Thank Folk It’s Friday – 15th January

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Sydney singer-songwriter Lissa released her first new music in ages, the single “Run”. Details here

– New Sydney chamber-folk project OM Collective released their cover of Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble”. Details here

Catherine Traicos released her new video “Stolen Wings”. Details here

– Central Coast based band Elwood Myre have announced a full band tour. Details here

– The Cobargo Folk Festival announced its 2016 lineup including The Rambling Boys, The East Pointers, Beth Patterson,Nicola Hayes & Hélène Brunet, Kirsty Bromley, Alistair Brown, Vin Garbutt, Truckstop Honeymoon, Trouble in the Kitchen, Fred Smith & Liz Frenchman, The Backsliders, Daniel Champagne, Danny Spooner, Old Empire Band and many, many more. Details here

– Newcastle duo The Wayward Henrys released their new single “Early Grave”. Details here

– The final artists have been added to the WOMADelaide lineup including De La Soul, Asha Bhosle, Ainslie Wills, Ajak Kwai, Alpine, Apy Choir, Eska, Marcellus Pittman, Sarah Blasko, 숨[su:m] and Tek Tek Ensemble. Details here

– The Top Half Folk Festival have announced their 2016 headliners including Kate Burke and Ruth Hazleton, Bill Jackson and Sonsy. Details here

Reviews

Gigs

“Upon arrival, the utter beauty of the organisation struck us plain and simple – from excellent signage on the roads leading to the venue, through to the process of getting in to the festival, it was all sweet and no fuss. We had wondered how a 3 day festival, that is usually a build up to the penultimate celebration on New Years Eve, would fare when the night in question was in fact the first night of the 3 day affair. It seems that for Byron Bay, the crowd for New Years was good, but instead the numbers grew significantly for the 1st and 2nd January days”KT Bell gives us an overview of this year’s Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Review here

“Over in Lola’s Bar, on New Years Eve, we stumbled upon a likely scene of rag-tag musicians and a tent full of eager punters. It was 2pm but the Button Collective soon had the dance floor packed with joyful revelry. Appearing as a 6-piece line up each day of the Byron stint, the sheer energy and cheer emanating from the stage was infectious”KT Bell chronicles her highlights of this year’s Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Review here

“I feel like I have waited my entire adult life to see a collaboration like Paul Kelly presents The Merri Soul Sessions. On the first day of the new year, I lined myself up in the perfect spot to soak up their entire Valley Stage show. From the get go, it was clear this is a slick set of friends who can bounce off each other and share the stage equally. A cool, soulful beat introduced the ladies and gents to the stage, Vika and Linda Bull, Clairy Browne, Kira Puru and Dan Sultan! The Bull sisters took the reigns with their contributions What You Want and Smells Like Rain that held the crowd captivated. I’ve never seen Dan Sultan as a backup singer but he took to the role well and provided his beautiful timbre to the depths of the harmonies”KT Bell reviews the unmissable acts at this year’s Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Review here

“I think my favourite find for the whole of Festival has to be Oh Wonder, a London-based duo who were performing in Australia for the first time thanks to the Falls Festival. You’ve got to love a band who brings their own stage backdrop, a 2-metre-tall set of light up initials for their band name… which read ‘OW’, It’s probably an appropriate sentiment for the level of hangovers, hair of the dog’s and sunburns that were evident post NYE celebrations”KT Bell recounts the artists she discovered at this year’s Falls Festival in Byron Bay. Review here

“A very special moment was when Out of Abingdon joined Honey on stage for a set including the beautiful rendition of “Blue” by Vince Jones sung by Elizabeth Walton and a haunting stirring version of “Amazing Grace” with Tina from Out of Abingdon’s arced bass. An audience member Craig from Mudgee remarked it was the most moving part of the whole event” – we review Mudgee Music Festival’s Mudsling event. Review here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Deep Down South feat. Lachlan Bryan, Les Thomas, Mr Alford Country, Jemma Nicole, Andrew Swift, Brooke Russell, Tom Dockray, Gretta Ziller

Deep Down South

The best of the Melbourne alt-country scene meander their way up the east coast before arriving in Tamworth for the Tamworth Country Music Festival

Friday 15th January – Hotel Nicholas, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 16th January – Encore, Wollongong, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – The Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – The Tudor, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Dag Sheep Station, Tamworth, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Allison Forbes
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 15th January – Imperial Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 16th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Albert Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Toyota Star Maker Final, Town Hall, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – The Albert Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Longyard Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Southgate Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW

Andrew Swift
Sunday 17th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Post Office Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Albert Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Dag Sheep Station, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Hogs Breath Stage, Tamworth, NSW

Beth Patterson
Tuesday 12th to Sunday 17th January – Ilawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Friday 22nd to Sunday 24th January – Newstead Live Folk Festival, Newstead, VIC

Bluegrass @ Balls Head
Wednesday 20th January – Balls Head Reserve, Sydney, NSW

Boy & Bear
Friday 22nd January – Odeon Theatre, Hobart, TAS

Cake & Cordial Sessions ft. Paddy McHugh, Megan Cooper, Gretta Ziller, Andy Golledge, Brad Butcher
Friday 22nd January – St Paul’s Anglican Church, Tamworth, NSW

Dana Hassall
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Saturday 16th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Country Turns Pink, Blazes @ Wests, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – City Plaza, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – Songhouse Sessions, Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – This One’s For The Girls, South Tamworth Bowls Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Writer’s in the Round, Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Late Night Alt, Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – City Plaza, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – FanZone, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – The Songwriters Round, Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW

Deep Down South feat. Lachlan Bryan, Les Thomas, Mr Alford Country, Jemma Nicole, Andrew Swift, Brooke Russell, Tom Dockray, Gretta Ziller
Friday 15th January – Hotel Nicholas, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 16th January – Encore, Wollongong, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – The Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – The Tudor, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Dag Sheep Station, Tamworth, NSW

Dirty Three
Friday 15th January – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Eagle & The Wolf
Wednesday 20th January – House Concert, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – The Longyard, Tamworth, NSW

Elwood Myre
Sunday 17th January – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Monday 18th January – Frog and Toad, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – Fanzone Stage, Peel St, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – The Family Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Frog and Toad, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Late Night Alt at the Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Blazes Showroom at Wests, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Capitol Theatre, The Songwriters Round, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Longyard Deck, Tamworth, NSW

FolkSwagon feat. Mystery Guest Headliner, Elliot Maginot, The Campervan Dancers
Wednesday 20th January – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Illawarra Folk Festival
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – Bulli, NSW

Imogen Clark
Sunday 17th January – Tudor Front Bar, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – Songhouse Sessions @ Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Capitol Theatre, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Americana in the Park, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Tudor Upstairs, Tamworth, NSW

Irish Mythen
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – The Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Lizotte’s, Newcastle, NSW
Friday 22nd January – The Django Bar, Marrickville, NSW

Joanna Newsom
Thursday 21st January – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

John Butler Trio
Friday 22nd January – Belvoir Amphitheatre, Upper Swan, WA

Julia Jacklin
Monday 18th January – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Kev Carmody
Sunday 17th January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Friday 22nd January – The Tamworth, Tamworth, NSW

Late Night Library: Library Folk feat. Alex Guthrie, Taryn La Fauci
Wednesday 20th January – Hyde Park North, Sydney, NSW

Liam Gale & the Ponytails w/ Direwolf
Thursday 21st January – The Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Matthew E White
Friday 15th January – Magic Mirrors Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 16th January – Lennox Theatre, Parramatta, NSW

Megan Cooper
Saturday 16th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – TSA Awards Show, Longyard Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Richo’s Roundup, Dag Sheep Station, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Cake & Cordial Sessions, St Paul’s Anglican Church Hall, Tamworth, NSW

