We are excited to announce our September 2021 songwriting 
workshop retreat to be held in Kinglake, Victoria
September 23 - 26, 2021
Places are strictly limited to 12
Residential and non-residential spots are available. 


This writers retreat and workshop is for songwriters of all levels who are looking for a way to establish and/or develop their songwriting skills, learn how to finish a song, refine their song and record their song.

David and Merelyn together with multi-award winner Luke Austen and another award-winning songwriter (to be announced after Tamworth) will deliver workshops and also focus one on one with each participant. We will focus on techniques and processes that will enable you to freely express your ideas on paper and then into a song - ready to be recorded. 

Becoming a more skilful songwriter will allow you confidently pursue opportunities for your songs to be recorded either by yourself or other artists and open the doorway to an incredible world of creativity.


  • Golden Guitar Winning songwriters

  • 12 National #1 hits radio hits

  • International and National songwriting award winners in multiple genres including Country, Rock, Pop, Gospel and Childrens music


  • Multi Golden Guitar Winning songwriter

  • Director of the CMAA Country Music Academy

  • Prolific songwriter who is sought after to write with record label acts as well as many independent acts.


  • ARIA and 3 times Golden Guitar Finalist

  • One of the youngest Australians to perform at the Grand Ole Opry

  • Written with Adam Harvey, Jim Lauderdale, Gina Jeffreys, and many more well-known International writers.

If you want to know more about multi-award-winning songwriters Carter & Carter click here:

If you want to know more about Golden Guitar winner Lyn Bowtell click here:

If you would like to know more about multi-award winner Angus Gill click here:

Because the workshop is limited to 12 participants it means that we will have the flexibility to address issues of individuals and adjust the workshop sessions to best address the needs of the participants.

Some of the topics that will be covered are: 

  • Finding song ideas that engage

  • How to write using a drumbeat to start

  • How to find a melody that will stick in peoples heads

  • Analysing hit songs

  • Understanding the structure of songs

  • Finding the right chords

  • The art of rhyming

  • Keeping your song interesting with dynamics and contrast

  • Understanding how our creative brain works

  • Basic Garage Band or similar recording programs

  • How to record your songs at home

  • Polishing your song

  • Making your song fit commercial criteria

  • Network and why it's important

  • And much more


Upon booking, you can tell us your songwriting experiences so far and we will tailor your course to meet your needs.

The gorgeous Cheeky Fox Retreat is an amazing B&B accommodation just 1km from our farm.  You will be accommodated there, with all meals provided, including morning and afternoon teas, light lunches and Friday & Saturday night meals.


We also want you to have a great visit to our beautiful part of the world, so we are planning a trip to the local waterfalls (both within 8 kms of our home) on the local minibus which we will hire for the weekend to move us around.   The Kinglake Pub is also a great place to stop for a drink and if you are hungry between meals you can savour treats from Flying Tarts Bakery.  There will be opportunities to visit our farm, get close with the 50+ animals, and generally soak up the awesome environment.  You can actually see the back paddock of Hilltop Farm from Cheeky Fox Retreat – one day we might install a flying fox to transport us from The Cheeky Fox!


Here are the important details:

Date:  Sept 23 - 26th.  Plan to arrive Thursday evening if not local.

Travel: You are responsible to get yourselves here.  If you are driving we will, of course, provide good instructions and if you intend to fly in, please see below.

Transfers:  For those flying in from interstate we will coordinate your arrival times on Thursday and collect you in the minibus to bring you to Kinglake (approx.. 70 mins from the airport depending on the time of day).  And return you on Sunday evening or Monday morning.  Accommodation is all included (on a shared room basis) as are all meals, drinks etc. (except for alcohol).  We anticipate you will arrive Thursday afternoon and leave Sunday afternoon.  Three nights accommodation are provided, however, if you wish to extend your stay that can be arranged at The Cheeky Fox Retreat or you might like to visit some other local areas.  If you stay on for further nights, you will need to find your own way back to the airport, but please talk to us about it - we might have something up our sleeve.


Payment Plan: 

Non - Residential: We have a limited number of non-residential spots available. These spots do not include accommodation.

Fee is $800 plus GST - Several payments plans are available as shown below

  1.   $440 deposit upon booking.  Then $440 balance four weeks before the retreat starts. 

  2.   Fortnightly or weekly payment plans available upon request by calling 0416 075 638

Residential: We have a strictly limited number of residential spots available. These spots include all accommodation and meals.

Accommodation is on a shared room basis.  The weekend is an all-ages retreat.

Fee is $1000 plus GST - Several payments plans are available as shown below

  1.   $550 deposit upon booking.  Then $550 balance four weeks before the retreat starts. 

  2.   Fortnightly or weekly payment plans available upon request by calling 0416 075 638


Invoices will be issued and some of you may be able to claim the trip on your tax

Refund Policy:  As you will appreciate there is no funding for this event and to secure the tutors and accommodation, catering etc, we need to be assured of numbers.  For this reason, course fees are not refundable, but if for some extreme reason you cannot attend at the last minute, please let us know and we will discuss options to book you in for a future retreat.  The first $550 of the deposit is not negotiable as we have made a commitment to tutors, accommodation and catering.  Thanks for your understanding.

COVID Restrictions Policy: Due to the events of 2020 and the COVID restriction lockdowns that can occur our policy is :

  • If COVID restrictions occur and impact the date of the retreat, the weekend will be rescheduled as soon as practicable and all deposits, payments and places will be honoured in the rescheduled retreat dates.

  • The Cheeky Fox Retreat has a COVID safety plan that will be emailed to all participants in the weeks leading up to the retreat.

Venue:  Cheeky Fox Retreat – 1km from our farm.

HOW TO BOOK:  Call us on 0416 075 638.  Payment can be made via direct deposit (preferred option) to Crestway Music BSB 733044  A/c 500638.  A credit card will be accepted with a small extra fee to cover Pay Pal costs (approx $20 on the total amount).  Or you can go old school and send us a cheque! Need to know more before you book?:  Call us – 0416 075 638

About Cheeky Fox Retreat

Cheeky Fox Retreat offers a private, inspiring country location to work and relax for groups of up to 12 people.  Situated on 50 private acres with spectacular views over the Kinglake Ranges, the Retreat itself is a large six-bedroom home with features including a large living space with wood heater, boardroom/dining room, award winning kitchen, library, and private cinema.  We will also utilise the private cinema and set it up with some basic recording equipment so you can record your ideas as you go along.

Outside, guests have exclusive access to a solar heated swimming pool with stunning views, the house grounds and over 2 kilometres of private bush tracks to explore. Cheeky Fox Retreat is also home to some local farm animals including 30 sheep.

Contact Us

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