From the bush, to the beach, to the Blue Mountains, there are some seriously awesome venues for festivals in Australia. There are also, however, plenty of fist-pumping, muscled meatheads in singlets. For those looking for something a bit more stripped back and authentic, we’re here to help. Here are a handful of folk festivals that we recommend for a real genuine festival experience.
Port Fairy Folk Festival
Drive four hours west of Melbourne for this amazing festival by the oceans of the south-west coast. This year is the festival’s 40th and they’re going big. Running from 11th – 14th March 2016, you’ll be able to catch “something old, something new, something blue” with a line-up including Jaaleekaay and Songhoy Blues; Ireland’s Luka Blook, Róisín O and Rambling Boys; contemporary trendsetters like Kate Miller-Heidke and Robert Forster; great local talents such as Tom Richardson, the Howard family, Lost in Suburbia and loads more.
National Folk Festival
How does “5 days in a perfect world” sound? Pretty peachy? Yeah, we think so too. That’s how the National Folk Festival describes their celebrations running from 24th-28th March 2016. Head to the country’s capital for not only folk music but also dance, spoken word, circus and street performers. Held in Canberra’s Exhibition Park, performers will include Frencham Smith, The Beez, Castlecomer, Women in Docs, 19-Twenty, All Our Exes Live in Texas and loads more.
Woodford Folk Festival
Taking place in a rural valley surrounded by bushland about an hour-and-a-half drive north of Brisbane, this is folk-fest at its finest. With a festival programme that features concerts to writers’ panels, comedy to arts and crafts, cabaret to folk medicine, it’s just as well Woodford is held over 6 days and nights from 27th December 2016 – 1st January 2017. Artists that have previously performed include the Paul McKenna Band, Irish Mythen, The East Pointer, Josh Pyke and Lanie Lane. What better way to ring in your new year!
Illawarra Folk Festival
Kick off your 2017 with this four day festival running from 13th-16th January 2017. Bulli Showground NSW hosts this hot ticket and 2016’s folk extravaganza, which has already wrapped up, had big folk names on offer such as Kutcha Edwards, Dougie MacLean, The Poozies, Ami Williamson, Shane Howard, Mick Thomas and Alma Mater. Head south of Sydney for this authentic folk festival experience.
Blue Mountains Music Festival
Katoomba, the most visited town in the magical Blue Mountains, sits on the edge of the UNESCO World Heritage listed wilderness. The area’s own folklore includes the stunning Three Sisters, so where better for a folk festival. Taking place from 18th-20th March 2016, the line-up boasts folk, roots, blues and indie music from artists such as Shellie Morris, Colin Hay, Mary Black, Ann McCue, Buckman Coe, Dave Spry and a whole host of others. Not that you ever needed an excuse for a trip to the Blue Mountains, but this is a great one.
By Amy Leonard