The Folk Roots List, Folk music, roots, acoustic and americana news and gigs

FRL News

Dartington Music Summer School & Festival returns

Dartington Music Summer School & Festival returns with an exciting folk offering 24th July – 21st August 2021, Dartington Hall, Devon

Dartington Music

Since 1953, the Dartington Trust has been bringing musicians together every year for a unique event to learn, perform, collaborate, grow, and experience the joy of music. After an enforced break in 2020, the Music Summer School & Festival returns in July for a true celebration of all things musical.

Over four weeks, musicians of all abilities are invited to learn in small groups from a selection of the very best professionals creating and performing music today. Each week is split into different genres; early music, baroque and folk, chamber music and jazz and experimental.

This year sees the launch of a special partnership with folk promoters The Nest Collective. Singer and composer Ben See will be leading The Nest Collective’s popular Fire Choir, allowing people to explore communal singing with political empowerment and protest at its heart and encouraging participants to discover their voice and sing for change. Ben will also be leading a week-long introduction to vocal improvisation.

Other folk highlights for week two (31st July – 7th August) include Leveret’s Rob Harbron, a uniquely skilled concertina player, renowned for his wizardry with the instrument. Rob is joining the Summer School for the first time and leading a folk ensemble course with fiddle and viola player Miranda Rutter. Audiences will also be treated to a very special performance from Leveret which includes Sam Sweeney and Andy Cutting.

Dartington regular Alexis Bennet will be leading the Fiddle Choir and also offering a new course exploring 18th century composers inspired by folk music.

A new addition to this week is the Summer School’s first ever short course for families – Sound Creative’s Big & Small Music Lab. Led by cellist and music creator Tara Franks, parents and children will learn folk songs from around the world and collaborate to create new music inspired by the lush green surroundings of Dartington.

2021 also sees the launch of a daily Open Space session, for participants to rest, explore the grounds and try out new workshops. Every week also features a Future Sounds course aimed at opening up the conversation about music, including courses in writing and radio, and Listening Club sessions.

Sara Mohr-Pietsch was announced as Artistic Director in 2019, adding to her significant career as a BBC Radio 3 broadcaster and writer. Her re-instated programme will open up the worlds of classical, folk, jazz and experimental music to a wider audience than ever, with a wide array of courses and workshops on offer for all ages and abilities, taught by an impressive line-up of international performers, composers and writers.

Sara commented: “After the last year, it feel particularly special to be bringing this year’s Summer School and Festival to life. We need music more than ever, and I am excited to welcome an incredible line-up of artists to teach and perform, all of whom bring great integrity and vitality to their work. I am extremely proud of the programme we have put together, including new elements such as Open Space and Future Sounds, and the measures we have put in place to make the very most of outdoor singing and playing in the beautiful grounds of Dartington Hall. I look forward to sharing a thrilling summer of music with all.”

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, course spaces and accommodation capacities are limited. Please book and confirm choices early in order to avoid disappointment. In the event that COVID-19 restrictions prevent a participant’s attendance, or force the festival to postpone, full refunds will be offered. Full booking terms and conditions can be found on the Dartington website.

Courses and Concerts Passes are currently available to book through the Dartington website at Enquiries can also be made by telephone on +44 (0)1803 847080, between 10am – 4pm each Wednesday and Friday. Availability of Individual Course Passes and Day Observer Passes will be confirmed at a later date. The full concert programme will be announced in May 2021 along with ticketing details.