The William Irwin Symposium Of Lakeland Music & Dance

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The William Irwin Symposium of Lakeland Music & Dance - Langdale, Cumbria

Friday May 4th – Sunday May 6th 2012 ~ The first of its kind, this weekend offers a unique opportunity for dancers and musicians to celebrate Lakeland Music & Dance through workshops, music sessions, talks, lectures & performances:

• Lakeland Step-Dance
• Lakeland Fiddle Music
• The William Irwin Repertoire
• The Lakeland Dancing Masters

It is also hoped that course participants will work together on a ‘site-specific’ performance piece.

If you’re a clog dancer, please also contact me on 07905 129831 email:

CONCERT - Saturday the 5th of May, 7:00 p.m. ~ Cost £10 (individuals) £12 (families) ~ Free Parking Elterwater Common (5 mins walk)

Background on William Irwin:

Background on the location and Kurt Schwitters go to

Cylinders is called Cylinders as there were big iron cylinders there to make charcoal in, for the gunpowder works the other side of the road, where William Irwin was a cooper. The two lie a neat hundred years apart: Irwin arrived at the works in 1844 I think, Schwitters in 1945.


On the site: some hardish standing for camper vans.

On the site: a nice place for tents, above the trees on grass just below the open fellside. Parking on Elterwater common 5 mins walk.

By the river, a 5min(?) walk away, a lovely bunkhouse hostel of the old-school Spartan dormitory type(I think), for the exclusive use of people attending the weekend. Sleeps 16.

If anyone wants to upgrade at their own expense, there are the usual range of places you would expect in a topgrade 5 star tourist area: B&B, pubs,hotels , either in the immediate vicinity or in nearby towns, of which Ambleside is the most notable and nearest.

For those who like walking, the site is of unequalled excellence, from pottering along the river to nipping up theLangdale Pikes.

National Trust campsite at Old Dungeon Ghyll 10 mins drive up the valley. Youth hostels High Close and Elterwater.

I’ve only just received this information courtesy of Alex Fisher and checked to see if it had been added here yet. Now it has, wishing it good luck and success…

7.00pm, Saturday 5th May - William Irwin Memorial Concert

A public concert with some of The North’s finest traditional musicians and dancers:
Boat Band, Striding Edge, Lakeland Fiddlers, Old Friends Band, Tenterhooks, Alex Fisher

Programme: William Irwin Lakeland Music and Dance Symposium

Friday evening; Welcome session at Cylinders hosted by the Boat Band, Carolyn Francis, All welcome

Sat Morning
Talks, various sites at Cylinders
10.00 – Welcome and Introduction to the weekend Alan Bell (Chair of NW Folk arts development Agency Folkus)
10.30 – 11.15 Greg Stephens; “Converting Manuscripts to Music”
11.30 – 12.15 Sue Allen; “Traditional musicians in Cumbria”
12.30- 1.15 Johnny Adams and Chris Partington; “Comparison of Lakeland Fiddle manuscripts”
Workshop; Lakeland Dance steps for experienced dancers 10.30 to 12.30 Alex Fisher

Lunch Break 1.30 – 2.30

Sat Afternoon
3.00to 3.45 Alex Fisher; “The Lakeland Dancing Masters, a Unique Legacy”
4.00to 4.45 Carolyn Francis “Re-Wilding Fiddle Music in Cumbria”

5.30 – 7.00 rig evening gig

7.30 William Irwin Memorial Concert (Boat band, Striding Edge, Lakeland Fiddlers, Alex Fisher, The Northern Branch/Tenterhooks and Old Friends Ceilidh Band)
Open to public, cost £10 per ticket, £12 families

Sunday Morning
10 to 11.30 Workshop; 3 Great Irwin tunes; Carolyn Francis (so that all-comers, any instrument, have a common repertoire to play at the graveside)
11.30 Musical procession from Cylinders to Chapel Stile Church, led by Greg (weather dependent)
12.00 Musical Tribute at William Irwin’s Grave, Holy Trinity, Chapel Stile Church
12.00 – 1.30 Buffet/Lunch at Cylinders
Sunday Afternoon;
More Workshops and Informal Gatherings eg.
Fiddle Playing for Step dancers? (Carolyn)
Beginners Lakeland Stepping? (Alex)
Clog dancers work together on choreographed piece?
Slow Music (The Boat Band)

Sunday evening Informal sharing session of the afternoon’s work, hosted by Carolyn and Lakeland Fiddlers

Submitted April 9th

Ignore the date of the 4th, a problem with dates and a time warp on site.. 😏 All this information was submitted today, the 9th of April.

Cumbria, May 4th – 6th 2012: The William Irwin Symposium Of Lakeland Music & Dance

It’s FREE!!! ~ all except Saturday night’s concert. And camping is also available for FREE! But you’d need to contact the organizers to reserve your space. However, there are more luxurious options for accomodation available, and who could fault the locale. Even in the rain and mists it is beautiful and worth a visit. But, I’d bring your rain togs. In any condition there will be similarly minded folk gathering together there and happy to share tunes and steps with you.

So, who’s planning on going?

There’s also hope to attract more cloggers, step dancers and flat footers. If you are of that ilk or interest be sure to follow the link and let Alex Fisher know. She can tell you more as well and you’ll find a list of ‘what’s planned’.

This is a great idea well deserving of support and while it’s a first there are hopes, with success, to repeat it every couple of years… So, come and support a good cause, including the traditions of the Lakes in music and dance, traditions shared across these islands. With fun workshops and events and good company it’ll be great craic…

And no, no one has paid me to say good things and promote this, but I know one of the organizers and she has my faith, and I have affection for Cumbria, having worked for a spell all across that county, through good and bad, rough and smooth, all weathers and traffics… 😉

Re: Cumbria, May 4th – 6th 2012: The William Irwin Symposium Of Lakeland Music & Dance

Shame it’s the same weekend as Girvan, I would have been tempted otherwise.

Girvan - South Ayreshire, Scotland

Hmmmm… Frances Logan looks like a cousin of mine… 😀

Fresh, new, the unknown, only every other year ~ & promising more clogs than Girvan

Come on skreech, break the mold, try something new, exciting and not yet set in its ways, fresh! Be part of history, a first. You could catch Girvan any old year, and in this case alternate? Shake a leg! Get a taste of another tradition, that of the Lakelands. Besides, there’s all those fin Lakeland musicians and dancers, and other folk from the Northwest. Surely you’d be in your element, and you could yourself start afresh. Everybody at Girvan will no doubt already know your reputation and have expectations. Hmmmmm? Maybe I should check with them before trying to convince you over? 😀 😉

OK, you’ve talked me into it.

But if I don’t enjoy it, if I land up ankle deep in mud and covered in midge bites, if I stay sober all weekend, or if my tent leaks, then I’m holding you personally responsible.


Hi skreech - as much as I was looking forward to this some ‘things’ came up and alas, as I type this from home I’m not enjoying The Lakes, Cumbria, and this event. I am going to set some time aside later tonight to play some music from the area.