Melody Feder
Sunday 17th January – South Tamworth Bowling Club, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Cafe Retro, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – Country Turns Pink, Blazes @ Wests, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Pig & Tinder, Tamworth, NSW

Newstead Live! Music Festival
Friday 22nd to Monday 25th January – Castlemaine, VIC

Numeralla Folk Festival
Friday 22nd to Monday 25th January – Numeralla, NSW

One Up, Two Down
Tuesday 19th to Saturday 23rd January – Andrew Clemont’s Supper Club, Tamworth, NSW

Out of Abingdon
Thursday 14th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW

Peasant Moon, Ben Horder, Matt Ward
Friday 15th January – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Ryley Walker
Friday 22nd January – The Famous Spiegeltent, Sydney, NSW

Sir Richard Bishop and Daniel Bachman
Sunday 17th January – St Stephen’s Uniting Church, Sydney, NSW

Songhouse Sessions feat. Luke O’Shea, Felicity Urquhart, Darren Coggan, Michael Bryers, Katie Brianna
Tuesday 17th January – Tamworth Services Club, Tamworth, NSW

Tamar Valley Folk Festival
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Georgetown, TAS

Tamworth Country Music Festival
Saturday 15th to Sunday 24th January – Tamworth, NSW

The Beards
Wednesday 20th January – West Tamworth Leagues, Tamworth Country Music Festival, NSW

The Button Collective
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, Bulli, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT

The East Pointers
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Illawarra Folk Festival, NSW
Monday 18th January – Bagdad Community Hall, TAS
Tuesday 19th January – Sulphur Creek Hall, TAS
Wednesday 20th January – Wynard Wharf Hotel Theatre, TAS
Thursday 21st January – Longford Town Hall, TAS
Friday 22nd January – Chudleigh Community Hall, TAS

The Franklin Electric
Friday 15th January – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 16th January – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Tuesday 19th January – Fly By Night, Fremantle, WA
Wednesday 20th January – Indi Bar, Fremantle, WA
Thursday 21st January – The Rosemount, Perth, WA
Friday 22nd January – The Fat Controller, Adelaide, SA

The Plough
Sunday 17th January – The Coach and Horses, Sydney, NSW

The Wayward Henrys
Friday 15th January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – The Pub, Tamworth, NSW
Sunday 17th January – FanZone, Tamworth, NSW
Monday 18th January – Dag Sheep Station, Tamworth, NSW
Wednesday 20th January – Post Office Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Courthouse Hotel, Tamworth, NSW
Thursday 21st January – Cafe Retro, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Hogs Breath Cafe, Tamworth, NSW
Friday 22nd January – Tudor Hotel, Tamworth, NSW

Thredbo Blues Festival
Friday 15th to Sunday 17th January – Thredbo, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“3 Slip Jigs” – Planxty

Falls Festival Review: Falls Festival Finds

Goodnight from Falls general_20160101-19Festival: Falls Music and Arts Festival
Location: Byron Bay – North Byron Parklands
Date(s): Thursday 31st Dec 2015 – Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
Featured Artists: The Imprints, Merry Jeann, The Scrimshaw Four, Vardos, Soak and Oh Wonder.
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

At festivals like Falls, there’s always big name acts, there’s always Timber and Steel style acts we’re anticipating, and then there’s always a raft of acts we’ve not come across or had an opportunity to see before. It’s one of our utter pleasures to go out of our way to check out the quirky and unknown acts on festival line ups and see what’s new to discover. As I mentioned in my Overview, Lola’s Bar in the Festival Village was a gold mine for the kinds of acts we love here at Timber and Steel.

imprints_20160101-1The Imprints, a two-piece hailing from Melbourne, played Lola’s Bar on New Year’s Day with their quirky strings and drums combo to a quiet crowd recovering from their midnight revelry. Their clever use of looping pedals made for intricate fiddle tracks that melded together in beautiful harmonies. Their set featured opportunities for them to build up multi tracks of fiddle plucking, playing, strumming and harmonizing, along with a retinue of drum beats, and then strip the sound right back to a simple beat and chord. Watching them, it was clear they had a strong link, feeding off each other throughout their live performances, no doubt developed from their time playing pure improvisation. Part way through the set, Violinist Willow asked for people to come forward, even just to lay down on the dance floor and chill, because it was always weird to play to people sitting so far away. Without dropping a beat, there was a mass movement of people, and their chairs, forward. The Imprints had made a good impression.

merrynjean_20160101-2Merryn Jeann played a 10am set in Lola’s Bar on the last day of the festival, the perfect start to a day clouded in sleepiness and people just coming terms with the day. Merryn was the epitome of a folk musician, clad in an embroidered blouse, long skirt, bare feet and jaunty flat cap. Freshly arrived home from performing at the Woodford Folk Festival, Merryn started the last day of Falls with a cover of Bombay Bicycle Club’s Dust on the Ground. Her lulling, husky voice wrapped the gathering crowd in the comfort of lyrics and time, at times haunting, at times humming around you like a bumble bee. Her set included tracks like Death at Lincoln Park, usually sung with her folk band, but with a different blues style lament when performed as a solo. Having recently returned from a 6-month stint living in Berlin, Merryn took advantage of the opportunity to perform in her home town by bringing along a friend or two to join her on stage. Maeve and her violin joined the set with haunting violin chords that supplied liquid undertones to Merryn’s finger plucking.

Merryn has an unassuming, raw and honest style, playing direct from the heart. She had people transfixed, woke them to the day, and lulled them through the morning, and drew people in to sit and chill, taking in her tunes.

scrimshawfour_20160101-2The Scrimshaw Four had the lunchtime shift at Lola’s Bar on the last day of the festival. We turned up to count 5 performers on stage and figured it was a happy bonus. Or maybe they can’t count. With a line up of guitar, fiddle, bass drum, double bass, banjo and Hawaiian Lei, we knew it was going to be a vibrant show from the Melbourne lads. They kicked off the set with the country-esque fiddle and boppy vocal harmonies of Stealin’. Once the audience was properly warmed up, it was time to get down to the real business of party tunes! When a song is introduced as being about a ‘romantic day’ on the beach and starts off with the line “I don’t want to give you a diamond ring”, you know it’s going to be a fun story-telling style set. I Just Wanna Give You My Heart turned out to be just that, with a bluegrass jam, upbeat tempo and a Mic Conway like frivolity. To follow that up with an hilarious cover of The Little Mermaid’s Under the Sea but at a fast, almost manic pace, was exactly the right formula for a happy crowd.

The Scrim deftly swung through country, folk, gypsy jazz, and everthing else on the old and gutsy jazz spectrum, to ragtime beats and high energy dance tracks. They reminded me of The WooHoo Revue but with their own brand of quirk. They have stellar stories that create their songs and make for great anticipation-laced intros, like the one about the girl who misheard his invitation to show him her moves, instead as show him her boobs! The Scrimshaw Four are a solid festival band sure to get you dancing, whether it’s to a polka, some Roma gypsy jazz, some hillbilly and bluegrass, or just some country and folk, you won’t be able to stop your toes from tapping.

vardos_20160101-6We came across the witty, character filled trio Vardos at Lola’s bar early in the afternoon of New Years Day. All kinds of gypsy music, from Transylvanian Romanian to “Modern” flowed from the lively crew with fiddle, accordion and double bass ablaze. From the outset it was clear they genuinely have fun on stage, moving and dancing round each other with some fun choreographed moments of teasing and taunting. All three took turns singing songs and the fake accents that tended to slip in and out were all a fun part of the ruse. They sing about love, beauty, life, ups and downs, all the while maintaining a vibrant and direct connection with audience, picking out people to play to in each song. The three are playful on stage and fun to watch, like witnessing a battle of wills between the violin and bass and an accordion playing the referee.

