When Chris While and Julie Matthews were planning a celebration of their tenth anniversary as a duo, their search for a special venue to hold a one day festival led them to Prebendal Farm, or rather to the 'back garden' of Prebendal Farm. This isn't just any old garden, it's an exquisite walled Victorian garden which holds 500 people and is located in the picturesque village of Bishopstone, a few miles outside of Swindon in Wiltshire.
The farm is run and the festival hosted by Rob and Jo Selbourne, whose love of music and of village life has combined to make this such a welcoming festival to be at. The camp site has a spectacular view across the Ridgeway and is situated on the other side of the road from the garden.
The first Party on the Lawn was held in 2005 and was intended to be a one off event that brought together people that Chris and Julie had worked with over the years or had close ties with; Blue Tapestry, Daphne's Flight, etc. However, the day was such a success that Rob, Jo, Chris and Julie decided to do it all again and so 'Party on the Lawn' was truly born.
Although the line-up changes each year, While and Matthews have tried to remain faithful to the idea that only people who are closely connected with them should be booked but fortunately, they know some pretty amazing musicians and singers!
There's plenty to eat, drink and sing about at Party on the Lawn, from the moment the gates open at mid-day, through until the big finale ensemble is sung nearing midnight, you're guaranteed a unique, joyful, family day out featuring the best music on the roots scene today and an event that will carry you through until the same time next year.
Welcome to Prebendal Farm, welcome to Party on the Lawn.
This year it's Chris & Julie's 20th anniversary and we are celebrating AGAIN!!
Chris While and Julie Matthews are leading acoustic singer/songwriters whose performance will take you on an emotional journey to make you smile, cry, reflect, stimulate and move you.
Their outstanding musical talent and passion reflects life's celebrations and challenges, driving inspiration and hope. This is more than music, it's simply electric, unique and unrivalled.
In 2013, Rock Society wrote of Chris While and Julie Matthews, "Their pedigree is without question. Both are supreme songwriters & multi-instrumentalists & it’s the union of their two wonderful voices which is the crowning glory with the emphasis being on the exquisite two part harmonies."
Five world class musicians who just love what they do, this has been the line-up for the last two While and Matthews albums, Hitting the Ground Running and Infinite Sky.
Howard Lees (acoustic and electric guitars) has worked with Chris and Julie since their first album Piecework and every album since except for one. He is simply one of the best musicians in the world breezing from Jazz to Flamenco and firing straight in to electric. He is best known for The duo Hobson and Lees and The Christine Collister Band along with Gerry Conway and Rory McFarlane. He is a behavioral scientist by day and only comes out for special occasions!!
Neil Fairclough (Bass) has been collaborating with Chris & Julie over their last three albums and before that, Together Alone, he also played on Chris's solo album Rosella Red and toured in her band. He was a member of e2K along with Kellie While and Kwame Yeboah (producer of Chris and Julie's Quest album). He is now touring with Bryan May and Queen...!
Bryan Hargreaves (Drums) is a consummate musician; Chris and Julie heard him play were hooked. He appears on Hitting the Ground Running and Infinite Sky. He has worked with Heather Small, Snake Davis, Elio Pace and the Weekend Wogan Band.
A Rare concert this year from Ashley and son Blair.
Ashley Hutchings is a musician, singer, songwriter, producer, broadcaster, poet and most of all band leader. He is mainly known as a person who formed the three most successful British folk-rock groups: Fairport Convention, Steeleye Span and The Albion Band - in its many forms.
For four years he worked at London's National Theatre with his Albion Band as music director of a number of ground-breaking plays with music, including the phenomenally popular Lark Rise and Candleford.
It was Ashley and The Albion Band that brought Chris & Julie together in 1994.
Blair Dunlop’s achingly beautiful Blight & Blossom may be one of the most memorable and melodic debut albums of recent years but what has really marked him out from his peers is his ability to craft deceptively simple songs that connect with everyone who claps ears on them on a deeply emotional level that belies his age. Still only 21 few people in the music world who had been paying attention were surprised when he scooped the prestigious Horizon Award at the 2013 BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and, although Blight & Blossom attracted a rapturous reception from the critics and received regular airings from a host of stations including BBC Radio 2 and 6 Music upon its release in August 2012, Dunlop took it all in his stride and set off on his travels playing everywhere from major festivals to intimate front rooms: wherever and whenever he found an audience willing to listen.
