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Spring Festival
The Stables, Milton Keynes, Bucks, UK

Saturday - May 8th, 2010
10am - 11pm

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Last year's Spring Festival 2009

A Day and Evening of Playing and Learning

The 2010 Spring Festival will be held at The Stables, Stockwell Lane, Wavendon, Milton Keynes MK17 8LU on May 8th 2010. It is being organised by the London Harmonica Group and will be starting at 10am and finishing at 11pm. Workshops are aimed at Chromatic and Diatonic players of intermediate level and upward. There is a list of local B&Bs and hotels at the bottom of this page.

Directions - Click here for directions to The Stables.

You can find details and times for travel by bus, train, coach, ferry or underground by visiting The Traveline web site.

The Stables: This large, modern and professional venue (just off the M1) gives us the opportunity to run a variety of workshops for chromatic and diatonic players and bring in a band for a jam session in the evening.

The workshops will include:

  • Will Greener - Grooves every harp player should know - For intermediate level and above. Bring a diatonic harmonica in A, plus
    Getting more colour in your playing: all levels welcome, C diatonic. For all levels. Will guides you through ways to use your throat, mouth and hands to bring more variety to your playing and make you think again about how your tone can enrich your music. Bring a diatonic harmonica in C.
  • Richard Taylor - Playing it straight: first position blues and top end playing
    Richard promises something for players of all levels, especially those hoping to break their dependency on second position. You may wish to prepare for this workshop by listening to ‘Every Day I Have the Blues’ by Paul Lamb, ‘Bright Lights, Big City’ (Jimmy Reed), ‘Home Run Hitter’ (Jerry Portnoy), and ‘Trust my Baby’ (Sonny Boy Williamson). Bring diatonic harmonicas in C, A and G (and D), if you’ve got them, but you will be very welcome if you have any of these.
  • James Aldcroft - Tongue blocking. This workshop will get you started or move you on with this essential technique. Bring a diatonic harmonica in C.
  • Joff Watkins - Getting Started with the Blues (C harp).
    For beginners. Joff will give you a practical foundation in riffs, techniques and theory to make you a more confident blues player.Bring a diatonic harmonica in C.
  • Con O'Neill - Chromatic for diatonic players.
    You bought one, you had a go, now dig it out and take another look. By the end of this workshop you will be able to play your chromatic in Dm amd Ebm, and you will understand the basic note layout of this instrument: some practical stuff for now, a foundation for your progress later.Bring a chromatic harmonica in C.
See below for the workshop timings.

The venue has a bar, which will be open from lunchtime, and a large and comfortable reception and bar area. Light lunches (sandwiches etc) will be available, but people wishing to stay for dinner should book well in advance at the popular Café in2 Restaurant.

The Price: the full days activities cost £16 for NHL members and £26 for non-members.
Click here for The Stables web page for the festival

NHL Membership: you can join the NHL here.

Tickets: tickets are on sale now from the Stables Booking Office web site. NHL members should book their places promptly as only 80 are available. The Stables has been running harmonica events for several years, so we can expect competition for tickets from non-NHL folk.

Anticipated Timetable

  • Registration: 10-10.15am
  • Workshops: Two workshops run at the same time.
    • 10.15-11.30am - Joff Watkins - Getting Started with the Blues (C harp).
    • 10.15-11.30am - Con O'Neill - Chromatic for diatonic players
    • 11.45-1.00pm - Will Greener - Grooves every harp player should know. Bring a diatonic harmonica in A.
    • 11.45-1.00pm - James Aldcroft - - Tongue blocking. Bring a diatonic harmonica in C.
  • Lunch: 1-1.45pm - Sandwiches, panini and hot and cold bevearges available from the bar.
  • Workshops: Two workshops at the same time.
    • 2:00 to 3.30pm - Will Greener - Getting more colour in your playing. All levels welcome, C diatonic.
    • 2:00 to 3.30pm - Richard Taylor - Playing it straight. First position blues and top end playing.
    • 4:00 to 4:30pm - Con O’Neill: Playing with the Band, working on ‘Evil’ and ‘I’m a Man’, A and C harmonicas.
    • 4:30 to 5:00pm - Joff Watkins: Playing with the Band, two tunes, tbc.
  • Dinner: The restaurant will be open from 6:00 to 8:00pm
  • Evening Jam/Gig: Giles Hedley band - Doors Open approx 8.30 - End: 11pm

Tickets for events at The Stables can be booked over the phone, by email or fax, or in person at the Box Office, before and on the day.

This information is from the Stables Booking Office web site

  • By phone: 01908 280800

  • By email:
  • By fax: 01908 280825
  • In person: The Stables Box Office. Opening hours: The Box Office is open from Monday to Saturday from 10am-6pm (open later on show nights). On Sundays the opening hours are from 5pm-8pm on show nights only.
  • Handling charge: With the exception of in person bookings, all bookings are subject to a handling charge of £2.50 which includes postage.

Local accomodation: click here for a list of local B&Bs and small hotels.

Contact person for queries or further information is Con O'Neill.

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