The Bagpipe Society

The Blowout 3, 3-5 June 2022

See the Blowout 2022 page for full info!

Olle Gällmo is a ‘riksspelman’ on Swedish bagpipes (Säckpipa) and well known for his work in playing and promoting the instrument, in Sweden and abroad. His comprehensive web site ( has been a great help and source of inspiration to Säckpipa players all over the world. Olle will give two workshops, one for Säckpipa in E/A, which will focus on Säckpipa-specific playing techniques, and one for conical half-closed bagpipes in G/C which will focus on the rhythmic peculiarities of Swedish traditional music." A few sackpipa sets will be available to borrow, thanks to Nicholas Konradsen.

Porembela Hailing, respectively, from Poland and the north-western Spanish region of Galicia, Michał Poręba and Gerardo Albela have, between the two of them, lived embedded in at least seven different cultures, speak seven different languages… and could well know seven thousand tunes! They also come from very different musical backgrounds, the first from a classical upbringing, the second from a tradition-based approach.

Together, they drink from all those experiences and mix all those differences to put together a musical experience that will take you from the roots of their different folklores. They will give a workshop for G Pipes covering Polish, Galician & Welsh tunes and a talk about the Gaita.

Fabrice Besson & Source: Fabrice is steeped in the culture and traditional music of Central France and has been playing pipes since the age of 11. He has always melded the traditional with the innovative and has been part of many ground-breaking duos and groups (Compagnie Besson, Besson-Jolivet, Bâtons de Quartiers amongst others). A tireless promoter of the Centre’s bagpipes, he has always developed contacts and encounters between instruments and cultures.

Source is: Mathilde Nicolaus, Lyric singer, Fabrice Besson, Cornemuse du centre and Léonore Grollemund, Cello. The trio play songs from the 19th to 20th centuries based on the theme ‘the stages of life’ and takes traditional repertoire which has been reworked by Fabrice. Fabrice will give a workshop on controlling the air pressure with precision - how to play bagpipes softly! Suitable for intermediate & advanced players (G pipes), strictly limited number of participants.

Quentin Budworth performs as a soloist and lead musician with world music band and festival favourites ‘Celtarabia’, historical musicians ‘The Grinnigogs’ and the deeply traditional ‘Hessle Ceilidh Band’. Thanks to a grant from the Arts Council in 2019 he studied contemporary hurdy-gurdy technique and folk music with some of the world’s best players from across Europe.

Researching and learning repertoire and technique from Iberian, Gallic, Scandinavian, Greek and Italian modal folk traditions. Quentin will be running workshops on Playford tunes for Hurdy-Gurdy

Dave Rowlands has combined his knowledge of dance with his love of European drone writing many tunes specifically for dancing. Dave has studied under some of the best pipers in Europe, including David Faulkner, Gunter Bauweraerts, Jon Swayne, Brian McNamara, and Judy Rockliffe and has played in a number of groups. He has published several collections of music from Ireland,

two on the Baroque period, and has a forthcoming work on Francois Couperin, harpsichordist to the Sun King. Dave’s workshop is looking at Couperin harpsichord duets adapted for bagpipes in D - European/grand cornemuse/Swayne style bagpipes, chromatic with 1 ½ octaves. Participants need to be able to read music. ADVANCED

Aisling O’Brien has been playing pipes since her teens, starting with Leicestershire smallpipes in D then adding border/Flemish pipes as well as Leicestershires in a variety of keys. She is particularly interested in English music, playing in harmony, and writing her own tunes. During 2021 Aisling started a project to write a bagpipe tune every month and record it in at least two parts. In this workshop we will talk about approaches to writing and arranging tunes for the pipes, and play some of the arrangements from this project. Suitable for pipes in G and D.

Terry Mann studied Early Woodwind Musical Instrument Technology at the London College of Furniture in the 1980s, but pursued careers as a musician and as an award-winning contemporary classical composer. Terry’s Piper’s **Surgery **is now a regular feature of the festival, the ‘pipers’ surgery’ is principally for players of Southern English Border Pipes, but open to all, especially beginners and those at an intermediate level. Come with questions about technique, posture, repertoire, or practice and he will do his best to help!

Massif Village Orchestra: (Bal & workshops) First envisioned by Paddy Shaw in the late 1990s, the MVO was established to be a nationwide folk orchestra with a focus on the repertoire and dance of Central France. It enjoyed considerable success at festivals such as Sidmouth and Towersey. 2022 is the year it returns! The Massif Village Orchestra will be playing for the start of the Bal at this year’s Blowout and will run five workshops to prepare. The first four workshops are instrument/section specific:

  • Bagpipes (both D & G) – Terry Mann
  • Hurdy Gurdy (D) – Frank Vickers
  • Melodeon – Nick Carpenter
  • Other/Concert Instruments – Kate Ross

Music for the Saturday Night Bal will be provided initially by the MVO and then all comers are encouraged to play for the dancing.

Makers’ Stalls A number of leading pipe makers will be exhibiting their wares and will be glad to help you draw up your wish list. Details to follow.

The Bagpipe Society’s Second hand pipes, books & CD Stall Buy, sell, swap, donate - it’s up to you! There will also be the opportunity to acquire previous copies of Chanter from the days of yore.

Blowout Menu This year we are pleased to welcome local caterer Faye, of Just Add Guests, who will be providing all the catering for the weekend. The new menu includes some meat and meat-free options at very reasonable prices and we encourage you to have a good look at what’s on offer - and then book as all must be paid for in advance. There is a cut off for bookings on Saturday 28th May. Full menu is displayed on the website.

The Bar Bar arrangements have changed: it is now licensed and supervised by the Hall committee and will be no longer run by us but there will continue to be a range of real ales available. Please bring your recyclable Bagpipe Society beer glasses, if you have them, but they will also be on sale.

For all the practicalities with regards camping, parking, campervans, menus and lots of other information, please go to the website. You can complete and return the enclosed booking form or go to the website to pay and reserve tickets online. Any enquiries, please contact Any updates or changes will be announced by email to all members and on our Facebook page