Format & atmosphere:
Our concept is an informal and relaxed weekend where both expert and less-experienced squeezers can exchange tunes, techniques, and other knowledge, or just enjoy playing together.
There are no designated instructors or "performers". Instead, when everyone gathers on Friday evening we will compose a workshop schedule depending on what the participants want to learn and who has expertise to share. Example themes could include techniques for song accompaniment, comparing the advantages of various melodeon and anglo layouts, regional Swedish folk tunes, hints for beginners, chords and harmonies, Irish on the English, instrument repair, or anything else that interests us.
Our main focus is "squeezeboxes" of all sorts, i.e., the various forms of concertina and accordion. But other instruments are also welcome, so please bring your bouzouki, bagpipe, bones, bassoon, or whatever. And if anyone wants to learn about concertinas or their relatives but doesn't have an instrument, there will undoubtedly be something to borrow.
Those who don't play a squeezebox or even any musical instrument are also welcome, as long as they don't mind our own obsession. The surroundings include some lovely places to walk, in particular the unique Troll Wood, or "twisted forest".
For additional information, comments by others, and a number of photos, visit our History/Links page.
Brief summary of our usual programme:
Friday: Gradually gather at a prearranged meeting place.
(As usual, we plan to gather at a central location and then share car space to travel together to Gamlegård. When you tell us you're coming, we'll tell you where we'll be meeting.)
About 18:00, we all head to Torna Hällestad, where we
- settle in,
- eat supper,
- plan the workshop schedule for Saturday and Sunday,
- walk down to the local cafe/pub for a session,
- and eventually wend our way "home".
Saturday: Music, and meals. Whatever workshops we've planned the night before, punctuated by whatever other activities we care to indulge in, in groups or individually, such as a walk in the forest if the weather is good. (Not guaranteed, but it often is.)
We finish with an evening "concert" -- really more of a cross between a round robin and a jam session, -- mainly for each other, but a few local friends may also join us. And we always have a few snacks handy at this time.
Sunday: More workshops in the morning, then
But that's not quite the end, as we go to
where the public is invited to
a concert, which we improvise. No one is forced to play, but there's room for talent at all levels, and the result is invariably enjoyable for "performers" and audience alike. And of course, the various squeezeboxes aren't the only instruments to be heard. Many of us sing, and in the past we've also had banjo, guitar, flute, fiddle, and "even" saxophone.
Some more detail:
There are no designated instructors, nor workshops decided in advance, but on Friday evening before we head over to the session at Tolvan cafe/pub after we cooperatively develop a schedule of workshops, sessions, or whatever else we want.
Any individual may suggest a workshop subject that they would like to either learn or teach, and from those subjects for which we find both teachers and students we work up a schedule to accomodate as many as possible.
For further details, see the separate Workshops page. Among other things, it also has a list of some of the workshop topics from previous years, which I hope you'll find interesting.
Friday Night Session at Tolvan
Friday evening, after supper and planning our workshop schedule, we always have an informal session, an opportunity for us to get to know each other better, musically as well as personally.
Once again we're invited to hold our session at Tolvan, a little place owned by the residents of Torna Hällestad, who may book it for private events, but also run it as an open cafe/pub on certain nights. A few of the neighbors have been known to bring instruments and join us, while others may come just to listen.
Saturday Night "Open-Stage" Concert
On Saturday night we perform for each other, possibly joined by a few local friends.
Performing is entirely voluntary, but in the friendly atmosphere it's hard to be shy.
It's not a big public event, so experimentation is encouraged, especially in the formation of new "groups" that have not previously played together.
It's so informal that we don't even have a signup sheet or formal procedure. One year the order was decided by a stuffed-toy dragon: Whoever it was tossed to was "next", and when they finished (immediately, if they chose to pass) they chose the next performer by tossing the dragon.
Sunday Afternoon Concert
Every year we hold an informal public concert on Sunday afternoon, just before dispersing.
Once again, our concert will be in the nearby town of Dalby, and details -- as well as a printable concert flyer -- will be posted well before the SSI itself.
The concert is open to the public, with free admission. If you have friends near enough to stop by for a bit of music on Sunday afternoon, please invite them to join us.
Always there is a lunch for us before the concert, and during the concert refreshments are available to both ourselves and our audience.
This is the last official event of the weekend, and the point where we say our farewells... until next time.