The Melon Ground Sessions

As we dare to peer over the lockdown horizon into May we thought we’d offer something musical that is safe and rather special. 

We’re not encouraging singing outdoors until we know it’s absolutely safe but in the meantime we’re planning some outdoor instrumental events with some of the best players in The Midlands. All hosted by the irrepressible guitarist extraordinaire Vo Fletcher.

The music will range across all genres – we kid you not, from standards that you know and love to inspirational improvisations as our musicians get the first chance for over a year to do what they all love – playing with other people. 

We’ll settle down in the gorgeous Melon Ground with numbers limited to just 50 so that we can all be close to the performers but safely distanced from each other seated at tables. Speaking of tables there’ll be a selection of wines, beers and soft drinks with some excellent artisan pies to snack on if you’re peckish. 

Music will commence at 7pm but you’re welcome to arrive from 6pm if you’d like a stroll around our gorgeous gardens whilst you’re here. We’ll aim to finish around 9m. In the event of inclement weather we’ll set up under our stretch tent on the archery lawn where we can all stay dry whilst still being outdoors. 

Entry is £12 and pre-booking is essential click here to buy your tickets


Here’s the schedule of players:

May 27th Vo will be joined by Violinist Ric Sanders

June 10th Vo will be joined by Pianist Phil Bond

June 24th Vo will be joined by guitarist and oud player Sam Slater



Learn more about the musicians joining us here:


Vo Fletcher

In a long and varied career Vocalist/Guitarist Vo Fletcher has played, recorded and toured with: Nigel Kennedy, Fairport Convention, the Ric Sanders Group, Rik Mayall, Tuxedo Bay, Touch & Go, The Albion Morris Band, Catherine Howe and Brent Ford & The Nylons to name but a few. He used to be a presenter on Channel 5 but he’s alright now. 


Ric Sanders

Ric was born and brought up in Birmingham. He joined Fairport Convention in 1985. 

The violin was Ric’s first love and he took up the instrument as a youngster. His first professional engagement was in 1972, touring Europe with Stomu Yamashta’s Red Buddah Theatre. 

During the mid-1970s Ric was in demand as a jazz soloist and worked with, among others, Michael Garrick, Johnny Patrick and legendary jazz pianist Jaques Dieval. In the late 1970s, Ric pursued both his folk and jazz interests as a member of, respectively, The Albion Band and Soft Machine. He toured and recorded with both bands. With The Albion Band, Ric performed at the National Theatre.

In 1980, Ric and Soft Machine guitarist John Etheridge formed Second Vision. They recorded an album and toured extensively. Ric next teamed up with guitarist Vo Fletcher in music education projects: the duo supported a Musicians Union initiative in schools and recorded for BBC television. 

Since 1985, Ric has played full-time with Fairport Convention but has continued to take an active interest in jazz and other musical forms. He has collaborated with June Tabor, Andrew Cronshaw and Martin Simpson among others and also recorded solo albums and a violin tuitional introduced by Jools Holland. His session credits include Roy Harper, Jethro Tull, Strawbs, Pentangle, Gerry Rafferty, Loudon Wainwright III, Robert Plant, The Fureys, and Ashley Hutchings among many others. 

As well as Fairport Convention, Ric has his own trio, The Ric Sanders Trio, with Vo Fletcher and Mike Gregory. The group performs a wide repertoire of jazz and good time blues


Phil Bond

Phil Bond, born in Worcester playing professionally since the age of 18. Worked with Del Shannon, Henry Lowther, Fish, Dana arBras, Fairports, Dylan Project, Syrian musicians, Irish musicians and SGB. Resident musician/composer at Liverpool Children’s Theatre.

Written music for the BBC, Art exhibitions and much more. 

Has been ‘pianist for hire’. Slept on couches, worked ships, busked around Europe, played 5star hotels and played in most European capitals. Always writing and playing, based in Birmingham most of his life, lived and worked all over the planet. 


Sam Slater

Sam is a musician, composer and producer, playing guitars and the Arabic Oud for a number of eclectic jazz, world and roots music projects, alongside long-standing touring and writing with the critically acclaimed gypsy jazz, flamenco and contemporary classical instrumental band TG Collective, and Anglo-Polish singer songwriter Katy Carr.  He has performed worldwide, from the mountains of Bulgaria and castles of Spain, to the many festivals and concert halls of the UK, and car parks of southern Serbia!

Sam also directs the jazz-inspired Birmingham record label and artist development indie, Stoney Lane Records, and live producers/programmers Mubu Music.

He has played on live sessions from BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends to Poland’s Trójka Radio, with his music featured on television from NBC and ESPN to the BBC, ITV and CBeebies!  In 2020, he won Best Crime/Investigative Track from the American PMA Mark Awards for his co-composed string quartet, A Curious Voyage.



  1. Dear Helen we have been in touch with the Castle Brimwich Gardens but no response since 2019. We are Claret and Interested in playing our Folk Roots and a blend of Early music at the Gardens. We play a regular feature at the Tamworth Medieval spectacular. Vocals, flute, recorders guitars mandolin, with some modern ballads to with hints of jazz. Willing to get cover for our Thursday Evening Music club we run in Tamworth for a Thursday evening music spot.
    We just discovered this event today. Happy to look at other events too. We can cater for full ceilidh with caller too once Covid restrictions allow.
    We are public liability covered.
    Please let us know your terms.
    Thankyou. We look forward to you considering us.
    Sandra and Tim Robinson.
    Claret Duo/Trio
    We are based in Sutton Coldfield.

    • Glynis Powell says:

      Hi Sandra, Not sure who the Helen is that you are mentioning and really sorry if you think theres been no response since 2019. I can now see that you have emailed our current address and someone will be in touch soon. Glad you saw our Melon Ground Sessions, it was a great night last night and curated by our business manager John Mostyn. Best wishes Glynis (General Manager)

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