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Get Folked!

HerCanberra Team

Five days in a perfect world at the National Folk Festival.

It’s something of an institution. Entering its 49th year, the National Folk Festival attracts over 50,000 people to Canberra every year over the Easter long weekend. That’s more than 1200 performers, 900 hours of entertainment, 1,400 volunteers and between 8,000 and 13, 000 festival-goers through the gates each day!

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With 18 venues set amongst a vibrant streetscape, there are ticketing options to suit the whole family (children under 7 are free) ranging from day, evening, camping and season passes.

The Festival attracts people from all over Australia because of its stellar music program as well as the unique atmosphere it presents—even if you don’t venture into one of the festival venues, there’s so much to take in—from street theatre to immersive hands-on art experiences to roving street choirs, vibrant street parades, a cavalcade of world food up for grabs and some fantastic emerging acts strutting their stuff on the numerous blackboard stages peppered across the festival precinct.

What’s in store

Last night, the full programme was launched, revealing over 200 national and international performers, including 38 Canberra acts. There’s simply not enough room in one article to list all of them, but here are three international acts we’re particularly excited about.

Kvonn

Kvonn is a lively group of musicians from the Faroe Islands that plays traditional and contemporary folk music from Scandinavia. Kvonn’s repertoire includes music composed by the band members, as well as traditional tunes and tunes from the 18th century notebook of Faroese musician and scholar Jens Christian Svabo. Three of the musicians, Sharon Weiss, Ivar Barentsen and Kristian Blak, are regular members of the international, Faroe-based group Splimenninir, that since 1977 has toured widely in Europe, the United States, Japan and Australia playing at folk festivals, dances, clubs, and concerts.

The Outside Track

One of Scotland’s hottest musical exports, The Outside Track simultaneously won Best Group in both the Live Ireland awards and the TIR awards. A stunning synthesis of virtuosity and energy, their marriage of Celtic music, song and dance has been rapturously received around the world. They effortlessly fuse the traditional and contemporary with winning joie de vivre. They blend fiddle, accordion, harp, guitar, whistle, step-dance and vocals with breathtaking vitality. “Among the top groups in the world. Traditional, creative, and brilliant” (Live Ireland).

outside-track

Bob Fox

Bob Fox is from County Durham in the North East of England and is one of Britain’s most respected and internationally acclaimed folk singers. He has been a professional performer since 1975 and during the course of his career has released several award-winning albums. His masterful arrangements and delivery of both traditional and contemporary songs have earned him regular nominations in the BBC Folk Awards. John Tams says Bob “is the last of a great line of North Eastern singers, most probably the last great traditional folk singer we have today”.

More than music

The National Folk Festival is more than musical performances – there are heaps of opportunities to get creative!

ArtefACT is the creative heart of the festival, where festival-goers can mingle with resident artists and craft practitioners, and have some fun creating something to wear, hang up, light up, marvel at, laugh at, splash with colour, twirl around, weave into, redesign, recreate, wrap yourself in, play with or simply just adore.

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Workshops at ArtefACT include: sketching, wood crafting, tie-dyeing, henna, needle felting, crochet, face painting, bookbinding, leatherwork, wet felting, screen printing, origami, and felting in 3D.

There’s also plenty for the mini festival-goers to do! KidzFest is open from 10am to 5pm each day, with concerts on the Carnival Stage, and workshops and activities in the Bite-Sized Circus tent next door. Highlights include Alex and Annette Hood’s Australian Folk Theatre; Mr Tim and The Fuzzy Elbows; Folktales and Furrytales; Spooky Kids’ Concert; and Zucchini Clan.

Want more?

For a full list of the National Folk Festival’s national and international performers, visit the National Folk Festival online. And remember if you’re on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram don’t forget to follow the National Folk Festival and us the official Festival hashtag—#5daysinaperfectworld

The essentials

What: National Folk Festival
When: Easter Long Weekend, Thursday 2 to Monday 6 April
Where: Exhibition Park In Canberra (EPIC), Flemington Road
How much: Prices dependent on ticket pass – see options here.
Web: www.folkfestival.org.au

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