But, finding something new wasn’t just restricted to the small stages of the festival, both the Forest and Valley Stages also offered a little something to discover.

soak_20160101-5Irish songstress Bridie Monds-Watson, aka Soak, had the unenviable task of opening the main stage for the final day of Falls. But once the Valley was open to punters for the day, a steady stream of eager listeners made their way to a grassy spot to soak up her sounds. “Soak” comes from a phonetic mash-up of ‘Soul’ and ‘Folk’ but her style is still more genre defying than such a straight forward combination. Her set traversed her musical explorations, through floaty chill-out moments, ethereal soundscapes, indie infused sounds and haunting vocal melodies. Sea Creatures and Blud, her most signature tunes to date, washed over the crowds and set the tone of the day.

As Soak, Bridie has a strong sense of her vocal diversity, engaging a delightful head voice when it fits, and smashing out those power driven notes when the point needs to be hammered home. She reminded me of both Lisa Mitchell and Emma Louise (in her Jungle days) in ways, her vocal stylings in particular. I think ultimately the physical enormity of the Valley Stage meant she could not engage authentically with the audience, she could have benefitted from a more intimate setting, like the Forest Stage, to really allow the audience in to her realm. She does have potential to grow and emerge as a staple festival act, so keep your eyes on Soak!

ohwonder_20160101-1I think my favourite find for the whole of Festival has to be Oh Wonder, a London-based duo who were performing in Australia for the first time thanks to the Falls Festival. You’ve got to love a band who brings their own stage backdrop, a 2-metre-tall set of light up initials for their band name… which read ‘OW’, It’s probably an appropriate sentiment for the level of hangovers, hair of the dog’s and sunburns that were evident post NYE celebrations.

Oh Wonder created instant atmosphere with a smoke machine and tension filled hanging notes as they entered the stage to launch their set. The assembled crowd  gave huge cheers for each of the duo as they took to the stage. Described as electric folk, their style encapsulated the nuances achievable with looping tones and beats, while layering piano and electric guitar over the top. Their vocal unison was compelling, more so when they slipped seamlessly in to close harmonies and back out to unison again. Their voices compliment each other tonally, Josephine is the lead vocalist but Anthony’s smooth, silky voice wraps her delicate breathy beauty and grounds it in the electro beats they employ. Both are multi skilled, multi instrumentalists that lend their talents to each others musical moments, creating thick, rich tones to lose yourself in. Highlights of their set were the heavy bass and rolling piano melodies of Livewire, and the at times reggae-like bass and sparkling impact of Dazzle. The one descriptor that keeps coming to mind for Oh Wonder, is “gorgeous”. Check them out and cross your fingers for another visit down under from them soon.

So, that wraps up our 2015 Falls Festival Byron Bay experience. A wealth of acts to see and one of the best festival experiences we’ve ever had. Byron Bay is a definite contender for anyone looking for a great way to spend New Years Eve, no matter the line up.

Read our other Falls Music & Arts Festival reviews:

Overview of Falls Festival Byron Bay 2015

Timber and Steel Highlights

Unmissable Acts

Falls Festival Review: Timber and Steel Highlights

The Valley Stage at Falls Festival Byron BayFestival: Falls Music and Arts Festival
Location: Byron Bay – North Byron Parklands
Date(s): Thursday 31st Dec 2015 – Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
Feature Artists: Courtney Barnett, Little May, The Button Collective, Gary Clark Jr.
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

The line up was a great collection of many talented musicians from a vast array of genres. In terms of Timber and Steel acts, there were four main highlight acts to catch at Falls.

Courtney BarnettIt’s been a big year for Courtney Barnett, 2015 has seen her juggernaut debut grow in to dominance of the charts and the hearts of Australians of almost all musical persuasions. Clad in desert boots, jeans and a hat that only lasted a song and a half, Barnett didn’t hesitate to launch with full energy in to her huge set on the Valley Stage for the first day of the new year. The audience sprawled across the lawns, from the raptured fans at the front, to the chilled punters on the grassy slopes at the back, all completely fixated on the multi award winning yet demure figure. Highlights from her set include that rare quiet moment as the entire Valley hushed for the opening notes of Depreston only to then have every voice heard singing along in unison, and her huge hit Pedestrian at best close her set in full rock-goddess energy while the crowd reached the peak of their high spirited, dancing frenzy.

Little May on the Forest Stage at Falls Festival Byron Little May is an act I’ve seen popping up time and time again on my social media feeds and have been keen to catch. The trio took to the Forest Stage on the last day of the festival, with their backing band at the ready and strong audience numbers eagerly anticipating their set. And the ladies did not disappoint. With honey golden vocals trickling through the all encompassing tones of the full band’s live act festival sound, Little May treated the crowd to a full course of sweet temptations. With highlights including a beautiful rendition of the ballad, Seven Hours, to the new track Cease, the trio gave a consistent, high quality musical spectrum for the crowd to relax too, from the folk tinged to the indie pop and alternative sounds. Their repertoire allowed them range from their silky, harmonised ballads to bold, anthemic tones of Dust, through the tale telling of Hide and finishing off the performance with a stellar performance of their Great Southern Land Like a Version cover. I can only hope that Paul Kelly himself caught even a glimpse of this up tempo take on his classic track with  their clever use of vocal layering as it’s the last time they will be playing it for a while.

Button collectiveOver in Lola’s Bar, on New Years Eve, we stumbled upon a likely scene of rag-tag musicians and a tent full of eager punters. It was 2pm but the Button Collective soon had the dance floor packed with joyful revelry. Appearing as a 6-piece line up each day of the Byron stint, the sheer energy and cheer emanating from the stage was infectious. With everything from the traditional folk, to country-tinged tracks that invoke foot stomping, the Collective had a winning combination on their set list. With Barn-dance like hoedowns springing up on the dance floor, and multiple Irish tunes mashed-up to treat the crowd, Lola’s Bar was the scene of frivolity for their entire set. The Button Collective brought sea shanties, bluegrass, folk and an array of short, punchy, fast paced tracks and still bowed to the whim of the crowd, playing more dance tracks whenever the crowd demanded. So spirited was the audience, that a conga-line formed and snaked its way around the dance floor until every punter was a part of the line, and then spontaneously erupted in to a mass hoedown. To say The Button Collective put on a good show would be an understatement… I’m sure the word ‘rollicking’ should be used.

garyclarkjr_20160101-3Finally, on the last night of the festival, I had the pleasure of witnessing the sheer ‘cool’ of Gary Clark Jr. His live sound reminds me of Ash Grunwald sans distortion, they both clearly dig a similar edgy blues style. Clark Jr. weaves effortlessly between styles, from a Lenny Kravitz swagger, to an occasional Hendrix vibe and all while navigating through blues soaked solos. The crowd grew steadily as his wavering wails swept the Valley. Dipping now and then in to old school rock, and then rolling through the blues to keep the audience on edge, it was like watching a master at work. Clark Jr. saturated the audience with electric riffs and transcended into another world onstage, so steeped in the moment and the music. He seamlessly melds his music on stage, from cool blues to upbeat jump around funk blues. Gary Clark Jr. is worth every moment you can fit on your festival planner.

While these four were some of the main focuses of us Timber and Steelers, there was a wealth of talent throughout the Falls line up to whet the appetite.

Read our Overview of the entire Falls Festival Byron Bay event.

