World famous guitarists, a full house, and over £15,000 generated for the local economy has made for yet another hugely successful Acoustic Blues & Roots Weekend at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC).
The popular event has become a firm fixture in PAC’s programme of live events, with guitarists from across the country descending on the award-winning venue for a weekend of tuition and live performances at the hands of the world’s greatest guitar teachers.
This year saw around 40 students from across the country receive expert blues guitar and slide guitar tuition from master guitarists London based Michael Messer and Damir Halilic, who travelled over from Croatia.
Michael, who has run the event for the past five years, said: “The 2018 Acoustic Blues & Roots Weekend at PAC was once again a resounding success. Every November 30 to 40 people, guitarists and guitar students, descend on Pocklington and I speak for everyone involved, that spending a few days in Pocklington is always an absolute pleasure. The hospitality at Pocklington Arts Centre (PAC) is quite simply unsurpassable. Janet Farmer, James Duffy and all the staff really do a fantastic job. I only ever hear excellent reports from the people that come to our weekend about the facilities in town, such as the restaurants, pubs, and shops, which are all absolutely first class.”
A highlight of the weekend was the Saturday night Acoustic Blues House Party, during which Michael and Hal performed live on stage, while students also had the chance to take part.
Michael added: “There are always so many highlights at our PAC Blues & Roots weekends, but if I was to pick one thing, it has to be the Saturday night ‘Acoustic Blues House Party’ concert. This year’s guest tutor was the Croatian superstar virtuoso guitarist, Damir Halilic ‘Hal’, who played an absolutely amazing set of acoustic guitar music. For me, the icing on the cake was when I invited some of the students, one at a time, to the stage to perform one or two songs with myself and the guest tutor accompanying them. It’s all about big smiles and happy faces, and to see their faces light up when they realise they are taking centre stage with us, the tutors, backing them is just wonderful!”
Since becoming an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation in April of this year, PAC has been conducting a survey inviting the public to give feedback on their experience of visiting the arts centre.
The data from the latest surveys show that the Acoustic Blues & Roots students spent over £15,000, including spending on accommodation and visits to local pubs, restaurants and shops over the course of the weekend.
PAC director Janet Farmer, said: “The Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend just keeps going from strength to strength, year on year, so much so that next year’s event is already in the diary. This average spend only helps to reinforce the benefits of hosting such a fantastic event and we’d like to thank Michael and Hal once again for putting on such a popular, well respected weekend and here’s to next year.”
Speaking after the event guitar student Steve Bentham, from the Isle of Man, said: “I’ve been as high as a kite following my weekend at Pocklington with the great teachers Michael Messer & Damir Halilic ‘Hal’. I’ve laughed & chatted with a fantastic group of friends. I’ve listened to blues music and I lashed out and bought a new book and teaching package. I’m going to be busy in my man cave for months.”
Next Year’s Acoustic Blues & Roots Weekend will take place from Friday 15 to Sunday 17 November. Tickets will go on sale at a future date.