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Wooden Roots Experience Festival

Friday 2 - Sunday 4 August, 2024
Snape Maltings in Snape,Suffolk

About Wooden Roots Experience


Join in this summer at Snape Maltings on the East Suffolk coast.

Presenting the one of a kind and unique event called Wooden Roots Experience where you can fully embrace and educate yourself with a full weekend of traditional West African drumming, dance & performances. 

Whether your passion is for drumming or dancing or both you will have access to over 6 hours of tuition a day from an incredible line up of world class teachers: Babara B Fakoly, Monette Marino, Sidiki Dembele, Aida Diop, plus one other master drummer yet to be announced as well as supporting top class teachers assisting you along the way.

Enjoy weekend workshops presented on all levels and in all disciplines from complete Beginner to Advanced. Freely move between workshops with ease and at your own pace, graduate between levels - test them out, but don't get caught out - this culture can be demanding on the hands and feet.  Take the opportunity to fully understand how the dance connects with the drumming and vice versa.  Learn the core fundamentals of this fascinating culture from the ground up.  There is no other event like the Wooden Roots Experience and their ethos is to ensure that all the artists are respectfully paid and with the correct supporting artists in all the workshops - we think you will agree.

You will end your weekend with a spectacular performance in the main concert hall which is renowned for presenting top class artists from around the world. Tickets for the concert are sold separately and they are released by the end of April 2024 HOWEVER if you purchase a ticket to the Wooden Roots Experience you automatically receive a pre-sale email with a discount code.  Concert tickets will range from £10-£35.

Gold standard ticket includes starting your weekend at a very special SMOKE N’Drums event at Wooden Roots HQ on Friday evening 6-10pm where you will get to meet all the artists that will be teaching and supporting this incredible weekend.


Book your tickets now to secure your place and avoid disappointment.

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Friday 2 - Sunday 4 August, 2024
Snape Maltings in Snape,Suffolk

Wooden Roots Experience Tickets

Wooden Roots Experience Location & Travel

Wooden Roots Experience Location & Travel

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Wooden Roots Experience FAQs

Wooden Roots Experience takes place Friday 2nd - Sunday 4th August, 2024.

Wooden Roots Experience is held at Snape Maltings in Snape, Suffolk.

With a history as an industrial site stretching back over 175 years, the roots of Snape Maltings as it exists today were planted by the composer Benjamin Britten and landowner George Gooderham, who both recognised the potential of the striking Maltings buildings and their stunning location. It is now a unique and world class music and arts venue with bustling shops, cafes and art galleries in a small village called Snape, a 10 minute drive from Aldeburgh.

Aldeburgh is on the beautiful Suffolk coastline with award winning fish and chips shops, art galleries and independent shops. Snape Maltings was chosen as the  venue as it is in the organiser's backyard, they already collaborate with Britten Pears Arts on other projects throughout the year and they wanted you to enjoy the experience & beauty of this incredible venue. WOODEN ROOTS EXPERIENCE is brought to you by Wooden Roots Ltd. in collaboration with Britten Pears Arts at Snape Maltings.

It is an opportunity for you to be completely engulfed in a one of kind learning experience with high quality & authentic instruction where you will connect with your rhythmic sensitivity & further explore your love of traditional West African drumming by playing djembe & dundun drums alongside other like minded people from around the country & world.  They will provide you with an unforgettable experience, whether you are new to this genre of music, improving on your playing standard and understanding or an advanced player of many years.

It is a monthly event held at Wooden Roots headquarters, a 10 minute drive from Snape Maltings. The ethos for SMOKE N’Drums is simply that they cook/smoke food on the Wooden Roots Original Jerk Pan smoker grill and then drum.  SMOKE N’Drums on 2nd August 2024 will bring the heat with an exclusive “Meet n’Greet” where you can unwind from your travels, meet your teachers and drum to kick off the weekend. You can watch your teachers in action and of course you are welcome to JOIN IN! This is open to everyone, and tickets will go on sale alongside the workshop tickets but get them QUICK as it’s limited capacity!