Unmissable Falls Acts

Falls Festival Finds

Falls Festival Review: Overview

Welcome to the FallsFestival: Falls Music and Arts Festival
Location: Byron Bay – North Byron Parklands
Date(s): Thursday 31st Dec 2015 – Saturday 2nd Jan 2016
Genre(s): Rock, Dance, Alternative
Photos by Stuart Bucknell

Having been to both Lorne and Marion Bay Falls Festivals in the past, it felt like it was time to complete the trilogy and visit Byron Bay for the New Years Bonanza. We enjoyed Splendour back in 2014 and so wondered how The Falls Festival would use the site for their festival antics. Lorne had sold out but to our surprise, Byron Bay had not reached ticket capacity, the previous year’s mud was apparently a deterrent.

Upon arrival, the utter beauty of the organisation struck us plain and simple – from excellent signage on the roads leading to the venue, through to the process of getting in to the festival, it was all sweet and no fuss. We had wondered how a 3 day festival, that is usually a build up to the penultimate celebration on New Years Eve, would fare when the night in question was in fact the first night of the 3 day affair. It seems that for Byron Bay, the crowd for New Years was good, but instead the numbers grew significantly for the 1st and 2nd January days.

FlashCampWe splashed out and stayed in FlashCamp – an investment well worth it given its proximity to a festival entry, the high quality facilities that were cleaned throughout the day, and the luxurious tents, services and on site bar.

We were pretty fortunate with the weather – Byron Bay New Years’ are famous for either blistering sunshine or mud inducing rain. With cool temperatures and overcast days, we cruised through the mid 20s all festival and everyone was very happy about it. That’s not to say that the Festival’s latest addition, Palm Springs, didn’t go to waste, far from it. The pop up water park, complete with inflatable flamingos and water slide, was a quiet on New Years Eve, undoubtedly due to people getting prepped for the big night, but come January 1, that place was packed to the gills, regularly reaching peak capacity and turning away punters. With a line up that predominantly began at or after lunch time, Palm Springs was a genius way to combat the heat and give bored punters something to do before the main stage lit up.

Punter in Palm SpringsBut let’s be fair, the Byron Bay site was not a place that one could be bored in for long. With multiple ‘streets’ of vendors offering food and goods, there was plenty to explore in any down time, from ping pong and human foosball (table soccer), to the famous misting tent, a Pirate Ship Bar with DJ was always a good option for a drink and to look out from the upper decks over the entire festival, multiple themed bars to sate your thirst, a mini movie cinema on site and the untold wonders encapsulated within The Village meant that almost any fancy could be fed all on the one festival site. And if your heart really desired, there were regular shuttles to nearby Byron township so you could soak up the sun, the surf, the beach and take in the tourist sights of Byron Bay.

The crowd in attendance across the three days was in high spirits, with only a few of the usual suspects wiping themselves out before the stroke of midnight. But overall, the crowd attending the festival were fantastic, courteous and very chilled out. The whole festival had a very relaxed vibe full of happy people, a very different experience from the sometimes frenetic Splendour crowd. I think Halsey summed it up best, when at the beginning of her set on the last day, she claimed that “Australian music festival crowds are my favourite audiences to perform too” which had the crowd cheering.

The line up was eclectic and offered options for many types of music lovers. With the Valley Stage being the main focus, and the Forest Stage the shady place to escape too, the one stage we paid extra attention to was Lola’s Bar in The Village – with no pre-advertised schedule, our morning ritual was to drop by and see what exciting finds were in store each day. Not only was Lola’s Bar a great source of folky goodness, but it was an excellent drawcard for The Village – a place of wonder with circus, cabaret and quirky shows in their miniature theatres, including an impromptu wedding in the Le Petite Grande. From yoga in the morning to crafty costume making and building giant puppets for the parade, to circus, drumming and dance workshops under the big top, or even the ten minute disco, The Village was a hive of activity throughout the festival.

Punters in the ValleyIn short, of all the festivals we have been to over the years, Falls Festival Byron Bay came out on top. My only down point was the seemingly excessive noise restrictions on the Valley stage – which also finished at midnight every night, except one song past the New Years Eve stroke of midnight. In past years, neighbours of the venue have complained about the levels of noise from other festivals and a volume limit has been placed on the venue for all events. Sitting at the far side of the Valley, this meant that the sound did not travel well and was muddy and quiet by the time it got to us. I guess it’s just to encourage us to get closer for our favourite acts! Hopefully the issues can be resolved and future festivals won’t be quite so hampered by such strict noise limitations in the future.

All in all, the layout of the site, the organisation of the festival, the behaviour of the punters and the choice of line up made for the best festival yet. When you’ve got celebrities like the Hemsworth’s, Miley Cyrus, supermodels and even rumours of Vance Joy in the crowd, you know you’re on a winning ticket. And we haven’t even told you about the music!

Click through to read our reviews:

Timber and Steel Falls Highlights

Unmissable Falls Acts

Falls Festival Finds

 

 

 

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 22nd August

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Banjo legends Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn have announced their first album together to be released this October. Details here

– A bunch more sideshows for the Out On The Weekend festival were announced including tours from Ryan Bingham (with Harry Hookey and Tim Wheatley), Robert Ellis and Jonny Fritz (with James Thomson) and Nikki Lane and The Delines (with Ruby Boots). Details here

Cat Canteri, drummer for Melbourne alt-country outfit The Stillsons, has announced plans for a solo album and national tour. Details here

– The first lineup announcement from the Falls Festival is light on the folk – just The John Butler Trio, Kim Churchill and Vance Joy on the lineup so far. Details here

– Our good friends at the Seek Stumble Listen Live blog have announced their first ever multi-media music event featuring Fanny Lumsden and The Thrillseekers, Little Fox and more. Details here

– The Australasian Worldwide Music Expo (AWME) have announced the first round of artists for 2014 including Hiatus Kaiyote, Ash Grunwald, Bart Willoughby, Jimblah, Pierce Brothers, Ms Murphy, Bullhorn, Nahko and Medicine for the People (USA), Digging Roots (Canada), Estere (NZ) and Myele Manzanza (NZ). Details here

– Adelaide folk four-piece The Timbers released their new video “Mean Streak” and announced an east coast tour. Details here

The Mullum Music Festival has announced its 2014 lineup including Harry James Angus, Husky, Kim Churchill, Frank Yamma, Bobby Alu, Marlon Williams, Liz Stringer, Siskin River, The Mae Trio, The Twoks, Starboard Cannons, The Mid North, Tracy McNeil, The Yearlings and many more. Details here

Jack Carty has announced details of his upcoming album Esk. Details here

– I had to admit that I sometimes watch So You Think You Can Dance when I wrote a piece about the upcoming Hozier album. Details here

Olivers Army will be launching their new album with a tour this September. Details here

Yuko Nishiyama has just released her new album Parade and has a couple of shows left of her launch tour. Details here

Missy Higgins released the video for her beautiful version of “Shark Fin Blues” as well as announcing a massive national tour. Details here

– Sydney singer-songwriter Patrick James is streaming his new single “Fight With Me” featuring Olympia. Details here

– Sydney’s Little May have announced details of their debut EP. Details here

Ben Howard has provided details of his upcoming album along with a stream of the title track “I Forget Where We Were”. Details here

– The wonderful Lanie Lane is back with a brand new video “Celeste”. Details here

– Watch folk, hip-hop and dance combine in the new Arbori video “Walls”. Details here

Folk By The Sea have announced their 2014 lineup including Mic Conway & Phil Donnison, The Bottlers, The Button Collective, Big Erle, Joe Mungovan and many many more. Details here

Releases This Week

Vena Portae
Vena PortaeVena Portae
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Yuko Nishiyama

Yuko

I first saw Yuko Nishiyama a few months ago and I was so impressed with her brand of folk-pop. Having just released her new album Parade Yuko Nishiyama is finishing up her launch tour in Sydney and Canberra this weekend.

