Image Courtesy of Fanny Lumsden
If you venture to Alice Springs over the Queens Birthday long weekend this year (the 5th to 8th June) you’ll be greeted at the airport with an interesting juxtaposition. Collecting their bags and swags from the baggage carrousel will be Australia’s off-road motor sport enthusiest, in town for the Finke Desert Race – two days of bikes and buggies roaring through the desert at breakneck speeds. But dotted amongst the rev-heads will be the odd banjo and fiddle case, fisherman cap and bearded faces as folkies flock to the red centre for the 2015 Top Half Folk Festival.
Held on alternate years in Mary River near Darwin and Glen Helen, 130kms west of Alice Springs, the Top Half Folk Festival is one of the best small, community run festivals in the country. As mentioned it’s Central Australia’s turn this year and the venue couldn’t be more stunning – the beautiful Glen Helen gorge on the banks of the Finke River (the same river that gives its name to the motor race – although thankfully the revs of engines and the twangs of folkies are separated by hundreds of kilometres and won’t disturb each other.
This is the Top Half Folk Festival’s 45th year and they’ve announced a very special headliner in Sydney alt-country singer-songwriter Fanny Lumsden along with as many of her Thrillseekers she can drag north. The rest of the lineup this year is still being finalised (and the organisers are still taking expressions of interest from musician’s willing to donate their talents) and there will be a focus on youth performers with many of the town’s ex-pat folkies making the trip home especially. Yours truly included.