The workshop programme is yet to be finalised but here is a flavour of some of the workshops that you will find at the Pick Your Own Festival.  If you have any ideas for a workshop, or even if you’d like to run your own, please let us know in the comments section below.

Instrument Mechanics
Workshop leader: Andy Anderson
Instrument Mechanics takes an alternative approach to understanding how fretted instruments work and gives you a good grounding, whatever instrument you play, to enable you to know the why behind what you’re playing and to be able to use the logic confidently to play by ear and join in with others.

You can take it a step further by attending any or all of the banjo, guitar and mandolin workshops that will follow throughout the day.

About the workshop leader:
As well as playing with The Slippery Hill Boys, Andy teaches both banjo and guitar professionally. 

Getting the best out of your PA for Bluegrass and Acoustic musicians
Workshop leader: Tim Mundy
Objective: To help performers understand how different approaches to PA and sound engineering can enhance their performances and audience experience.
This will be a 90 minute session, with a mixture of practical, hands on experience and (just a little) theory of how live sound works. We will cover microphone technique, plugged in instruments, microphones for instruments, using a single microphone for a whole band, mixing and setting up a PA system properly. The workshop will be interactive, so bring your questions and issues! As a bonus, we are able to record live performances on our digital desk, so if festival guests would like to hear themselves as the audience do, we can record a short performance and play it back to you through the PA.

About the workshop leader
As well as playing mandolin and guitar with the Slippery Hill Boys, Tim has wide experience of running sound for a huge range of different acts, including bluegrass bands, folk music, rock bands and even a twenty-five piece jazz orchestra! His approach is very practical, and having been a university lecturer (before the music took over!), his presentation style is professional, lively and fun.

Websites and Online Marketing. Promoting your music or event.
Workshop leader: Geoff Berrow
There are numerous ways to create an online presence but with so much information on the ‘net  the idea that ‘build it and they will come’ no longer holds true.  This workshop will look at building  and creating websites that work including such topics as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO), web hosting, email and social media.

About the workshop leader:
Geoff is bass player with The Slippery Hill Boys and is a former teacher of Information Technology. He is currently a web developer and has helped create and develop sites for Oxford University’s Centre for the Environment, international conference organisers Perlex Associates and TV comedian Jim Bowen, and, of course,!

Where did the music come from? Some brief history of the origins of Bluegrass and Old-Time music

Workshop leader: Tim Mundy
Objective: To explore some of the roots of American music.
This will be a 90 minute session. The roots of American music go deep, and spread widely. Using musical examples and stories from the past, workshop participants will learn about the links and relationships between the Bluegrass, Old-Time and Americana music we hear today and the many different points of origin. We will look at the influences of Celtic music, African-American music and other European sources. We will also talk about some of the key figures in the development of the music. This will be an interactive workshop, and it will work best if participants are able to bring their own knowledge to share with the group in discussion. If you are a player, bring your instruments; we’ll be playing some tunes as well as talking history!

About the workshop leader:
Tim has a long-standing interest in the links between European and American music. He grew up steeped in Irish traditional tunes, and when he began playing American music the relationships between the two approaches led him to explore the roots and connections more deeply.

Introduction to Clawhammer banjo

Workshop leader: Peter McLuskie


Clawhammer is one of the original styles of banjo playing and the main component in American Old Time music. In this workshop we’ll be exploring the fundamental techniques that characterise the style, including the bum-diddy, drop thumbing and double thumbing. Bring a banjo and join in.

About the workshop leader:

Pete McLuskie started out on guitar which he abandoned 5 years ago when he fell for the banjo and American Old Time music. He plays with with blues and American folk band, McRooney.