The Fretful Federation: Home




Hello and welcome to the Fretful Federation's website. Find here information about who we are, current and past events, resources and how to contact us.

Brighton's very own mandolin orchestra currently has 25 players from Brighton and the surrounding areas. The group was founded in 1995 by Ian Harris with the goal of reviving the tradition of mandolin orchestras, which were hugely popular in the UK up until the 1930s. In April 2012 Ian passed the Musical Director baton to Lindsay Stoner.

Originally playing pieces typical of mandolin orchestras from the beginning of the twentieth century, the Fretful Federation has always been expanding and developing its repertoire. We now play a wide range of material including exciting contemporary music by living composers, as well as classical and popular pieces and concertos, and have collaborated with other mandolin orchestras, choirs and the Early Music group The Pastores Ensemble. We have also been lucky enough to play with some talented soloists of other instruments.

The music is written in part form for mandolins, mandolas, mandocellos, mandobass, percussion and guitars. We welcome new recruits playing any of these instruments or their relative bowed cousins -- the violin family -- from beginners to advanced players. We perform concerts all over Sussex and have toured abroad.

We have been selected for the Adopt a Composer scheme 2017/18. See main menu above for information.


Listen to some of our new live recordings here on SoundCloud

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Upcoming concerts


Mar 2 Friday
Davison High School, Worthing BN11 2JX. 5:00pm

The BMG (banjo, mandolin, guitar) Festival will take place in Worthing this year and we are hosting it! The venue will be the Davison High School for Girls, the date 2nd to 4th March. It all kicks off on Friday evening with a concert given by the wonderful Dutch guitar and mandolin duo, Marijke & Michiel Wiesenekker. They play a captivating variety of styles including pop, rock, bluegrass, folk, jazz and classical and are brilliant musicians. (Check them out here -...

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Apr 14 Saturday
St John the Evangelist Church, Burgess Hill, West Sussex. RH15 9AA. 7:30pm

Our first concert of the year with plenty of new material.

May 22 Tuesday
St George's Church, St Georges Road, Brighton, BN2 1ED.. 7:30pm

Once again we will be playing the Brighton Fringe as we do every year. This time we are very excited to be sharing the bill with a brilliant professional ensemble from America and we will perform seperately and together. More to follow.