More than a gig of the week

Acoustic Blues & Roots Weekend, Pocklington Arts Centre, November 16 to 18

DO you fancy honing your guitar skills under the tuition of respected guitarists Michael Messer and Damir Halilic?

If so, head to Pocklington's Acoustic Blues & Roots Weekend, hosted by virtuoso slide guitarist and blues innovator Messer.

This annual event on the Pocklington Arts Centre calendar features guitar and slide guitar tuition, jam sessions, student performances and a special Saturday night concert.

"This is a weekend for anyone interested in playing acoustic guitar and slide guitar in blues and roots styles," says PAC director Janet Farmer. "All levels are welcome. Acoustic instruments only."

Messer took over the running of the event five years ago. "I've been coming to this weekend for a long time. I just love it and the venue is perfect for it," he says.

Messer will be teaching slide and lap steel guitar; Damir Halilic, otherwise known as "Hal", from Rijeka, Croatia, will be teaching fingerstyle guitar. "Hal is quite simply one of the greatest guitarists in the world; it’s special to have him here to do this," says Michael.

"In the past decade, Hal has recorded six highly acclaimed albums and collaborated with many of the world’s top guitarists, such as Martin Taylor, Tommy Emmanuel, Woody Mann, BJ Cole and John Jorgensen. Spending time with Hal in his classes and at the evening events will be a fantastic experience for everyone involved."

One highlight of next weekend will be the Acoustic Blues House Party on November 17: a chance to hear Messer and Halilic playing together, solo and with guests in an intimate, relaxed, "unplugged" performance at 8pm.

Janet says: "It’s always a pleasure and a privilege to welcome Michael and his Acoustic Blues and Roots Weekend. The venue comes alive with the sound of world-class acoustic blues and roots music, which is simply wonderful, and it’s always a highly popular weekend with all ages and all abilities, so I'd encourage you to get your tickets now or risk missing out on what is a truly special event.”

Tickets cost £145 for the full weekend; £35 for Friday only; £80 for Saturday and the concert; £12 for the Acoustic Blues House Party only, on 01759 301547 or at

Charles Hutchinson

Michael Messer and Damir Halilic will lead a weekend of Acoustic Blues & Roots at PAC