Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Folkie

It always feels like we're on another planet at the Folkie (Canberra's National Folk Festival - an Easter institution since 1966)...a planet where creativity, giving and sharing, and children, are the top priorities, where whales are safe, refugees are welcomed and food is organic and fair trade, and where every second person is wearing a felted pixie cap and/or Doc Martens. 

It's wonderful, of course, and we'd really like to live on this planet a lot more often.

 We only had a day pass this year - so missed a LOT of acts. There's so much on offer: hundreds of concerts, music and craft workshops, buskers, street performers, art happenings, stalls and lots of food choices. You'd really need a four day pass to get the most out of the festival.

We really enjoyed the Rusty Spring Syncopators, a Sydney band who play with a "cruel brand of crusty blues, rusty rags and manky-janky jazz".  (Mental note - must make sure we go to see them at the Petersham Bowling Club sometime)

My hero Archie Roach was a big name drawcard for the festival this year - He gave an incredibly generous lunchtime concert in the Budawang Pavillion - and seemed much stronger than when we saw him in concert in Sydney early last year.

But the best part of the day for us was meeting up with Lotte and David and their three boys, a great music making family from Wollongong, and old friends of ours. David is the director of the "Con Artists", an alternative community band  that is part of the Wollongong Conservatorium of Music Program.

The band plays music from all around the world - including Klezmer (the exuberant music of Eastern European jews), Celtic, African, Gypsy and New Orleans - all with a jazz fusion overlay.

Lotte is a trained opera singer and sings with the Con Artists occasionally - it was amazing to hear her singing Macedonian folk songs like they were on speed.

We loved seeing David playing with his two big talented boys: 16yo Miles on trumpet and 14yo Marley on trombone (that's him half obscured in the pic below wearing the wool poncho).

 And 5yo Lonnie doing a great job (mostly) on percussion.

We spent a long while catching up after the Con Artists gig - until the sun was setting and Canberra's first bout of really cold weather started to roll in and settle on the crowds at Folkie 2014. It eventually went down to 0oC - making me feel really sorry for all those festival goers camped under canvas.

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