They have the wonderful Babara B. Fakoly flying in from Brussels and Monette Marino flying in from San Diego, California who will both headline this event. They will be joined by Aida Diop (Senegal) who will be running West African dance workshops & dance demonstrations with her team of advanced dancers. Sidiki Dembele (Ivory Coast) will accompany Aida and be teaching core fundamentals of how to drum for dance class (advanced drummers only) and they also have one more Master drummer yet to announce. There will also be Marcus Brown of Wooden Roots and other supporting artists to be announced, but rest assured you will not be disappointed with any of the lineup. For those of you that have taken classes at Wooden Roots with Marcus, the workshops at Wooden Roots Experience will be in the same true and authentic vein so you will feel very comfortable learning from Barbara, Monette and anyone else that they announce.

Traditional West African djembes or dundun drums i.e. djembes or dunun from West African that have been hand carved and headed with a goat or a cow skin and that are properly tuned so that they sound tonally correct. Non authentic or non traditional “look alike” drums will NOT be allowed in to the workshops like Remo, LP, Meinl, Toca to name a few. If you do not have an authentic djembe you can rent one.

BEGINNER 1 - Very simply put, you are completely new to traditional West African drumming and instruments and you need to start with the basics. They have the perfect teachers to guide you and bring you up to speed and who knows, by the end of Saturday you may be looking to be in an IMPROVER class on Sunday! Starting out correctly is important and you need to know that you are playing authentic sounds - Instruments used need to be authentic, properly maintained and tuned to the ensemble.

BEGINNER 2 - Once you graduate from Beginner 1 you will go immediately to the Beginner 2 class and this is where you will step up your knowledge and technique with the goal to keep moving up and into the Improver class.

IMPROVER - Let’s say that you have been taking weekly classes for some time, you are familiar with BASS, TONE & SLAP, can identify calls, breaks and pick up extended breaks relatively quickly. You are happy to play dunduns in class once you are familiar with the rhythm. You may know a couple of passport accompaniments. As you continue in your studies it is critical that you using the correct authentic instruments - Instruments used need to be authentic, properly maintained and tuned to the ensemble.

INTERMEDIATE - An intermediate drummer is confident with a number of different accompaniment patterns and is used to learning solo phrases, breaks and can play these competently with a group. You would be expected to play dunduns without much direction during a class workshop. Their instruments are authentic, properly maintained and tuned to the ensemble.

ADVANCED - An advanced drummer is expected to be confident playing complex djembe phrases on their own, can place calls correctly against the dundun patterns and has a wide knowledge of the different types of rhythms. Playing techniques like the slap and tone notes can be clearly identified when playing challenging phrases. Their instruments are authentic, properly maintained and tuned to the ensemble. Proficient at playing traditional dunduns and can maintain the correct tempo within the duration of the rhythm. Does not need to use music notes while playing live and can fully engage with the other drummers to make sure that the music is tonally correct.

Yes - it will be posted on big posters in the Hoffman Building where you get your teas & coffees. All the classes will be signposted so you know where to go and they will have volunteer staff that can help you transport your djembe’s if required and show you where to go. Registration will be at 9.00am each day in the Hoffman Building and all classes will start at 9.30am. If you are renting a drum please ensure that you arrive at 9.00am to select it from the Box Office in The Hoffman Building. All ticket holders will be provided with all the information they need for the weekend via email prior to the event.

Wooden Roots' ethos is that we all learn better when in smaller focussed groups. The Wooden Roots Experience will strive to maintain that each workshop will have a capacity of approx 15 to 50 students per level and depending on the room size. Every class will have qualified full dundun support . Some of the room capacities can take over 100 students which will give you a sense of the size rooms they have access to. You will also have the opportunity to experience all the teachers at all the different levels each day but of course the optimal experience will be to attend for the full weekend package.

The Snape Maltings site has a variety of eateries, shops, coffee shops as well as a deli. If you are on a budget please feel free to bring a packed lunch each day and enjoy eating by the river on a blanket. There will be urns with complimentary tea, coffee & water in the Hoffman Building where you can help yourself throughout the weekend. A large Tesco and Waitrose are located at Saxmundham, a 10 minute drive from Snape Maltings where you will also find chip shops and other eateries. For evening food, there is an onsite restaurant River View Cafe, or there is an on-site pub called the Plough & Sail. In Snape village itself (5 min walk) there are a couple of pubs. Further afield (10 min drive) there is Aldeburgh with its award winning fish and chip shops.