The story so far…
In 2015, bluegrass band The Slippery Hill Boys, had the idea of staging a bluegrass event at Glebe Farm, a venue at which they had played many times. The ‘Pickyourown’ bluegrass event was a great success but sadly the band disbanded the following year. However, guitarist and banjo player with the band, Andy Anderson decided to continue to promote an event at Glebe farm.
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.
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.
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.
In 2018 the event took off under its new name and was a great success. Once again, lessons learned were applied to the 2019 event.
In 2019 stage lighting was much improved and we had two new dedicated hard cover picking areas.
2020 Well… we all know what happened then.
2021 saw the return of the music camp with Covid restrictions in place. In spite of this and appalling weather, the event was a sellout and a huge success. At the end of the event, Andy Anderson, who had done so much to contribute to the ongoing success of the venture announced that, due to ill health, this would be the last music camp he would organise. Sadly, Andy passed away in June 2022. He was a great friend and colleague and will be very sadly missed.
First music camp without Andy.
Thanks to Mark Bailey and Rob Lomas of Glebe Farm the event continued and after Andy’s funeral a new team was formed to steward and manage the event. Though numbers were understandably down a little the band camp lived up to expectations with visitors praising the friendliness, the open mic and workshop sessions and the steward volunteers.
Another first – this event was totally organised by last year’s steward team!
Left to right:
Geoff Berrow, Jane Howie, Alison Berrow, Helen Carr, Chris Pritchett.
(foreground, Blossom, the dog, background, alpacas)
Not in the photo, Jeff Connor, Wes Carr.
Also grateful thanks to our other stewards Jackie, Lilian, Allison, Richard, Andy and Tim