Happy 7th Birthday Timber and Steel

Happy Birthday

“There is nothing more to be said or to be done tonight, so hand me over my violin and let us try to forget for half an hour the miserable weather and the still more miserable ways of our fellowmen”
― Arthur Conan Doyle, The Five Orange Pips

I’ve been attending The National Folk Festival on and off since I was a kid, but it was following my first year at University (1999 for those of you playing at home) where I seriously made an effort to make it to Canberra every Easter long weekend. I’ve volunteered a number of years (especially when I was a penniless student) and been a regular punter. I’ve also covered the festival for the last few years for Timber and Steel and last year I even cameoed on stage with Bloodwood and Dave Oakes.

But 2017 was the first time I found myself with an official National Folk Festival performer wristband and a swathe of gigs over the course of the weekend. I’d convinced my good friend Sally Balfour to apply this year and she did on the provision that I join her on stage as the fiddle player in her band. As luck would have it the Northern Territory was one of this year’s feature states and with Sally being based in Darwin she was accepted onto the bill along with yours truly.

Gareth and Sally

And so it was I was able to tick a major item off my bucket list. When I attended my first Canberra National Folk Festival in 1999 I could never have imagined that 18 years later I’d be up on the same stage as so many of my musical heroes. Not in my wildest dreams.

While my appearance at The National has nothing to do with Timber and Steel, and has everything to do with Sally Balfour’s amazing songwriting, I’d like to think I wouldn’t have found myself up on that stage without this blog.

Without Timber and Steel I probably wouldn’t have attended every National Folk Festival for the last seven years. Without Timber and Steel I wouldn’t have felt a part of the folk music community in the same way I do now – I have a feeling I would have remained a spectator, never peering behind the performer curtain. Without Timber and Steel I would never have pushed Sally Balfour to apply for The National, let alone ever assume that I’d be playing fiddle right there beside her.

For seven years Timber and Steel has opened doors into the folk music community for me. Without the blog I would still be the biggest fan of this music but I doubt I would have even considered crossing the line between spectator and performer.

Seven years is a long time to have spent on this little “hobby” and sometimes I need to remind myself why I do it (for the love of the music!). But whenever I take a step back and look at everything I’ve achieved, every door that’s been opened, every friendship I’ve forged, I can’t help but feel proud.

Thank you so much for continuing to indulge me on my folk music journey.

Happy 7th Birthday Timber and Steel!

Gareth Hugh Evans
Editor in Chief

3 Comments

  1. mackajay said,

    May 4, 2017 at 13:16

    … love your work Gareth, thanks for all the hard work, passion and love you’ve put in.

  2. Oakes said,

    May 5, 2017 at 03:40

    And with the work you have put in. And the dedication to the genre. You deserve every friend, every accolade and every just dessert. You have earned your stripes and I will have you play with me any day of the week .. Congratulations Gareth this Timber and Steel has been your “rites of passage”, I’m glad you have arrived.

  3. May 5, 2017 at 14:05

    […] “Without Timber and Steel I probably wouldn’t have attended every National Folk Festival for the last seven years. Without Timber and Steel I wouldn’t have felt a part of the folk music community in the same way I do now – I have a feeling I would have remained a spectator, never peering behind the performer curtain. Without Timber and Steel I would never have pushed Sally Balfour to apply for The National, let alone ever assume that I’d be playing fiddle right there beside her” – Gareth Hugh Evans celebrated our 7th Birthday. Blog here […]


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