FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Who will be at the weekends?
There is usually a mix of ages from teens to pensioners, couples, friends, small groups, and lots of people come on their own. You will be looked after by a mixture of Unthank band and family members.
2. I want to look into my travel. When does the weekend start and finish?
On the opening day there is an arrival ‘window’ between 3 and 5pm, during which tea and cake is served. Please note you are not permitted to arrive on site before 3pm unless you have particular unforeseen circumstances. We finish at midday on the final day.
3. If I am late will I miss anything?
The initial 3-5pm arrival window is entirely informal. The first proper singing session starts at 5.30pm, but if you miss it, don’t worry, it will not impact too much on the rest of your weekend. Dinner is served on the first night at 7pm. If you are later than that, we will save you some.
4. What is the best way to arrive by rail?
For Summerhill events, Newcastle Central is a short walk away.
For Middleton Hall, Berwick Upon Tweed is on the mainline. From there we recommend Woody’s Taxis and closer to the event we’ll provide message boards on which you can arrange taxi shares with other attendees. www.berwickupontweedtaxis.co.uk 01289 547009
5. How do I get from Newcastle Airport?
For Summerhill, just get the Metrolink from the airport to Newcastle Central Station. Super quick! For Middleton Hall, you could use the Metrolink, train to Berwick Upon Tweed, taxi from there, but it’s probably a lot easier (and cheaper if there is more than one of you) to rent a small car from the airport.
6. Travel share
Before the event you’ll be sent a link to a message board on which you’ll be able to exchange travel offers and requests with other attendees, eg. car share, lifts from train stations, taxi shares etc.
7. What do I need to bring?
Sturdy shoes, waterproof and warm clothes for our Saturday walk.
8. I’m worried about singing!
The onus of the weekend is on inclusiveness. You do not have to be an experienced singer to attend or enjoy the weekend. For us, singing is about joining in. Participation over performance. You will not have to sing on your own (though there are points in the weekend when you can if you want to). Some sessions will involve a little harmony work if you are able, and you will hopefully leave knowing a good few more songs than when you arrived. Just don’t expect to learn anything technical on our weekends. We aim to create an environment that is less about learning and more about the enjoyment of group singing, and the social aspects of being with other people who share a love of folk song. The only criteria is that we do expect you to join in.
9. I’m worried about the walk.
Our walks tend to be around 2-3 miles, lasting an hour and a half or so. Walks sometimes end with a singing session at the pub or similar. If you have restricted mobility and cannot do any walk, we can provide transport to and from the singing session.
10. Are children allowed on the weekends?
The workshops are intended for adults, but if you have a sensible child who wants to sing and you feel will cope well on an adult singing weekend, we are not going to put a minimum age limit on your child’s maturity, so there is discretion involved and its best to ask us on an individual basis. To give examples, we’ve had one or two who have come around the age of 13 and have been every year since with a parent. We wouldn’t imagine that a child of much younger would work out too well. Ultimately, many attendees come to get away from their children, so its important for the greater good that any child coming behaves and participates as an adult would. The successful examples have been when it is just one child, not two or three. Children with other children are more likely to behave as children, while a child in exclusively adult company is likely to fit in more seamlessly.
11. I have specific dietary requirements. Would this preclude me from attending?
At all meal times there are usually two options, one being vegetarian. Those with specific needs or wishes such a vegans,or those with intolerances to gluten, lactose etc, will always be catered for individually, which we are very happy to do. Of course, catering semi-professionally for such a lot of people at once, we rely on the majority being ready to adapt their desires to just two choices, but looking after genuine dietary needs is nothing but a pleasure and a duty. You will be sent a menu questionnaire prior to the event.
12. Can I take photos and make recordings?
There are conditions, but yes you can. The main condition is that under no circumstances must you share or post anything publicly or online. This is more to protect you than it is us. Our events afford you the opportunity to come and sing and enjoy yourself without being observed or exposed in any way. In our world of live experiences devalued by the sharing of poor quality recordings, the weekends are designed to be an experience just for you and you alone. It is up to you to keep your recorded memories private, so that you can each participate without judgement or observation. Futhermore, each weekend has a private Facebook group which you can join, where you are allowed to upload files, share photos and keep in touch with people you have met at your weekend, so in fact you can share, but just amongst yourselves.
Unfortunately neither of our current venues have full access, sorry. We are working to improve this.
14. What happens in the event of bad weather?
In the unfortunate event that bad weather or other “acts of god” prevent you from attendance, refunds cannot be made. Cancellation due to bad weather, is so late that we have already incurred the accommodation, catering and staffing costs of your stay, without being able to recoup them ourselves. However, just as with any event booking or holiday, you may of course elect to insure your booking and travel costs with an event/holiday insurance company.