Friday 22nd August – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT

Gigs Next Week

Bob Dylan
Monday 25th August – Brisbane Convention & Exhibition Centre, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 29th August – Royal Theatre, Canberra, ACT

Busby Marou
Friday 22nd August – The Cambridge, Newcastle, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 24th August – Waves, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 29th August – The Soundlounge, Gold Coast, QLD

Darren Cross
Saturday 23rd August – Rhino Room, Adelaide, SA

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes, Dan Waters and The Weeping Willows
Friday 22nd August – Baha in Rye, Rye, VIC

Melody Pool and Marlon Williams
Saturday 23rd August – X-Wray Café, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 24th August – Settler’s Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Tuesday 26th August – Ellington Jazz Club, Perth, WA

Nova and the Experience
Saturday 23rd August – Trainspotters, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 29th August – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT

Olivers Army
Friday 29th August – The Gasometer Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Patrick James
Friday 29th August – Beavs Bar, Geelong, VIC

Seek Stumble Listen Live feat. Fanny Lumsden, Little Fox
Friday 29th August – The Corner Store, Sydney, NSW

Spookyland
Friday 22nd August – Newtown Social Club, Sydney, NSW

Taliska
Friday 29th August — Conservatory Café, Wyreena, VIC

The Timbers
Friday 29th August – The World’s End, Adelaide, SA

Todd Sibbin and The Acadian Driftwood
Saturday 23rd August – Cranker, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th August – Evelyn, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 26th August – Record Crate, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th August – The Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

Tom West
Saturday 23rd August – Crown & Anchor, Adelaide, SA
Sunday 24th August – Evelyn, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 26th August – Record Crate, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 28th August – The Lass O Gowrie, Newcastle, NSW

Tracy McNeil
Friday 22nd August – Lefties Old Time Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 23rd August – The Courthouse, Mullumbimby, NSW
Sunday 24th August – TBC, Melbourne, VIC

Vincent Cross
Friday 22nd August – The Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – Troubadour Folk & Acoustic Club, Woy Woy, NSW

Yuko Nishiyama
Friday 22nd August – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd August – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT

Friday Folk Flashback

“Rattlin’ Bog” – The Makem Brothers

I love it when fiddle tunes have words. I’d always played “Rattlin’ Bog” as a reel but found in sessions that people would sing along. So I’ve done my best to learn the words as well – although I doubt I could get it this fast!

Not Much Folk and Acoustic on the First Falls and Southbound Announcements

John Butler
Image Courtesy of John Butler Trio

Ok, we know that if you want to go and see folk music over the New Years period your best bet is head north to the Woodford Folk Festival. But we’re also big supporters of The Falls Festival and Southbound Festival as they always manage to get some big name indie-folk and acoustic names on their lineups – check out our review of last year’s Falls Festival here.

The first lineup announcement for Falls and Southbound 2014/15 hit this morning and surprisingly this year folk, acoustic and roots based musicians are pretty thin on the ground. Outside of The John Butler Trio (above), Kim Churchill and Vance Joy there’s not a lot else that’s too Timber and Steel friendly – although as fans of music of all genres the lineup does look pretty good.

We’re hoping that as more artists are added we’ll start to see more acoustic seep into the lineup. If you’re keen to head to Falls the ticket ballot is now open. Check out the full lineup so far below:

Alt-J, Big Freedia, The Black Lips, Bluejuice, Cold War Kids, DMAs, Glass Animals, George Ezra, Jagwar Ma, Jamie XX, Joey Bada$$, John Butler Trio, Kim Churchill, The Kite String Tangle, Milky Chance, Movement, The Presets, Remi, Röyksopp & Robyn, Run The Jewels, Safia, SBTRKT (Live), Spiderbait, Sticky Fingers, The Temper Trap, Tensnake, Tkay Maidza, Todd Terje (Live), Tycho, Vance Joy, Wolf Alice + More To Be Announced.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 14th February

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Stream the new EP from One Up, Two Down. Details here

Achoo! Bless You have released the video for their new track “Wild Eyes”. Details here

– Canberra duo Sparrow-Folk combine folk music and boobs for their latest video “Ruin Your Day”. Details here

– Sydney indie folk night Little Features returns this month with a lineup that includes Mimi Gilbert, The Maple Trail, Packwood and Charlie Gradon. Details here

WOMADelaide’s final lineup addition for 2014 is singer-songwriter Lior. Details here

Vance Joy may be seeing success overseas but he hasn’t forgotten us with national headline dates this April and May. Details here

– Cabaret-folk big band The Good Ship are heading out on a national tour this March. Details here

Leroy Lee will be hosting a new monthly folk night at the Petersham Bowling Club, Porch Light Sessions, starting in March. The first night features Lee, The Morrisons and Lacey Cole and the Lazy Colts. Details here

The Audreys have released the video “My Darlin’ Girl”, the first track from their upcoming new album. Details here

Frank Turner released a video for his new song “Sweet Albion Blues”. Details here

Conor Oberst has announced plans for his new album Upside Down Mountain. Details here

– UK singer-songwriter Johnny Flynn has released his new video “Bottom of the Sea Blues” plus news of a deluxe version of his new album Country Mile. Details here

Interviews

“I’m actually recording songs now from people that have never been recorded before, songs that may have been noted back in the time of the nineteenth century by Cecil Sharp but have never been sound recorded. I’m also discovering songs that have no known origin, that have never been documented before. It is like finding these undiscovered species that nobody knew existed, happily living in their native habitat in the minds of old gypsies – it’s wonderful! So there are discoveries to be made”Sam Lee chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

“We definitely keep the live show very varied. We play to our audiences – we’ll have slower, poignant moments but towards the end of the set we like to ramp it up. We’ve got two sets of bagpipes and Megan [Henderson] our fiddle player does step dancing as well so we get all of these things combined and hopefully create a bit of a noise, a bit of energy” – James Lindsay from Breabach chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Reviews

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Gigs

“I don’t recall much of the actual New Year, with MGMT running over time, a quick countdown before kissing and hugging your nearest and dearest, or the random crowd members beside you, and then finally The Wombats hitting us with an onslaught of hits and subsequent dancing frenzy, it all just blurs together to be an energy filled night of frivolity with a matching hangover the next morning” – Part 2 of KTBell’s Falls Festival review. Review here

Releases This Week

It's all Good
It’s All GoodDamien Dempsey
iTunes

Lets Go Extinct
Let’s Go ExtinctFanfarlo
iTunes

The Wheel EP
The Wheel EPJordan Millar
Bandcamp

One Up Two Down
One Up, Two DownOne Up, Two Down
Bandcamp

Robert Ellis
The Lights from the Chemical PlantRobert Ellis
iTunes

Between Bars
Between BarsThe Civil Wars
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Little Bastard w/ OXBLVD, Ranger Spacey

Little Bastard

Sydney folk renegades Little Bastard will be taking to the stage at the Factory Floor for their first hometown headline show of the year. Fresh from conquering the Falls Festival in Lorne and laying down tracks for their debut album (due in May) the seven-piece are ready to make 2014 theirs and this gig is going to be a cracker.

