CC November Masthead

Sparrow-folk soar high at Comedy Festival

Emily Allen

The much loved Canberra Comedy Festival kicked off earlier this week with a huge gala event at the Canberra Theatre Centre star-studded with Akmal, Cal Wilson, Sammy J & Randy, Nick Cody, Wil Sylvince, (USA), Urzila Carlson (NZ), Ronny Chieng and more. On the bill alongside these comedy greats stand our very own, locally ‘hatched’ Sparrow-Folk. Juliet Moody and Catherine Crowley (alter egos Lark and Fox respectively) will be playing shows both tonight and Saturday night as part of the 60 shows in a six-day festival.

The girls took out ABC TV’s Exhumed Competition (ACT) two years ago now and have recently watched their now viral, satirical video clip about breastfeeding ‘Ruin Your Day’ reach one million views across YouTube and Vimeo.

Sensing the clip would get at least a little attention due to its subject matter and past media attention, they were astounded as they watched the views grow.

“We were asked onto the Today Show when it was at around 2,000 views…then it grew to 10,000. Never did we think it would reach one million. Around six to eight months ago I had a conversation with Cathy and said ‘Wouldn’t it be great if more people than live in Canberra saw it!?’ Countries around the world are seeing it. We get little reports about which ones—the third most popular country in the past month has been Slovenia! It has gone beyond our wildest dreams,” Juliet says.

Testing the waters to an intimate backyard of their nearest and dearest ‘nestie’ friends back in February, Sparrow-Folk’s official SuBIRDia album launch will be through the Canberra Comedy Festival. They’ve also taken their show to the Adelaide Fringe receiving multiple 5-star reviews:

Not to be missed.” ★★★★★ The Advertiser

Gut-bustingly hilarious.” ★★★★★ Adelaide Theatre Guide

With a tongue-in-cheek focus, they are really unpacking the suburban, urban way of life with this show.

“We’re excited to come home and launch it properly, we feel very at home. Canberra always provides a very welcoming and loving group of fans,” says Juliet.

“It’s incredible to be billed alongside such huge acts. One of the best elements of doing festivals in either Adelaide or Canberra is that you get exposure to people that have been your comedy idols for a long time.

We read articles and see our name alongside people like Cal Wilson and Peter Hellier—people that we idolised and have taken a lot of notice of in the past, particularly when we were starting out with our comedy shows.”

Over the past few years, Canberra has seen its comedy scene grow from just a few locations and competition outlets, to having multiple venues peppered throughout the city with the Festival attracting 7,600 punters last year and this year performing across town at the Canberra Theatre Centre, ANU Arts Centre, Novotel Canberra, The Civic Pub, Enlighten and Dendy Cinemas.

Sparrow-Folk first considered themselves to be folk musicians in the early days and were thrilled when Comedy ACT contacted them and offered a few spots.

“It’s an incredibly supportive scene in Canberra, you meet people along the way and they tell you about their experiences. Once ‘Ruin Your Day’ began to get noticed, we started to get invited to different gigs and festivals. It’s been such a supportive and encouraging environment for us.

It is a great way to connect with other comedians working in Canberra and to work on projects together. It’s going from strength to strength, in the wider arts community too. The support for Canberra and its artists in general is incredible and we’re very unique in that way.”

When the girls started out, they believed that what they were creating seemed so different to what was available. They laugh about it now, but decided they would create their own genre of music – Glam-folk. Sound-wise they had a folk element, and really didn’t take themselves too seriously. They love to dress up, be glamorous and wear pretty things. People jumped on it and started laughing also.

Sporting mere balloons for an outfit at a recent launch at Dendy, the girls believe ‘The sky is the limit’ for costuming.

“We do consider ourselves to be a little like Lady Gaga in the comedy world, she’s such an incredible idol of ours and we do watch her very closely. We’ve experimented with all sorts of things. Our new show involves not one but two costume changes throughout. Canberra audiences should be very open minded about what to expect from us on stage.”

Speaking in her alter ego Lark, Juliet says they are as passionate about fashion as they are about music.

“We take what we wear seriously and consider ourselves to be ground-breaking like Gaga. We are fashion icons, trendsetters. If people want to mimic us, there are five key elements to our look:

  1. Feathers! Paying homage to our bird idols.
  2. Must always have a feminine or floral element—we are very glamorous.
  3. Hair and makeup are just as important—nothing ever looks bad when you’re wearing red lipstick.
  4. Celebrate your body in whatever shape or form. Never be ashamed of how many pairs of spanks you have to wear to fit into that dress.
  5. Don’t let anyone else tell you what to wear. Be brave.”

The essentials
What: Sparrow-Folk SuBIRDia at the Canberra Comedy Festival
When: 7.00pm Friday March 20 and Saturday March 21
Where: Novotel Hotel, Canberra
How much: $20
Tickets: Available through Try Booking
Web: canberracomedyfestival.com.au

If you miss Sparrow-Folk at this year’s Canberra Comedy Festival, you can be sure to catch them at the National Folk Festival over the Easter long weekend. 

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Emily Allen

Emily has a BA in Journalism and Creative Writing and a subsequent Diploma of Music Industry (Business) after playing in a local orchestra for a number of years. Emily works at the ANU's School of Music and is currently the Communications Coordinator and Secretary for MusicACT and the Marketing and Publicity Coordinator for the Canberra Multicultural Fringe. These role sees her combine her passion for social media, writing, music and arts administration. More about the Author

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