Somerset Harp Festival Online

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions about the Festival

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I used to have an FAQ in the "before times" to deal with questions people always had about the logistics of being at the festival, the hotel, meals, and how to get into workshops. Now that we have gone completely ONLINE again in 2021, that old FAQ seems so quaint, like an antique. Based on the issues we had with the rollout of Somerset Online in July 2020 and some of the Zoom-related problems that arose, I have a new focus in this FAQ. If you have questions that I'm not answering here, please feel free to email our somersethelpdesk to pose your question, and it just might end up on this list! Let me address the most common question I get, which is about subscription levels and terms: All-Access runs from July 5 to October 31, and Limited-Time runs from July 12-July 31. Archive Videos are only available to those who have purchased access that segment. To view other details about what you can register for, click here.

(click on any question to learn the answer!)

"Live" Workshops are about 90 minutes. For other details about how we organize the workshops, click here.

We will email each subscriber their official login packet on the day their subscription begins. You'll get all the information you need to log into If you had a login in 2020, that will not work in 2021. All-Access subscribers can begin to access on July 5. Limited-Time subscribers start their subscription on July 12. Bear in mind that the "live" workshops are held in real-time and don't begin until July 22. Here's the full list of Zoom workshops.

Access to the Archive videos (if you purchased that option) is tied to your subscription. All-Access subscribers can begin to access on July 5. Limited-Time subscribers start their subscription on July 12. You can add the Archive to your subscription at any time. Go here to do that.

Yes! Of course you can. Smart choice. By upgrading your subscription you'll have your access extended from July 31 to October 31--3 more months to take all those workshops! Click here to upgrade.

If you're reading this you already have the basics for doing the festival online: an internet connection and a browser. If you already view YouTube videos, you'll have no trouble with our online portal. You can download the Zoom app in advance of the festival if you intend to go to any of the "live" workshops on festival weekend. If you want to look at any of the 100+ videos we have online, you don't need anything but your browser. If you don't already have a set, we advise getting headphones for both Zoom and to view the videos--the sound will be so much clearer than what you're going to get out of your tiny computer speakers. That's about it though.

Yes, yes, yes! We had a number of technical issues last year that created some bottlenecks for some people with different types of email accounts. I won't bore you with the long, gory story but suffice to say, we did get everybody online pretty quickly, all things considered but we're looking to revise the process for the first-time logins based on lessons learned in 2020. It is imperative though, that we have your correct email address--if you have multiple email addresses, we're going to use the one you typed in when you paid for your subscription.

Neither you nor I own these workshop videos. They belong to the presenter who produced them. You get the use of them until the end of your subscription term. That's it. Just consider this: if you had come to any in-person festival before this, you would have walked out of the workshop with the handout and any personal audio recording you made. That would have been it. Yes, lots of stuff on the internet is free but artists have to earn a living from their work and giving it away is not going to help them. You get more than the length of the festival weekend to replay and retake these workshops on video. Do the work. Learn the material. Take notes the old fashioned way if you have to.

If you're asking this question before July 5, that's because your subscription hasn't yet started! Your subscription is tied to the email address you gave when you signed up and that's tied to a start date: All-Access begin July 5 and Limited-Time begins July 12. If this is a first-time login issue, please recheck the email we sent you on the start date of your subscription. You didn't get the email? Please check your spam folder. Gmail users should check their Promotions or Social folders for our email--that's where it usually ends up. You can email our somersethelpdesk to let us know you have an issue and we'll try to work it out!

Meet three strong-minded Irish harpists: Sydney Owenson (novelist), Frances Power Cobbe (Fanny Power’s descendant) and Miss Egan (the harp maker’s daughter). These women defied 1800s gender roles to forge independent careers with lasting cultural legacies. Drawing from her research, Nancy will tell the long-buried stories of how the harp played an important part in their interesting lives.

Mailí Bhán was traditionally the first tune taught to Irish harpers. Edward Bunting collected it from the harper, Patrick Quin, just over 200 years ago. Through learning Mailí Bhán, you will also be learning the principal fingering movements, both by name and by 'doing'. When you have learned these fingering movements, and they have become assimilated into your hand, you will be ready to move on to the other first tunes. These are the fundamental building blocks for exploring more old Irish harp repertory, style and technique.

From her lifetime of artistic research, Ann Heymann has collected published and unpublished statements that, when combined with known performance standards, reveals deep truths of style and technique extending from medieval times to the music of Turlough O’Carolan and Denis O’Hampsey.

Updated 12/31/2020 Workshop descriptions and schedules are subject to change. Refresh your browser to make sure you have the latest version of this page.