Saturday 15th February – The Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Adelaide Fringe Festival
Friday 14th February to Sunday 16th March – Adelaide, SA

Andy Irvine
Thursday 20th February – Spotted Mallard, Brunswick, VIC
Friday 21st February – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC

Ann Vriend
Friday 14th February — The Homestead, North Hobart, TAS
Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th February — MONA, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 20th February — Sunset Studio, Newcastle, NSW

Cobargo Folk Festival
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February – Cobargo, NSW

Eddie Vedder
Sunday 16th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Tuesday 18th February – Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Frances Folk Gathering
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd February – Frances, SA

Jack Carty
Saturday 15th February – House Concert, Hazelwood Park, SA
Sunday 16th February – House Concert, Grange, SA

James Teague
Wednesday 19th February – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke
Friday 14th February – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 15th February – The Old Museum, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 21st February – Paradiso Spiegeltent @ The Garden Of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide, SA

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Friday 14th February – Rooty Hill RSL, Sydney, NSW

Leah Flanagan w/ Kieren Glasgow
Thursday 20th February – Vic on the Park, Enmore, NSW

Lior
Friday 21st February – Southern Peninsula Arts Centre, Rosebud, VIC

Little Bastard w/ OXBLVD, Ranger Spacey
Saturday 15th February – The Factory Floor, Sydney, NSW

Okkervil River
Wednesday 19th February – Chevron Festival Gardens, Perth, WA
Friday 21st February – Oxford Art Factory, Sydney, NSW

One Up Two Down and Oh Pep!
Friday 14th February – The Danish Club, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 16th February – Eudlo Hall, Eudlo, QLD
Wednesday 19th February – Anglican Church, Dorrigo, NSW
Thursday 20th February – Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Friday 21st February – No.5, Bellingen, NSW

Packwood
Saturday 15th February – House Concert, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 16th February – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 19th February – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Sam Buckingham
Wednesday 19th February – Revolver, Prahran, VIC
Thursday 20th February – Baha’s, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Friday 21st February 0 Fringe Festival, Adelaide, SA

The Beez
Friday 14th February – Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club, NSW
Saturday 15th February – Blackheath, NSW
Sunday 16th February – Bundanoon, NSW (house concert)
Wednesday 19th February – Smith’s Alternative Bookshop, ACT

Unpaved Sessions w/ Matt Green, Emilee South, James Kenyon, Lisa Wood, Ruth Kateleros and Monique Kenny
Monday 17th February – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“First Day of My Life” – Bright Eyes

Three years we published a couple of Valentine’s Day related playlists – one for the loved up and one for the heartbroken – that always get a lot of hits at this time of year. Given FFF has fallen on Valentine’s Day this year we thought we’d share one of our favourite loved up tracks (with one of the sweetest loved up videos) with you. Enjoy the love!

Review: The Falls Festival, Marion Bay, Tasmania

Ponchos are the latest fashionPhotos by Stu B.

So now to the fun bit, the music!

Day 2, Monday 30th December, rolled around and as we planned our day, we were a bit excited about some unknowns and some stalwart festival acts, it was going to be a great day.

First up, on the Field Stage, at a very reasonable lunch hour was local Foster a Band competition winner Lulu an The Paige Turners. Knowing little but what I gleaned from the Falls Festival App description, I was hopeful for something interesting, lo and behold, the Paige-Turners turned out to be a bigger than expected group of young men, resplendent in white dress shirts, black suspenders and bowties complete with drums, cello, banjo, acoustic guitar, keyboard and who knows what else! Lulu herself stepped on to stage looking like she stepped out of an old timey movie in a frilled lavender dress that would either float beautifully or become her own personal parachute in the windy conditions. Obviously a lot of friends were in the crowd, or at least local and loyal fans, as many shouts of encouragement met them before they even played a note.

Lulu and The Paige Turners Opening with ‘Begin-agains’ from their EP Bookends and Begin-again delivered a strong, strummy guitar intro, quivering vocals, subtle backing harmonies and touches of a soul pitch to her vocals. It’s a very indie pop style but very easy to lose yourself in. To follow up their opening, the slower track, ‘The Mean Reds’ also from the EP mellowed out the audience, becoming solemn at times. With a strong banjo melody and sweet, hushed tones of the harmonies, it was more like the lullaby style we’ve seen from a number of singer/songwriters but with a surprise build with drum and electric bass almost reminiscent of a Mumford and Sons hoedown.

The rest of her set was equally diverse with bluesy bass lines, cool vibes, raspy, rolling, gravely gutsy verses, sentiments stripped down to a Capella accompanied by clicks and whistling, and of course, many a banjo solo from probably the happiest Banjo player I’ve seen of late.

It’s a wonderful mix on stage, of piano intros, rhythm on a snare drum played by Lulu, tales of a broken heart, dischordant harmonies to really set the tone, not to be out done by angsty, angry, passionate vocals. Lulu is a multi-instrumentalist playing percussion, guitar and violin, but also delivering vocals reminiscent of Kate Miller Heidke or Tori Amos. All of this she achieves while also performing with a cold that would likely render her voiceless after her set.

Well in with the audience, they brought out a brand new song, ‘Bright Eyes’, a song she was not sure what it was actually about but “sometimes the universe gives you a song for a reason”. Beautiful lightly treated, stripped back sound with just the simplest of accompaniment graced the enraptured field. Their musicianship was all about the lyric weaving it’s way across the melody, and the 3 piece harmonies by the Paige-Turners with room for an instrumental break and some epic violin by Lulu, like she and it had a private dance to complete. ‘A Little Secret’ changed the mood, with a very country feel to the full instrumental sound and beat yet cleverly walked the fine line mixing between full sound and stripped back line “little secret”. Amusingly, keyboard and the banjo had almost a russian dance off mid song.

Their final song was full of thanks and appreciation for the crowds support, and delivered their first single release, a definite favourite, ‘The Music Box’. A stuccato piano intro, great harmony based vocals  and full band sound behind string and catchy melody had us all nodding to the beat. There was even an instrumental break showcasing the cello and of course a huge violin presence Lulu in breaks. I found it really catchy and could easily hum it all day with it’s killer vocals, Lulu’s passionate stage presence, it all makes for a warning: keep an eye out, Lulu and the Paige-Turners should take stages by storm.

Big Scary at Falls Festival Marion BayWe popped over to the Valley stage to check out Big Scary with their big piano and drum sound and 2 part harmonies. They’re certainly genre-defying and on the Falls stage, combining their slow piano stylings with heavy base and drums, created an ethereal quality to their set and sound. A really pleasant poppy, chill out band for the setting and time.

Paper Kites at the Falls Festival Marion BayWe headed back to the Field stage to catch The Paper Kites and watching their band tune a banjo, it struck me that I wanted to renaming this stage the Banjo Stage! It’s always promising when a banjo is sound checked, almost guaranteed a good hoedown. The five piece, opened with a strong drum beat/line and mellow guitar over the top and calm vocals wafting on the breeze. The crowd grew quickly, attracted to their ethereal indie quality. Their set saw great cohesion of vocal and instruments, working as one, blending when needed, separating when wanted.

They played “Young”, a more synth based track with finger plucking strings over the top. There was a steady crowd dancing up the front, from within, someone releases glitter across the top of the crowd and it floated over them much like the lyrics and vocals. A very mellow set with a solid under current of instrumental indie cool.

At times their set is airy, with floaty piano intros and breathy yet strong vocals. Other times, like when playing “Bloom”, an older song that the crowd can sing along too, a more plucky vibe sets the the crowd screaming and intensifies the atmosphere while still delivering beautiful harmonies that even a crowd can carry. Then they effortlessly add drums and banjo to truly catchy effect. I love the whistling break, crowd tried to whistle along and ended up sounding like drunk birds.

Their new song, “Cold Kind Hand”, is a more indie rock vibe with the femanine vocals playing beautifully off the big earthy drums beats. Staying true to their sound, their new stuff is as equally welcome as their old stuff. Take that Regurgitator.

