Welcome to the first Forest Of Dean Ukulele Retreat. We have planned an exciting, engaging and relaxing weekend of immersive learning. Set in the beautiful Forest of Dean, the ukulele retreat is based at the gorgeous Harts Barn Craft Centre against a backdrop of rolling hills, mill ponds and orchards. As well as an opportunity to get away from it all, you’ll learn ukulele like never before. With many hours of tutoring from some of the very best and most experienced tutors in the U.K. you’ll leave inspired with a wealth of new techniques and understanding. You’ll see how it’s done at a special teacher’s concert and get a chance to perform as a group at the student’s concert (as well as lots of open mic opportunities.) There will be time for lots of communal playing and, of course, hanging out with fellow players. On top of this we’ll have award winning food including wood fire pizzas and an ukulele picnic. Tutors include Phil Doleman, Samantha Muir, Peter Moss and Steven Sproat.
The retreat is spread over three days. We’ve purposely kept things relaxed on Friday night and have an earlier finish Sunday for those travelling.
Price is £175 per person. Booking in advance is essential on a first come first served basis.
Accommodation is not included but we have a list of many excellent hotels and B&Bs in the area. It really is a beautiful place to stay. Why not book a few more days and really explore the Forest of Dean and the Wye Valley? We’re also close to Regency Cheltenham and the Cotswolds. Scroll to the bottom of the page for a list of local hotels and B&Bs.
The price includes the food for the Saturday ukulele picnic. Please let us know if you have any dietary requirement. There will be hot food including BBQ and wood fired pizzas available to purchase Friday and Saturday evenings and food at the on site Tea Rooms throughout. There is a fully licensed bar on site.
Phil’s love of vintage blues, hokum, old-time, and jug band music shines through as he blows the dust off obscure old songs and gives new life to classics with his intricate picking and driving rhythms on both uke and banjo.
“some of the best music I’ve heard in a long time” Dan Phelps, Delta blues artist
“If you don’t know him already, you should! Playing, singing and stage presence are all top shelf.” Matthew Fox, American roots musician and songwriter
Phil has travelled all over the UK and to Europe and the US, performing and leading workshops at festivals, theatres, and clubs. He has appeared on several albums, performed on BBC radio and TV, taught over 1500 ukulele players, and shared stages with some of the world’s finest players.
He has performed live on various BBC regional radio stations, and has appeared on national BBC and ITV TV, Radio 4 and NDR TV (Germany).
Many will know Samantha Muir from her fantastic arrangements of classical and campenella style pieces for ukulele. As well as a wonderful arranger Samantha is a respected performer and teacher on the ukulele scene.
Peter is a professional, international Ukulele performer and workshop presenter, involved in playing ukulele for 45 years. His performances are quite unique covering many styles incorporating the ukulele, banjolele and vocal.
A respected teacher and performer, his music has gained him notoriety in the ukulele world and he has even appeared on BBC Television.
At the time of writing Peter has just returned from a brilliantly successful tour of Australia for the 3rd time in 12 months. He appeared for the second time at the Sunshine Coast Ukulele festival, alongside Sarah (Maisel) and Craig Chee and then travelled to Adelaide, Mt Gambier and concluded in Sydney. He has also appeared in Florida (3 times) on a tour of ukulele clubs from as far West as Pensacola to as far south as Ft Lauderdale.
Steven Sproat is a singer/songwriter, guitarist, ukulele exponent and bestselling author. His recording career began in the ‘80s and on his musical journey so far he has released 5 albums with several songs from those albums garnering airplay on BBC Radio 2, noteably by Aled Jones and Jeremy Vine.
In 2011 he featured in Frank Skinner’s BBC4 TV documentary about George Formby – Steven being one of the UK’s leading ukulele players – and in 2012 Steven peformed on ITV’s Alan Titchmarsh Show.
In a 40 year plus musical journey Steven has also played numerous festivals (including the New York, Dublin and Scotland Ukulele Festivals) as well as clubs and theatres across the UK including the prestigious and iconic London venues Ronnie Scotts (by invitation of The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain) and the Mean Fiddler. He has also supported Jools Holland and opened selected UK shows on Jools’s 2012 UK tour including The Edinburgh Jazz Festival.
And this multi-talented artist is a bestselling author of 4 ukulele tutor books published Worldwide by Music Sales. He has taken workshops in schools, colleges and universities in UK, Singapore, Dublin and New York and he has also taught ukulele to many celebrity clients including comic Harry Hill, TV presenter Nicky Campbell, renowned actor Sir Tom Courtenay and the afore mentioned Frank Skinner.
Welcome drinks in the courtyard and grounds. Open mic in the Apple Barn. A chance to get to know your fellow retreaters and relax. Why not sit in the orchard with a beer and strum your way through our songbook?
Morning: Rotating lessons with our guest tutors Phil Doleman, Samantha Muir, Peter Moss and Steven Sproat. Everyone will get a lesson with every tutor, each teaching a specific aspect of ukulele playing. We will rotate the lessons in very small groups so that you get full attention from our skilled tutors.
Lunch: At lunch there will be a Ukulele Picnic (food included – vegetarians catered for too.) Delicious food in a beautiful orchard setting. We’ll strum through some of the songs from our weekend songbook.
Afternoon: More intensive lessons with our expert tutors. Ask as many questions as you like.
Evening: After wood fired pizzas in the courtyard and drinks we’ll have our Teacher’s concert in the Apple Barn. This will be your chance to gain further inspiration and see how it is done by some of the best ukulele performers in the UK.
Morning: Tutor sessions coaching for a group performance. Here’s where things get really exciting. Each tutor will take a group through Sunday, coaching them through two pieces of ukulele music. You’ll learn a wealth of new skills and get to hone your playing with some of the most experienced tutors around.
Lunch: Free time. A chance to do some or your own exploring of the beautiful grounds and forest. A chance to really enjoy the beautiful surroundings. Or if you prefer to keep ukulele-ing why not sit by the beautiful millpond and practice what you learned in the morning.
Afternoon: Continued learning with your tutors.
Late afternoon/early evening: Students concert. Your chance to shine. Each tutor will join their group on stage to perform the pieces they have learned through the day. You’ll play live on stage in your group to a warm supportive audience alongside your tutor. How often can you say you’ve performed live on stage with one of the best ukulele players around? Don’t worry if you’re not feeling confident – there will be parts for all levels, you’ll perform in a group and we foster a warm supportive atmosphere at the retreat. It’s ok to go wrong! We all do!
List of local hotels and B&Bs
As well as many local B&Bs and local inns, the Uke Room at Harts Barn is also situated nearby to several towns and cities with an abundance of excellent accommodation including Ross-on-Wye, Monmouth, Gloucester and Cheltenham. Below is a list with a few local options, but many more can be found in these places.
Farmers Boy Inn
There will be a minibus service to and from the Farmers Boy Inn and the venue.
Yew Tree Inn
Littledean House Hotel
The Royal – Ross-on-Wye
The Chase – Ross-on-Wye