The Bagpipe Society

Blowout 2021

As you will know, we had to cancel the Blowout in 2020 due to the corona virus. At the time, we were hopeful that the situation would have improved to something closer to normality by the end of the year – over optimistically as it turned out!

Nevertheless, we decided to work towards a slimmed down event and, to gauge likely support, I sent out a questionnaire. A sincere thank you to all who responded so quickly and your carefully considered and positive comments were most appreciated. The results were as follows: Definite yes: 25. Possible yes, with provisos, for example if the situation has improved sufficiently: 10. Definite no: 23

Combining this information with the increased infection rate and other uncertainties led us to reluctantly conclude that holding a “physical” Blowout in 2021 would not be feasible. However, we will again be presenting an online Blowout this year which is being organised by David Faulkner. He will be keeping you up to date via email, our website and Facebook.

Should you wish to contact him about any aspect of the event, please do so via

Finally, we fully intend to relaunch the Blowout Proper with a bang in 2022. The Polesworth Memorial Hall is booked and the Abbey is reserved for 10 -12 June 2022. Keep that weekend free!!

Best wishes and good health to you all.

Ian Clabburn

The Blowout Online 5th June. An outline plan.

Andrea Hotzko

Given the uncertainty of the times, the Bagpipe Society committee thought it would be a good idea to create an event that we know we can deliver. Hence the Blowout Online. Much like the real Blowout, the Blowout Online will need to be participatory, inclusive, informative, present the occasional challenge and be fun too! It will be self-catering. So, bring your own food and drink!

As a participant you will need to have access to a computer and speakers, headphones would be very useful too. A link to the event will be sent out in due course, which you will need to log onto at the appropriate time. Computer skills are optional, but not necessary!

At the moment it seems like the Blowout Online may be heading towards being a long afternoon of about 5 hours or so. This may seem like a long time to be online but with changes of pace and activity I’m sure it will be over in a flash!

So, the event will be a mixture of different things. We are hoping to have a workshop led by Andrea Hotzko. Andrea is a very experienced workshop leader and performer; she also organises the Speilkurs in Germany and happens to be fluent in at least three languages.

During the afternoon, there will be a presentation and illustrated talk with chance for questions, a ‘slow’ session to work through some tunes and play along with me, a section which we can call ‘News from Home’ where we can enjoy musical and spoken contributions (pre-organised/solicited) from Bagpipe Society members.

The main challenge of doing anything online is latency, which means that you cannot play together at the same time as other musicians. So, we will have a ‘Join the Band’ moment where invited musicians Nick Wyke and Becki Driscoll (two leading English musicians) will play guitar and fiddle for us. I will give them a repertoire of 10 or 15 tunes to play and we can join the band with them – the beauty is that we can hear them but they won’t be able to hear a single bagpipe! All the music needed for this and the other sessions will be posted online beforehand.

It promises to be a great afternoon. A space where we can see some familiar faces, do some playing, hear about what is going on in the piping world and hear some good music too.

The timings are likely to be from 2pm to 7pm or thereabouts and rest breaks will be programmed in.

More information will follow as the programme is filled out and finalised. Something to look forward to!

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