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Arran Concertina Event is no more. Long Live Concertina Camp Weekend.

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It is with great regret that I have decided not to organise another concertina event on the Isle of Arran, Scotland.

The triple whammy of Dave and I moving away from Arran, Covid, and the increasingly unreliable ferry service to and from Arran has led me to think long and hard about the practicalities of continuing to run the event and I have decided to call it a day for ACE.

When we moved from Arran I had every intention of continuing to run the event indefinitely. Even after a Covid-enforced two year gap that was my plan: but the appalling cancellation rate for the Arran ferry service has been the final nail in the coffin. It means I cannot guarantee that those who come to Arran can get  away when they need to, and as I personally underwrite the event, I can’t afford the risk of having to pay the accommodation and catering costs to providers if people are unable to actually get to Arran for the event. I cannot see how CalMac will be able to improve their performance and, in fact, things are only likely to get worse in the foreseeable future.

I am very sad to have had to make this decision, so to console myself I have decided to try and transplant the event to a new location, in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire.

These things will remain the same:

  • a focus on concertinas of all sorts,
  • devising the programme ourselves as we go,
  • sharing tunes, techniques, songs, stories
  • a concertina band playing a Bach chorale and other things,
  • good, home-cooked food,
  • beautiful and relaxing surroundings,
  • mucking in with some of the domestic chores,
  • numbers capped at 20, and
  • that “concertina house party” vibe.

These things will be different:

  • The location: a private venue dedicated to the running of music events, accessible by car and public transport (High Wycombe station, then taxi);
  • The sleeping accommodation: to stay on site you will need to bring your own, a tent, campervan, caravan or whatever you wish. There is plenty of room for pitches (no EHU), and adequate loo and washing facilities. Alternatively, there are B&Bs, guesthouses, a Premier Inn etc in the area, and you can, if you prefer, arrange to stay "off site";
  • The venue will be shared: with one other music-making group;
  • The duration: from Friday supper to Sunday afternoon tea;
  • The date: this may vary from year to year. This year, 2022, it will be Friday to Sunday 9th to 11th September;
  • The cost: if you stay on site, this will be considerably lower, at £45 per person, for all meals and use of facilities from Friday supper to Sunday afternoon “tea”.
I am sorry to have to make this decision, but hope that some of you will be able to come and try the new venue for size, and the spirit of ACE can live on in new surroundings.
For now, I'm calling the new event "Concertina Camp Weekend", but that may change.
Keep squeezing, and I hope very much to see you at a squeezy event, somewhere, some time!
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