Now an established part of the festival fringe, at Centre 70, right next to the main Showground, will be packed with all manner of workshops on Saturday and Sunday. You’re welcome to come and try your hand at bell ringing, Irish drum, spoons, fiddle, stringed instruments and choirs. There’ll be something here for everyone, and all ages are welcome.

This year there will be no advance booking – just turn up on the day. We’re trying to recoup some of the costs, so we’ll be charging a very reasonable £5.00 for each hour-and-a-half workshop. Please bring the cash with you.


Workshop Showcase – Main Stage, Sunday 1.45pm

The Workshop participants will be invited to go on the BunkFest Main Stage on Sunday afternoon to perform a couple of tune and a couple of songs together. These will be presented in the workshops and at the Sunday lunchtime rehearsal. Don’t panic – we’re not asking for a solo! As far as possible, we’ll join all the groups together for the 30 minute slot we have on the stage.

The Workshops and Workshop Showcase are under the direction of Jon Bennett (07914 79 5823) who’ll be on-site all weekend. If you have any questions, come and find him.

Event Photography

If you’re a keen photographer, we need pictures of the Bunkfest! You can either just send them to or come along at 10am Saturday morning to join other enthusiasts and work out a schedule between you. This is a self-administered workshop!

Introducing The Tutors

Caroline Watsham Musical Saw

Wow ! Betcha you’ve never done this! An introduction to the musical saw - an instrument which was hugely popular in the days of Music Hall and Variety and which is now enjoying something of a resurgence all around the world. Caroline will show participants how to get their first notes from an ordinary woodwork saw (with safely blunted teeth!) and aim to get them all playing a simple tune. Saws and bows provided.

Dave & Mandy TownsendAmerican Shape Note Singing

Dave, of the Melstock Band, directs the Oxfordshire Village Band and has recently published a new volume of Oxfordshire Tunes, some of which he’ll introduce at the workshop. All instruments welcome. With Mandy, he’ll also run a workshop on American Shape-Note Singing

Gay & Alan CooperHandbells

Here’s something unusual – handbells. They were semi-finalists on Britain’s Got Talent. They have performed and taught around the world, from Canada and USA to Japan and Korea. Come and ring some bells with some of the country’s finest exponents of the art.

Geoff Leaver Intermediate Mandolin

The workshop is aimed at improving mandolin players. Geoff will help you look at some of the techniques to improve playing and gain confidence and will try out some tunes written in parts. A knowledge of reading from tablature and/or musical notation will be helpful, as well as some knowledge of basic chords.

Jo MaySpoons

All you need is a sense of rhythm and a cutlery draw! Jo will provide the spoons for the session – come and try your hand! All ages welcome. Jo is half of the duo Against the Grain. An experienced percussion teacher and workshop leader, she has a passion for West African and Afro-Cuban music as well as folk music from Europe and the British Isles.

Jon BennettWhistle, Ukulele and Blues Guitar

Jon Bennett is a music teacher and performer (Moonrakers). Three times a year he organises a residential weekend Folk Orchestra at Benslow Music and Halsway Manor. For the Whistle Workshop, please bring a high D whistle – we’ll work through some techniques and decorations of well-known tunes (music provided). For the Ukulele Workshop please bring your own instrument – all standards welcome. Jon has instruction videos and much more at his web site. For Blues Guitar, bring your own instrument.

Liz van SantenAll Instruments

Liz plays folk, blues and rock, and is a regular tutor at Benslow Music where (with Jon Bennett) she runs a Folk Orchestra twice a year. She plays fiddle in a number of established groups around the Oxfordshire folk circuit, including Moonrakers with whom she’ll be in concert over the weekend. Her workshop is suitable for all instruments, with tunes played s-l-o-w-l-y so you can learn them.

Norman Guiver Playing By Ear

Only read sheet music? Classically trained? Think those that play by ear have some special gift? Want to jam with others? Whatever your instrument, bring it along and at the end of the session you will have learned to play a beautiful tune or two, with your eyes closed

Oxford Fiddle GroupFiddle

As well as tune players of all standards, strummers can also come along and join some of Oxford’s finest musicians for a session of tunes played at a pace suitable to you.

Reg Troubshort 5-String Banjo

From the duo Troubshort & Turnipseed, we welcome back Reg to direct you in all things to do with the 5-string banjo.

Sarah Clark & Mark Bees Argentine Tango

Introduction to Argentine Tango. A workshop for complete beginners designed to show you the basics of this beautiful dance. No partner needed and no previous dance experience required. Mark and Sarah teach tango locally and believe if you can walk you can tango!

Short Drag RogerShanties, etc

“Hunks of testosterone singing a-capella harmonies without the use of a safety net.” What more can we say?! Come and join in with new and traditional Sea Shanties and Sea Songs.

The SkepticsA Cappella Singing

"The Skeptics", are a North Oxfordshire based male a cappella trio who have fast become known locally for their stunning harmonies and distinctive style. With their musical roots firmly planted in a variety of styles including folk, jazz and choral, they will lead you through close harmony singing. All ages welcome.