The Wychwood Brewery Tap Session is a collaborative traditional music session in Witney on the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of the month at The Wychwood Brewery Tap. The aim is to try to emulate the experience often found in rural Irish and Scottish pubs, a gathering of musicians, a range of instruments, all abilities and for the sheer enjoyment of playing and singing together (and likely a pint or two).
To help provide some structure and focus to the session, we will concentrate on “trad” (see if you can find a definition of that!) based songs and tunes which will likely be largely from the British Isles but also sea shanties and some better known trad-based material from elsewhere (for example the outstanding contemporary reel, “Catharsis”, by Amy McCann from Vermont, USA).
Where and when is the session?
It’s at The Wychwood Brewery Tap, Wychwood Brewery, Eagle Maltings, The Crofts, Witney OX28 4DP.
It will happen on the 2nd or 3rd Wednesday of each month, keep an eye on Facebook (The Witney Music Massive and Oxfordshire Folk Musicians groups and the Wychwood Brewery Tap page) and Folk In Oxford calendar for dates.
Gather from around 19:00 for a first tune at 19:15, finishing around 22:00.
What instruments are acceptable?
All of them! So far we have interested players of guitars, mandolins, banjos, octave mandola, bodhran, fiddle, cello, melodeon, tenor guitar and more. The wider the range of instruments, the richer the noise we could make! Bring the bagpipes…
I haven’t been playing long, can I still come?
Absolutely! The session is for everyone, and will regularly make use of the technique you can find on many session recordings from the Emerald Isle whereby a tune will start at a very low tempo (which is often as challenging for experienced players as it is for beginners!) to allow all to participate and challenge themselves with the increasing tempo through the rounds of the piece.
I don’t play but I like trad music, can I come?
Of course! A great session comes from players and listeners alike. For a musician there is nothing more rewarding than an appreciative and enthusiastic audience. Come, listen, stomp your feet, dance a jig and enjoy Wychwood and Brakspear beers right next to the fermenters!
Can I do a solo piece?
While the session is predominately collaborative, so don’t expect the “everyone takes a turn to perform” format, if you have a number that fits with the trad/trad-based anchor of the session then by all means let everyone hear it. Please also be open to other players suggesting accompaniment or embellishment – and on the other hand please also be very careful to only add to a someone else’s arrangement appropriately – perhaps a Scottish ballad doesn’t need need a trumpet break…
I haven’t been to the Wychwood Brewery Tap, what’s it like?
Sorry, but if you haven’t been there, you haven’t lived! It’s a proper brewery tap room, quirky with memorabilia reflecting the history of Wychwood and Brakspear breweries and the Hobgoblin brand. Split over two levels you’ll find a little bar downstairs with windows onto the workings of the brewery, the upper level where the session will be played is a simple bar room but with very cool decor. Exactly the kind of intimate space where a session would grow in the village pubs of Scotland and Ireland…
Don’t use SatNav to get there, it normally dumps you at the back door of the brewery in an industrial estate where you’ll find a snooker club and an eastern cuisine delivery company among other things. If you end up there then come back out of the carpark and turn left past The Angel, left at the mini-roundabout onto Corn Street then left onto The Crofts and first left onto the other bit of The Crofts and you’ll see the brewery on the corner at the bottom. If parking is tight there is usually plenty out on Corn Street and if you park roughly in the area of the Asia takeaway, Fat Lils bar and restaurant etc you’ll find a little lane to the side of Corn Street Dental Practice, walk down there and turn left and you can’t miss the Brewery.
The entrance to The Tap can be found a little bit into the brewery yard, past the shop, up the stairs just past the big carved wooden hobgoblin and the Tap is through the first door on the right.
How do I know what we’ll be playing?
The session will be rooted in trad and trad-based tunes and songs, and there are no rigid rules. But in the interest of getting started here are a list of pieces which will serve as a start point and aide memoir to keep the session rolling.
A Man You Don’t Meet Every Day : Music : Chords
All for Me Grog : Music : Chords
Banks of Newfoundland
Black Legged Miner
Black is the Colour
Bonnie Green Garters
Britches Full of Stitches
Cullen Slide (House Party etc)
Dark Girl Dressed in Blue
Dirty Old Town
Fields of Athenry
Haul Away the Bowline
I’ll Tell Me Ma
Irish Pub Song
Johnny Jump Up
My Son Jon
New York Girls
Orange in Bloom (Sherbourne Waltz)
Raggle Taggle Gypsy
Red Haired Boy
Road to Lisdoonvarna
Roll the Old Chariot Along
Rose in the Heather
Speed the Plough
Star Above the Garter
Star of the County Down
The Jolly Beggarman
Whiskey in the Jar
How can I keep up to date with latest info?
OK, this sounds cool, anything I can do to help?
Yes please! Send this page to all your musician friends who would like to join a relaxed, collaborative trad-based session!
Keep your eyes peeled for the Facebook event, use it to let us know you’re coming and share it with all your friends that might be interested.
What’s the connection with Bampton Folk Club?
It’s not the most interesting of stories. Just that one of the founders (and lazy webmaster who can’t be bothered setting up a whole new webthing yet…) of BFC is behind the creation of this new session. Well you can never have too much music, right?