Somerset Folk Harp Festival 2023:

Celebrating Excellence – DHC Receives Somerset Lifetime Achievement Award

First row from left to right: Sylvia Woods (2015), William Jackson (2016), Laurie Riley (2017), Jay Witcher (2018)
Second row from left to right: Kim Robertson (2019), Ann Heymann (2021), Alan Stivell (2022), and Deborah Henson-Conant (2023)

The Somerset Folk Harp Festival

This year’s Somerset Folk Harp Festival – a two-weekend conference from July 20-23 and 29-30celebrated the richness and diversity of music, talent, and experience within the folk harp world.

Renowned musicians such as Shelley Fairplay, Deborah Henson-Conant, Debbie Brewin-Wilson, William Jackson, and Gráinne Hambly graced the festival with their presence as Presenters, sharing their vast knowledge and enriching the experience for all attendees.

During the festival, participants had the opportunity to join and learn through the available workshops.

There were workshops for all skill levels, so whether you’ve been playing for years or just starting out, participants found workshops that suit their interests and skill levels.

In addition to the workshops, there were daily concerts featuring renowned performers from around the world. The after-hour sessions, talent show, and dances added to the community and camaraderie of the festival, bringing together participants in a social and fun environment.

The Somerset Lifetime Achievement Award

One of the festival’s highlights was the presentation of the prestigious 11th Somerset Lifetime Achievement Award – a highly coveted award in the music industry in which the festival takes great pride in honoring legends who have pushed folk harp music to new heights.

Deborah Henson-Conant: The Reigning 2023 Somerset Lifetime Achievement Awardee

The Festival awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award to this year’s honoree, Deborah Henson-Conant – a Grammy-nominated musician, composer, performer, mentor, and innovator known for her flamboyant stage presence – recognizing her profound contributions to the folk harp world.

A true luminary of the industry, Deborah joined a celebrated list of previous recipients, including Sam Milligan (2014), Sylvia Woods (2015), William Jackson (2016), Laurie Riley (2017), Jay Witcher (2018), Kim Robertson (2019), Ann Heymann (2021), and Alan Stivell (2022).

The Somerset Folk Harp Festival 2023 delivered its promise to be a delight for all harp enthusiasts. Whether you are a seasoned musician or a curious learner, this festival offered a unique opportunity to indulge in the magic of folk harp music, learn from the best, and connect with a vibrant community of passionate individuals.

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