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Promoting the Bagpipe Revival since 1986

The Bagpipe Society

Blowout 2015

Friday 29th to Sunday 31st May 201.

This year’s Blowout will again be taking place at Polesworth, nr Tamworth. We have got an exciting and interesting programme lined up for this year – and it is still evolving! There will be updates as we get nearer to the event which will posted on the Bagpipe Society Facebook page or on the Blowout page on

  • Trio Matta Rouch
  • Balázs Istvánfi and András Németh
  • Jon Swayne and Becky Price (Bal)
  • Rohan Kriwaczek
  • Paul Martin
  • Chris Allen
  • Dave Rowlands
  • Andy Letcher
  • John Tos.


  • The Friday Tune competition!

Trio Matta Rouch

(Bal, workshops, concerts, Sat, Sun. Presentation, Sun.

Welcome to this talented trio of musicians and instrument makers, who have done so much to revive and sustain the music, traditions and instruments of the Occitan region of southern France.

Especially attracted by the cultures and traditions of the Pyrenees, these musicians will lead you to discover the particular sonorities of the clari, the samponha, the oboe from Couserans, the bodega and the boha from Landes of Gascony.

Pierre Rouch

Pierre is a maker of bagpipes, such as the bodega and oboes from the Pyrenees. Additionally, he is an “ambulant distiller of the fruits which my client collect.” Nice job! Enthused by traditional music, he has been playing with dou Matta/Rouch for ten years.

Robert Matta

A professional musician and maker of occitan bagpipes, Robert has been a leader in the revival and development of the southern French pipes, notably the samponha, the boha and the bohassa, his own development. Robert says “For forty years I have criss-crossed the roads of Occitany to play and show the bagpipes that originate in our regions. I was a member of the groups Freta Monilh and Trencavel from the 70’s until 2010.

Jonas Gimeno

An Aragonese musician living in Saragossa who plays percussion of the region in various groups, both French and Spanish.

Balázs Istvánfi and András Németh

(Presentation Sat, concerts Sat, Sun.

Balázs Istvánfi and András Németh formed their bagpipe and hurdy-gurdy duo in 2010, at the Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music Hungary, where they were both studying folk music. Balázs has been playing folk music since he was a child, and bagpipe-music for 20 years. He has also recorded three solo albums and contributed to others. He does not only play traditional bagpipe music, but also composes. He is also a bagpipe maker, for which he has won several awards. András was introduced to the hurdy-hurdy as a child,and studied at the Hungarian Liszt Ferenc Academy of Music, where he gained the first masters degree of music as a hurdy-gurdy player in the world. In 2007 he was given the state honour: Young Master of Folk Arts.

Their repertoire is a balance of folk music, adaptations, historical and contemporary music, and their own compositions. Aerochord is their first studio album.

Jon Swayne & Becky Price

(Bal, Sat)

Consummate musicians both, Jon (Blowzabella) and Becky (Boldwood) will be playing for the bal on the Saturday night. Both have recorded extensively, both individually and together, for their superb CD Love and a Bottle. This is a rare treat.

See their review on brevs/

Rohan Kriwaczek

(talk, Sat)

“The bagpipe as a musical instrument stripped of cultural baggage – a composer’s perspective”

Rohan gave an impressive and thought- provoking talk at the second International Bagpipe Conference. I immediately invited him to speak at the Blowout. Author, composer, musician and sound artist, he studied at the University of Sussex, the Royal Academy and Goldsmiths College. As a composer he has written numerous scores for TV, Radio and film, recorded over 50 albums and performed on three continents. His 2006 multi-media project An Incomplete History of the Art of Funerary Violin made headlines in the New York Times. His current project, The Saddest Bagpipes in the World has so far produced four albums and two pamphlets, with more planned for 2015.


Chris Allen - Hurdy-gurdy (Sat)

Chris will be leading the extended hurdy-gurdy workshop in the refectory* The tunes will be the Rond de St Vincent set, as on the Chiens Jaunes album, a three tune medley. Intermediate standard.

Robert Matta (Sat).

Robert will be introducing some dance tunes from his home region of South West France. Audio files are available, so you can familiarise yourself with the tune structures beforehand.

John Tose - Big Band (Sat).

John will be presenting a joint D & G pipes harmony workshop, with the aim of a performance in the Saturday concert. Sight reading will be necesary and remember to bring a music stand, especially if you want to take part in the concert.

Andy Letcher - Pipers’ Surgery (Sat, Sun.

There will be a “drop in” session for any beginner pipers who would like some assistance with any aspect of their piping – you only have to ask…

Paul Martin - tunes from the Borders (Sat).

Paul wil be introducing some tunes from North East England and their variations (G pipes)

Dave Rowlands - Irish tunes on the D pipes (Sun).

Dave says, “This will be a workshop in the full sense of the word. We will explore a tune together, looking at gracing and variation” All playing levels, readers preferred.


After a few years in exile, the Friday evening tune competition is returning. This year’s challenge is to perform any tune from stage or screen on the pipes, the more unexpected the better. There is a 3 minute rule and the judges retain the right to terminate performances if there is a risk of civil unrest. There may be a prize.

Makers’ Stall.

The following pipe makers will be exhibiting their wares and will be glad to help you draw up your wish list: Jon Swayne, Julian Goodacre, and Sean Jones. Whistle maker Phil Bleazy will also be in attendance.

“Swap Shop” - Second hand pipes, books, CD Stal.

This is the place to buy books, CDs, souvenir mugs and to display and sell your surplus pipes.

Blowout Menu

Vanessa (The Blowout’s official caterer) will again be providing all the meals for the weekend – quality, quantity and value for money. She will be short staffed this year, so please volunteer to help out with preparation, washing up etc whenever you can.

Please read: All meals must be booked and paid for in advance*. Kitchen facilities are tight and there is an upper limit to the number of meals we can provide. The cut off date for meal bookings is Saturday 23rd May. Although we will do our best, we cannot guarantee that any spare meals will be available on the day – so book in advance! See the website for menu details and all the practicalities.

Paying: There is a £5 reduction for current members who pay in advance.

We are also going ticketless! Print off your PayPal or email receipt if you require proof of purchase.

Please make our lives as stress free as possible by paying as early as you can. You can pay online by PayPal – just follow the link from the Blowout page on the website.

All ticket enquiries:

See you in May! Ian Clabburn