards what NOT to play as much as it is towards what TO play. Specifically, chords, voicing and techniques used to accompany a singer. Open to beginners to advanced. It’s a hands on experience and Gina will join me so we can give live examples of how we do what we do in the context of serving the ’song’

Mandolin with Mike Compton
Monroe Style Workshop (Intermediate, but all levels welcome) the workshop focuses primarily on the mandolin style of the late Bill Monroe. The class will spend some time covering the suggested right hand usage. This topic cannot be overstressed, as it is the most difficult aspect of Monroe's music. A brief description of the preferred left hand technique will be introduced and will be followed with a section on the more obvious techniques/devices used in the ‘language’, tone variation, triplets, tremolos, downstrokes, slides, melody insinuation, rhythm as melody, tunings, etc. Tab/standard notation will be used in order that the class as a whole will be able to reproduce covered material. The workshop is geared toward intermediate level players interested in learning more specifically how to play the Monroe bluegrass mandolin style. All skill levels are welcome however. Efforts will be made to accommodate everyone and to answer every question as no question is considered "too simple". Students should come prepared to actively participate.

A closer look at the mandolin family with Charlie & Jensen
Charlie and Jensen present a workshop that will cover the history and origins of the Mandolin family. Covering mandolin, mandola and mando cello, they will offer playing examples, talk about different music and playing styles used on each instrument.

Appalachian Songs on Uke with Lucy Wise
Lucy will share her love of Appalachian songs on her ukulele, bring along your Uke and take home a song!