Chris & Julie have known Blair since he was born.
Kellie While is currently lead singer in the Albion Christmas Band and duo member with her mum Chris While. Kellie plays guitar and is a songwriter in her own right although she is one of the finest interpreters of traditional and contemporary songs.
Kellie was lead singer in The Albion Band and the Afro-Celtic band e2K . She has worked with many of the country's best artists such as Martin Simpson and Thea Gilmore (The Reel and Soul Association). This weekend she will be singing with Chris and then a rare performance with both Chris and Julie as well as appearing as guest singer in The While & Matthews Band.
Now established as one of the finest live acoustic acts in the UK, Elbow Jane continue to tour clubs and festivals with their latest CD from Fellside Records entitled The Boldest Blood. National press have described their music as "utterly infectious" and confirmed them as "one of the top acoustic acts in the country".
They have featured several times on Mike Harding’s Radio 2 programme and have twice been invited to perform on BBC Radio 2’s Good Morning Sunday programme, appearing live on the Good Morning Christmas Special
Festivals confirm that Elbow Jane are amongst the best live acts in the UK, and that their unique blend of bouzouki, mandolin, guitar, keyboards and percussion is complemented by expressive vocals and stunning harmonies winning them national acclaim stating that "this dynamic quintet bring energy, excitement and enthusiasm to their music, and delight audiences wherever they perform" and "they'll make you laugh, they'll make you cry, and leave you shouting for more"
numbers Michael Parkinson and Nanci Griffith among her fans. Her beautifully written songs, charming stage presence and voice of an angel have won her a reputation as a true natural talent of gentle folk-americana. She has opened numerous shows for Jools Holland and Van Morrison and the title track of her album Pour Me A Drink was covered by Nanci Griffith who calls her "the sweetest voice in England".
Her cover of the Randy Newman song Feels Like Home was featured in the Cameron Diaz film My Sister's Keeper and has since had over six million plays on You Tube.
Chris Leslie is a multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter based in Oxfordshire UK, primarily known for the past seventeen years for his work with Fairport Convention. He has played and recorded with, amongst others: , The Albion Band, Jez Lowe, Ian Anderson, Chris While and Julie Matthews, Whippersnapper, Alan Stivell, Feast of Fiddles and St. Agnes Fountain. Chris has provided music for a number of Radio Four plays and classic serials. His fiddle playing has also been heard on the TV series Heartbeat, Midsommer Murders and Billy Connolly’s World Tour of Scotland.
Chris plays: fiddle, mandolin, tenor guitar, bouzouki, ukulele, banjo, oud, whistle and Native American flute.
He has just released his fourth solo CD Origins.
The Yirdbards lead singer Paul Darby first came to prominence in the early ‘70s as one half of the duo , and over the ensuing years he used his musical talent to raise thousands of pounds for Greenpeace. In the ‘80s he became frontman for the R&B band The Dubious Brothers, but has more recently returned to his love of acoustic music. "I sing" he says, "because it gives me pleasure. With The Yirdbards’ line up of cello and acoustic guitars, there’s more space for intimacy and subtlety: it’s more intricate. I just hope that people will be moved by our music in some way".
Details as follows:
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Please contact Rob Selbourne before booking on either email@example.com or 01793 790485.
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A beautiful chalk downland village with a multitude of thatched cottages clustered around an old mill pond. Largely unscathed by modern development it remains an archetypal Wiltshire village.
Dating from 1863, Prebendal is a working arable farm situated in the village of Bishopstone, only one mile from Europe's oldest road: the Ridgeway.
The camp site is in a field just across the road from the farm. Ideally situated and only £10 for 2 nights. Please note, potraloos and stand pipes are provided on the camp site.
For the non-campers there are several B&Bs available locally (though you need to book early!) and the village pub will do a roaring trade in food and drink over the festival weekend.