HNW Festival

 Summer Festival 

Every 2 years we host our very own harp festival, a weekend in the Lake District offering a variety of courses led by guest professional harpists. With workshops, concerts, playing sessions, supplier exhibitions & music for sale, extra activities such as yoga and latin dancing, all with the dramatic backdrop of the lake district this really is a wonderful opportunity to immerse yourself in all things harp with a whole host of friendly fellow harp enthusiasts! All age ranges and abilities are welcome. 

HNW Festival 2019 - Ambleside  

Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July at the lovely University of Cumbria Ambleside campus. The opening concert on Friday evening was in the Percival Lecture Theatre given by two of our Festival tutors; the internationally renowned harpists Meinir Heulyn and Ben Creighton Griffiths.


We had an exciting timetable of workshops, along with specialist classes for absolute beginners and a fantastic opportunity for younger players to take part in a youth session which included tuition from our guest tutors Meinir and Ben.


HNW Festival - Ambleside

29th - 31st July 2022

What a weekend! Four fabulous tutors, one stunning concert, loads of workshops and catch ups! Composition book launch, quiz night, late night session and a weekend full of belly laughs. Thank you to everyone who came along and made it possible. Keep an eye out for photos and video of the weekend coming soon! 


HNW Festival 2017 -  Newton Rigg, Penrith

Friday 6th - Sunday 8th August. 

We had the most wonderful 2017 Summer Festival!

Opening concert: Wendy Stewart and Friends!

Our fabulous tutors: Wendy Stewart, Stephen Dunstone, Jean Altshuler, Calum McLeod, Heather Yule, Mary Dunsford. 

With Harp servicing with John Hoare from Pilgrim Harps

Sheet music and other harp accessories:

Creighton's Collection

Exciting courses, included Burns Music, Polish Music, Latin Music and Celtic Music, Storytelling with the harp, and using your harp for Music in Healthcare!


HNW Festival 2013 - Casterton School,  

This year we based our Festival at Casterton School. Our guest tutors were Anne-Marie O'Farrell and Cormac De Barra, who provided the opening concert "Double Strung" on the Friday evening at Casterton Church, featuring music of the baroque from Ireland and Europe, and music for harp duet, ancient and new.  It was superb, and really provided an energy that remained for the duration of the festival!

Joining them over the weekend were Cumbrian teachers Jean Altshuler, Clare Bakewell and Mary Dunsford, and workshops were taught covering three different ability levels ensuring there was something for everyone.

This year's topics included:

Anne-Marie's Own Arrangements; Lever Fever; O'Carolan Music; Traditional Irish Dance Tunes; Early Music; French and Breton Songs; South American and Caribbean Tunes; Familiar Songs and Rounds; A workshop on Duets; A workshop on Group-Playing Enrichment.

In addition to all of the above, drumming expert Jane Bentley kindly joined us to run a pair of rhythm workshops, and we had such fun with our ceilidh on the Saturday evening with The Ceilidh Reunion Band!

It was lovely to see you all there!  Thanks to everyone involved for making it the huge success it was!  Hope to see you again at future HNW Summer Festivals!

HNW Festival 2015 -  Newton Rigg, Penrith

Friday 31st July - Sunday 2nd August. 

Our superb 2015 Festival featured a wide-ranging variety of courses with Ailie Robertson, Heather Yule and a team of local tutors. 

The Festival began with an exciting concert by The Outside Track featuring harpist Ailie Robertson. This was held in St Andrew’s Church in Penrith, about 15 minutes’ drive from the College.

As well as all the fabulous harp courses available, John Hoare of Pilgrim Harps showed us how to care for our harps, while Mary Dunsford had us playing the ukulele!

There was also harp servicing by John, and a superb collection of music and CDs from Creighton’s Collection to browse through.  And let's not forget Jane's delicious Jams!

And on the Saturday there was an Absolute Beginners’ Workshop,

where non-harpists had the opportunity to discover this special instrument. (Harps were provided).

After the Festival Dinner on Saturday night, Heather Yule entertained us with her Storytelling skills while we relaxed in our lounge (with bar) in the College Conference Centre!

We loved meeting all of you harp enthusiasts for our weekend of total harp immersion in the beautiful setting of the northern Lake District.

HNW Festival 2012 - Sedburgh. 

Friday 3rd – Sunday 5th August 2012

In August 2012 we held our first ever SUMMER HARP FESTIVAL, based at Sedbergh School.  We were very excited about the varied programme, and we weren't disappointed.

The programme included:

  • Harp Workshops for three different ability levels with tutors Jean Altshuler, Robin Huw Bowen (above, with a level 1 class), Anna Christensen and Mary Dunsford

  • A session on computer music software with Jean Altshuler

  • A workshop on the Alexander Technique by Penny Ingham, which encouraged good poise and also looked at how we sit at the harp

  • Concerts by Robin Huw Bowen and local storyteller with the harp, Nick Hennessey

  • An informal vocal workshop to encourage listening skills with local community choir leader David Burbidge

     Tutors / Performers

    Jean Altshuler

    Robin Huw Bowen

    Anna Christensen

    Mary Dunsford

    Penny Ingham

    Nick Hennessey

    David Burbidge

    We hope those of you who came enjoyed meeting other harp enthusiasts and making music together.  It was a delight to see many familiar faces, and to make such a lot of new friends too, with participants from as far afield as the USA!

    We look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at our next festival!