James Vincent McMorrow at Falls Festival Marion BayI’m a complete novice when it comes to  James Vincent McMorrow, so when we headed to the Valley stage to catch his set, I was delighted to see a crowd had already formed, eagerly anticipating his set. Walking on stage to a rousing welcome from the audience, McMorrow opened with his breathtaking falsetto, reminiscent of early Matt Corby ethereal vocals, over simple piano chords, building to a faster speed with clapping, percussion and backing vocals. I saw in an instant the appeal and why so many are clamouring for his music. The crowd continued to stream in to the field as overall sound, now filled with bass to round out the effect, rolled up the ampitheatre. His voice delivers tones of Bon Iver but devled deeper within himself, ultimately creating an earthy, grounded effect.

His set celivered variety, with synth beat under harmonised vocals, the simplicity and stripped back nature of which was mezmerising. He is skilled at gently bringing new instruments in to the tracks, I didn’t even notice the piano build in to one song, and yet it ended solely on a tight vocal/piano harmony. He claimed nervousness as it had been a year and a half since his last big performance. He merely hoped his nerves were endearing, but to everyone present, not a nervous moment had been witnessed. Launching back in to his moody and soft, almost tentative vocals and delicious piano, echoing drum beats herald crowd favourites and everyone is lost in the performance.

London Grammar at Falls Festival Marion BayI’m one of those people who has heard of London Grammar, and has probably even heard their hits, but having been a bit of a musical hermit of late, I was keen to catch them in full swing on the Valley stage. The haunting intro and her voice flowing off the stage accompanied by keyboard and little else told me I was in for a wonderful show. “Hey Now” had a hypnotic effect on every member of the audience, ending in the kind of silence where you can hear a pin drop. And then there was the rapturous applause.

I can see why Hannah has been compared to Florence Welsh and Kate Bush, her voice dominates over the bass, electric guitar and djembe. But, not just a beautiful voice, she can take on the keys, build a melody that emerges alone only to wend through her soulful, lilting lyrics. She is a statuesque leading lady, yet manages stillness, poise, focus and delivers pitch perfect, stunning vocals that had the audience entranced. Whether they need to engage the audience with more in the way of stage presence is debatable, what they don’t have in presence, they make up for with atmosphere and sheer soundscape.

Hannah was experiencing the worst hayfever she has ever had because there is a unique type of grass in Tasmania and nowhere else in the world. With that revelation, it was amazing her vocals weren’t affected. Their wildly popular cover of Kavinsky’s “Nightcall” was to be expected, a popular choice with the crowd with it’s keys opening making way for the whining, stripped back electric guitar, reminiscent of The xx’s sparse production style.

With the crowd thoroughly in the mood, a staffer comes on stage with a giant birthday cake to celebrate Hannah’s birthday, for which the crowd sang happy birthday and she was incredibly excited as the cake was gluten free meaning she could actually enjoy eating it after their set. Fittingly, they celebrated the moment with a song the crowd could all sing along to, “Caught in the Middle”. To wrap up, they delighted the audience with “Metal and Dust” with it’s midway upbeat synth beats and keys which created a wall of sound crawling up the hill from the valley stage.

Violent Femmes at Falls Festival Marion BayI am of the age to have just been alive when their first, and arguably most famous, album was released, but I sure as hell knew about them and have danced in to many a late night with Blister In The Sun blaring. So needless to say, I was at the Valley stage for the Violent Femmes set. Just walking on stage they received a huge welcome from the crowd. And with out any ado at all, they cracked straight in to it with “Blister in the Sun”. They played like their album release was last year, like they do it all the time, and most of the crowd was up and dancing without a second thought. Naturally, with their time in the industry and their experience, they could play each track with a kind of laid back delivery, but full of cheer and that cool swagger attitude. Effortless in fact. They dubbed themselves the Grandfathers of folk-punk and to be blunt, they’re dead right on that call. And of course, they are one of those acts that can play their album from start to finish and hold every person in the palm of their hands for every single track, in spite of us all knowing what would come next. “Kiss Off” went off, the big slappy bass tones of “Please Do Not Go” had the crowd going crazy,  “Add It Up” had everyone singing every word at the top of their voice, and I was having a bit of a Reality Bites flashback. It was a glorious set, they sounded almost exactly like they did the day it was released and they were such a joy to watch, clearly having a great time on stage.

The Cat Empire at Falls Festival Marion BayOur final folky act of the night was our name sake and one of our favourite acts, The Cat Empire. I wanted to make notes and recall all they played, highlight the nuances of their set, but in true Cat Empire style, they just nailed it. They have this ability to cheer a crowd as soon as they walk on stage, talk to us all like we’re personal friends just jamming at their place, and have us all singing, dancing, grooving and jumping along to every track. They played a great selection of their back catalogue interspersed with tracks from Steal The Light and they generally got the party really pumping. We, as a crowd moved and grooved as one, loving every second. They, as always, nailed it. I read a Faster Louder review of the Marion Bay Falls  that put the Cat Empire down to a “pale imitation of The Roots” due to their scheduling, but clearly the reviewer was at an alternate universe version of the same gig, because we saw nothing of that. In fact, The Roots were a disappointment to us, nothing like we expected, so much so, that we left half way through their set and headed to bed. We must have missed the good bit.

Finally the penultimate day rolled around. Day 3, Tuesday 31st December – New Years Eve and the reason we were all there.

Gossling at Falls Festival Marion BayAfter a lazy lie-in, we headed to the Field stage to see one of our favourites, Gossling who we enjoyed seeing back in 2011. What a difference 2 years makes, from opening spot on the main stage at Lorne to a modest crowd, to a mid afternoon Marion Bay Field Stage spot absolutely packed with punters. Having not yet caught the latest offering from Gossling, I wasn’t quite that sure what to expect but bouyed by her unassuming start and complete skipping of any kind of chattering intro, Helen and band kicked straight in to the set with glee and abandon. Her set was heartfelt yet forthright, pulling tracks predominantly from the new album Harvest of Gold. The intimate setting allowed Helen to tell the stories behind the songs; the  love song about a couple who had been together a long time, whose spark was there in the beginning but is no longer there and the resulting mutual break up; her early experiences with social media as an artist and that anyone can say anything they want online and she just has to stop being a little pussy; and the day to day observations and experiences of life. Particular highlights included “Songs of Summer” (co-written with Steve Parkin) and that lamentable opening line “On a  Friday night, a thousand weeks ago” replete with male vocals (by Alexander Burnett of Sparkadia on the record) as well as the sheer frustration meets pop sensibilities of “Challenge” and it’s social media mayhem. All in all, another delightful afternoon spent with Gossling.

The John Steel Singers at Falls Festival Marion BayHustling from one stage to the next meant we could get a glimpse of The John Steel Singers on the Valley stage and their dedicated fans clamouring to tyhe front of the stage. Their set was upbeat and at times delivered a psychedelic vibe to the over all indie sound. I’ve heard a bit about the group, especially because TnS contributor Haz is a bit of a fan boy, but I was truly delighted by their tight harmonies and elegant guitar work. An oldie but a goodie, “Strawberry Wine” was a particular favourite with the crowd and as we made our way to our next stop, the set was in full swing, crowd singing and dancing along and glimpses of harmonised spleandour taunted us.

Later in the day we found ourselves back at the Field stage to catch complete unknowns, Bombino. Within an instant, our reaction was “They’re so cool!” Rocking traditional garb albeit of shiny material, and sporting electric guitars, this was an outfit set to impress. Opening rocky riffs drew an instant crowd to dance along. Singing in their native language, inspite of having no clue what was being said, their music translated with a sense of storytelling that spoke directly to the soul each member of the audience.

