THE sound of autoharps filled Stroud's square outside the Subscription Rooms earlier this month when enthusiasts put on their first taster day.

Members of UK Autoharps gave by-passers the chance to have a go in a free workshop while skilled players demonstrated how it was done, showing off the instruments huge versatility with a wide range of tunes on the Sub Rooms forecourt.

Tutor Mike Fenton, who has taken his travelling autoharp workshop to many of the Five Valleys' schools, was among the performers and led the taster workshop in the George Room.

The event on October 2, which was supported by Stroud Town Council and Riffs music shop, was well-attended by experienced harpers and those new to the instrument.

As well as attracting local enthusiasts, the event brought harpers from further afield, with a Dutch couple coming over from Holland after spotting an advert for the event on the internet two days before.

"It went very well," said harpist Sue Edwards, one of the organisers. "The weather wasn't kind to us in the afternoon but we just carried on inside the Sub Rooms."