Festival and music service launches the Shropshire Youth Folk Ensemble

Shrewsbury Folk Festival has joined forces with Shropshire Music Service to launch a new group for young people who want to play traditional and acoustic music. 

The Shropshire Youth Folk Ensemble will be open to all musicians aged 10 to 18 and will kick off with a two-day workshop on May 26 and 27 at Oakmeadow School in Bayston Hill. 

The workshop, costing just £10, will run from 11am to 4pm and will end with a showcase for parents on the second day. 

The ensemble will develop into a long-term group that will work towards performing at Shrewsbury Folk Festival over August Bank Holiday weekend. It is a joint project between the festival and Shropshire Music Service, supported by Shropshire Council and Arts Council England. 

Shrewsbury Folk Festival Education Director Izzy MacLachlan, who is spearheading the project with Matthew Keegan-Phipps, former head of music at the town’s Belvidere School, said the ensemble was open to musicians of all levels. 

“This is a non auditioning ensemble that we hope will appeal to players of a variety of different instruments. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have any official music grades – we are looking for people with a passion for traditional or acoustic music and who would like to learn more about folk music. 

“Folk music is enjoying huge popularity at the moment, particularly with younger audiences and we are aiming to tap into some of that enthusiasm by creating this group for musicians. 

“The festival recognises the importance of keeping our traditions alive and thanks to the support of the Shropshire Music Service and our other partners, we hope the Shropshire Youth Folk Ensemble will go some way towards that.” 

One of the aims is to develop a mentoring scheme for young musicians with an established artist who can offer help and advice within the folk industry. 

To book a place at the workshop, please contact Shropshire Music Service on 01743 874145. For more information on the ensemble, go to www.syfe.org.uk.