News

Mike Preston

25th Aug 2019

We are sad to announce the passing of Mike Preston, a co-founder of Sore Fingers Week. Mike passed away Saturday 10th August, peacefully in his sleep.

Mike’s funeral is scheduled as follows:

Monday 2nd September

Open Service at Combe Raleigh Church
12:00 Noon

The Service will be followed by a reception at the local village Hall
(opposite the Church)
Combe Raleigh is just north of Honiton in Devon. The postcode is EX14 4AG.
Mike always said he wanted a no-nonsense funeral and big party after, so that is the plan.

Mike’s Contribution to the British Bluegrass Scene

Mike hadn’t been active on the Bluegrass scene since separating with his partner Andrea Waters about twenty years ago. He was last seen at Kingham Hill at the 20th Sore Fingers Week when he made a brief appearance for the tutor concert.

Mike was for several years BBMA secretary and was behind a number of positive initiatives that brought benefit to the scene. He and Andrea managed the BBMA “Youth All Stars Band” and secured festival spots to feature up and coming young musicians. Many of whom are still around. He also masterminded a grant application from the newly established National Lottery to obtain funds to develop the BBMA.

Mike and Andrea were to be seen at most of the Bluegrass festivals surrounded by a lively group of youngsters. They also performed at many events with their family based band “Same Train Different Teapot”. Mike was an accomplished banjo player. They produced two albums.

Mike and Andrea also ran an annual festival at a school near Cadnam on the border of the New Forest in Hampshire.

But it will be for their vision to bring the Bluegrass Camp concept over to the UK and after a visit to the Augusta Heritage Centre, the idea took shape. A chance visit to Kingham Hill School for an Austin Vintage car rally - Mike was also a vintage car enthusiast – and the perfect venue was found.

In April 1998, the first Sore Fingers Week took place with three classes, Banjo with Pete Wernick, Guitar/Mandolin with Jody Stecher ad Harmony Singing with Kate Brislin.
Though only 50 odd students attended that inaugural event, the dye was cast and the spirit which would go on to prevail foe the next twenty five years was set in stone.

We owe Mike (and Andrea) a huge debt of gratitude for their enterprise in starting Sore Fingers Week and though they haven’t be directly involved for along time now, many people are and will benefit from that original vision.

Thank you Mike Preston and rest in peace.

John & Moira Wirtz

View news index