​For the latest News on Touring Bands, Please check our tour listings

October 2019

Mandolin Tuition

Helsby Community Centre
Sunday, December 1, 2019 at 1 PM – 5 PM

Tickets by Eventbrite

Tickets from: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/winter-mandolin-gathering-with-mike-giverin-tickets-77115978969
A relaxed afternoon of mandolin workshops with Mike Giverin (MandoMike) to provide some winter inspiration for any standard of player.

Winter is here and we could all do with a bit of respite from the cold, dark days and the inevitable Christmas shopping … so come and spend the afternoon with me, Mando Mike, playing the mandolin instead!


October 2019

BBMA News from your Committee – BBMA Secretary

Your committee has created a post – Vice Chair which for the moment will be filled by Sherryl Payne our current treasurer. The post will be non executive, and will not mean that Sherryl will become Chairman (woman) automatically! To do that we would need your vote at an AGM.

Tour support run by your current Chair is as successful as ever and continues to bring in funds to the association.

The new editor for the magazine is Chris Lord, banjo man with the Vangaurds – please send him your suff and help populate our publication with new material!

We are working on putting Bluegrass into schools – an extension to a lot of work done by Roland Emanuel long time committee member and Education Officer. I hope by the end of November we will have more news on a trial school visit!

The problems we had with publication of the last magazine may have affected some of the membership renewals, so please check you are up to date …. and if not please get in touch with Chris our membership secretary.

We are hoping to slowly develop the BBMA web site, which will eventually have an education page. I hope that amongst other things we can publish a list of folks who teach Bluegrass instruments / vocals. So, if you have any information about teachers in your area, please get in touch with me (secretary).

We have found a volunteer to help out with the BBMA tent at festivals for next year (Myron Prosser) – if you would like to pitch in and give Myron a hand, please contact me!

Those of you who have read my reflections on the last season of festivals will know there is a real concern as to their survival. So your committee has decided to directly support the festival scene with grants, but sadly has to discontinue the discounted ticket scheme.

We are hoping to have a dedicated page for you to explain how the BBMA might be able to help – including some proceeders that will help speed up the process.  Please find below an example that will help students apply for grants.

Information Required  to be sent to Les Packer  – les.packer@btinternet.com



Contact Phone Number

Email address

BBMA Membership No. (if applicable)

Details of the course

A short statement on how your attendance on the course will contribute to the Bluegrass Music scene in the UK.

BBMA Sponsorship Scheme

1. Aim

The aim of the BBMA Sponsorship Scheme is to encourage individuals to become more engaged with Bluegrass music in the UK. This can be achieved either through introducing individuals to Bluegrass music or by helping them to enhance their playing ability.

2.. Sponsorship

The BBMA Sponsorship Scheme will fund all, or some, of the tuition costs of an individual who attends a Bluegrass instrument/voice instruction class. This can be at a music school ( eg. for a week or weekend ), regular lessons with a recognised music teacher, or regular on-line lessons with a recognised music teacher. The funding of regular lessons will need to be reviewed annually.

3. Eligibility

Individuals do not have to be BBMA members to qualify for support from the scheme. In most cases the individuals who receive sponsorship from the scheme will be in Full-Time Education. However, other applicants will be considered if they can demonstrate a commitment to Bluegrass music and the need for funding to advance their ability..

4. Application

Written, or e-mail, applications for funding should be submitted to the BBMA Committee Member responsible for the Sponsorship Scheme a minimum of six weeks before the funding is required. The application should contain information about the intended course, the cost of the course, and a brief statement on why this training will enhance the student’s abilty and involvement with Bluegrass music in the UK..

Applications will be reviewed by the BBMA Committee Member responsible for the Sponsorship Scheme and qualifying applications will then require approval by a majority of the BBMA Committee.

5. Follow Up

Sponsored students should submit a short report to the BBMA Committee at end of their course stating how their chosen course of study has developed their musical ability and interest. And why they would recommend (or not) that course for other students.

6. Reports

A regular Sponsorship report should be submitted to the BBMA committee.. A summary of BBMA sponsorship activity should be presented at the BBMA AGM.


October 2019

Richard Thrift  – 

Sadly we report the death of Richard Thrift.  Richard was an important part of the British Bluegrass scene back in the 1980’s, and with his brother Phil performed as The Thrifts. More on this to follow.  Richard Thrift’s funeral has been booked for 2.00.p.m. Wednesday 23rd October in The Long Barrow Ceremony Hall at Harbour View, Lytchett Minster. Then on to the Bakers Arms.


​September 2019

The South Essex Festival
From  Richard lee –
It’s with pleasure that Mags and myself can confirm the South Essex Bluegrass Festival has a new organiser Tony Warman
next year’s date is confirmed please put in your diaries 9-12 July 2020
After all the work mags and I put into this event we are so happy that this great little festival is continuing 😀
Let’s support this guy in what will more than likely be a challenging first year
Y’all come


September 2019

Crossover Festival
From the organisers!

September 2019

Propane Brothers

From the band
OUR NAME IS CHANGING! This is to coincide with our DEBUT ALBUM RELEASE.
We have changed our name from Propane Brothers to Pet Yeti. You can look us up on Facebook!
Just in case you don’t know these guys …..

Reuben and Benjamin Agnew (guitar and bass) are two brothers from Northern Ireland and perform as part of Cup O’ Joe. Their tight, sibling harmonies and instrumental prowess have already made them 2015 BBC Young Folk AwardFinalists as well as having made appearances on Irish television.

Kieran Towers (fiddle) becoming a name to watch out for on the UK and US bluegrass and old-time scenes, since having won the old-time fiddle contest at Gainsborough Festival in 2014, he recently released a duo album with Charlotte Carrivick of The Carrivick Sisters.

Joe Tozer (mandolin) has toured extensively in the UK, Europe and Canada with the band Cardboard Fox. Most recently he appeared at the International Bluegrass Music Association’s World of Bluegrass event in Raleigh, USA as an official showcasing artist – a first for any UK band.

John Breese (banjo) is another familiar face on the UK scene. Since graduating from his Masters’ Degree on classical guitar in 2011, he has gone on to tour and teach internationally with the banjo and double bass in various outfits including Cardboard Fox, The Carrivick Sisters, The Coal Porters and Thunderbridge Bluegrass Band.
Video Preview


September 2019


The end of another festival season, and lots to reflect on. The year has seen a number of American musicians tour the UK, and we have been privileged to share their music. Do keep an eye on our tours page to see who is around. Whilst we do our best to keep up to date, I’m sure there are some we miss, so please to notify us if you notice any yawning gaps! The three September festivals have now passed – just the one American (Grant Gordy) at Didmarton. However, the next generation of UK players are raising the bar – and memorable performances from Midnight Skyracer at Didmarton, / Often Herd at Gower, / Pet Yeti and Cuppa Joe at Cornwall clearly demonstrate that there are exciting times to come . Up at the other end of the UK – the Moniaive Festival, and they did have Wayne Taylor & Appaloosa (USA) to round off the year.

The big concern for all of us is the loss of a number festivals over the last few years. We do need to support these events, the old …. use it or loose it comes to mind! Our festivals run on a very tight budget, profit margins if any are small, and the financial risk high. Promoting Bluegrass is hard work, but can also be very rewarding! For those interested in becoming involved, talk to the BBMA – we may be able to help. Please support your local Bluegrass events.

Chris Lord (Vanguards) will be editing the next edition of the BBN – all contributions to the magazine are welcome, its quite a task finding suitable content and then arranging the magazine itself. So any ideas or articles – please post to Chris editor@britishbluegrass.org.​

The Often Herd Playing at The Gower Festival