Bombino at Falls Festival Marion BayThe easiest way to describe their sound is a kind of a meeting of world music and indie stylings. Band members hail from West Africa, Niger, so it’s desert music that they play with touches of a Reggae feel to their beat. Bombino delivered a consistent energy and tempo throughout their set, holding the crowd in their groove through to the end, with a huge cheer from the audience to thank them for the performance. This is the kind of group I think Ash Grunwald would love to jam with!

Emma Louise at Falls Festival Marion BayRecovering from Bombino, we were set put to catch Emma Louise at the Field stage. Having missed a lot locally for the last 18months, I was curious to see just how far from folk Emma Louise had moved. With a heady mix of synth keyboard, acoustic guitar and stripped back drum kit, it was hard to predict just what would arrive. She walked out on stage looking super slick, breathy backing vocals began and she strapped on her acoustic guitar, much to the appreciation of the volminous audience. Stunning, breathy harmonised vocals wafted over the crowd creating a haunting and still opening. She has really matured and grasped the ethereal indie sound that Matt Corby toyed with a few years ago but delivers it with strength, confidence and delicate handling of the style.

“Toys”  gave a clever meld of synth, guitar and those evocative vocals, smooth as butter and just as addictive. Her stage presence has come leaps and bounds since I last saw her at Falls in Lorne, a true professional graces the stage now and captures the audience, holding them with every lick of a lyric.

The crowd, as one, responded to each synth-laden ethereal moment creating a sense of anticipation. “Tessalate” erupted from a mournful synth opening, trilling guitar and tantalising snare that broke in to a solid bass drum rhythm. Emma Louise’s Florence-esque vocals wound their way through the soundscape, met with harmonised backing, building to a beautiful crescendo before a delicate ending.

The set was peppered with new and old tracks including the strong keyboard, drum rhythms and intertwined angelic vocals of “Atlasize” and the rolling intimacy of “Keep Me Warm” allowed her great vocal range to tip in to and out of melancholic, interlocking harmonies to create an incredible, dreamlike atmosphere. And naturally, she ended with that favourite and original hit, “Jungle” which had the already large crowd heaving with enthusiasm and joy.

Crystal Fighters at Falls Festival Marion BayWhen we headed to the Valley stage for the Crystal Fighters, we had no real idea what to expect except that their bio included the word folktronica, so of course, I was there. The crowd were very excited for them and as they entered the stage they made an amazing visual impact as they were all dressed for the occassion. It seems this is what happens when a strange mix of percussion, glittery costumes and acoustic meets electric cohesion. No matter their cross-genre mix, the crowd were instantly dancing.

It all got a bit folkalicious when their txalaparta came into it’s fore (for those playing along, it’s like a giant xylophone played by two people at once), it was almost tribal in nature, matched with a thumping drum rhythm in an altogether stripped backing style to the vocals before the synth and full ensemble sound built in to a massive presence with crowd jumping and dancing feverishly. Did I mention they manage to include a ukelele in their dance music ensemble?

Love is all I’ve got for this act. Infectiously fun and impossible not to enjoy! I mean, you’ve got to love a bit of electric, hyper ukelele. They managed the crowd beautifully, taking us musically down to the beach (the real beach we could see from our vantage point), down through a
mellow, strummy intro in to the calyspo feel backing and harmonised vocals of “Plage”, where the synth builds before a big electric guitar line joins the party. I also adored the epic cow bell that features in “I Love London”. I think this is one of my favourite, highlight acts from the whole festival, a must see and a must to track down some of their back catalogue!

Grizzly Bear at Falls Festival Marion BayComing down from such a high energy set, we stayed at the Valley stage to catch Grizzly Bear
It was their second New Year’s Eve in Tassie and they seemed quite happy with their lot. Their opening number, “Speak in Rounds” brought with it the haunting quality of their vocals and the woozy atmospherics their sets are renowned for. They moved from one set to the next with such grace and ease that at times you’d forgotten that one song ended and another begun. The inextricably mellow and chilled resonance segued effortlessly in to echoey lament only to give way occasionally to a bluesy rock beat or to a revel in synthesizer gait.

Their performance is one of those truly enrapturing experiences, where their dreamy set can transport you to another reality, parrallel to the often frenetic energy of Marion Bay on a special occasion.

Neil Finn at Falls Festival Marion BayThe final folkishly influenced act on the Valley stage that night was the irrepressible, Neil Finn. We saw Finn take the stage back in Lorne and while that was a fun set, there was something more this time around. Whether the vibe of the Marion Bay festival or the hubbub of New Year’s Eve, either way, in that inimitable personality and presence, the audience was putty in Finn’s hands.

He crafted together a set filled with nostalgia, of hits and favourites as well as braw new works from recent album Dizzy Heights. Of the old songs, there was once voice as the crowd sang in unison, word for word, proving just how timeless Crowded House and Split Enz are. Of the new works, my favourite was the transidental temporary insantiy of “Pony Ride”, or that could just have been Finn’s explanation for the song and somehow we were all suddenly riding rainbows on unicorns with him, likely in hysterics. Title track “Dizzy Heights” and “Flying in the Face of Love” also were received well, but it was moments like Kirin J Callinan jumping in for a guitar solo on the Crowded House track “Locked Out” that made the set memorable. The spine tingling closer, one man on his knees and one guitar with no amped sound while crew changed over behind him for the next set, the thousands strong crowd with just the utterance of it’s opening  had us off singing “Better Be Home Soon” and claimed the defining moment of the night.

I don’t recall much of the actual New Year, with MGMT running over time, a quick countdown before kissing and hugging your nearest and dearest, or the random crowd members beside you, and then finally The Wombats hitting us with an onslaught of hits and subsequent dancing frenzy, it all just blurs together to be an energy filled night of frivolity with a matching hangover the next morning.

But, if you’re going to wake up with a hangover anywhere in the world, Falls Festival Marion Bay just moved up my list of acceptable places to do so.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 7th February

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

The Eels have announced a new album this April – no word on whether it will be acoustic leaning. Details here

– US alt-country singer Micah P. Hinson has announced the release of his new album Micah P. Hinson and the Nothing in March this year. Details here

Neil Young will reportedly be releasing a new album this March via Jack White’s Third Man Records. Details here

Mark Moldre has another new video on the web for “Everything I Need”. Details here

The Falls have moved to the US and finally posted a recorded version of their much loved song “Into The Fire”. Details here

– Sydney-based progressive folk group Takadimi will be performing a series of pop up gigs every Thursday in February (their first one was yesterday). Details here

Sally Seltmann released her latest video “Catch of the Day”. Details here

– The great Nickel Creek have announced a return to the spotlight this year with a new album in the works. Details here

Glen Hansard has finally announced the Australian release of his new EP Drive All Night, and it’s today! Details here

– Sydney via Darwin based songstress Leah Flanagan released her new single “Everything”. Details here

Bluesfest announced a bunch more artists including Hat Fitz & Cara, Claude Hay, Genevieve Chadwick, Daniel Champagne and many more. Details here

– The new Achoo! Bless You single “Wild Eyes” hit the web this week. Details here

– More artists have been added to The National Folk Festival including Damien Dempsey, The Fiddle Chicks, Takadimi, Danny Spooner, Glover & Sorrensen, Sarah Humphreys, The Lurkers, Rusty Spring Syncopators and many many more. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Roscoe James Irwin released his new video “One Eye Open”. Details here

– UK five piece Feldspar released their new track “Young And Invincible”. Details here

Interviews

“Some of the shows I’ll be doing solo, but more than half of them I’ll have a rhythm section, the same rhythm section that I had in Sydney last year”Ann Vriend chats to Bill Quinn. Interview here

Reviews

Gigs

“If Woodford is too far away for you, or a little too folk heavy for your liking, then Falls Festival Marion Bay is a perfect alternative which still gives you a lot of similar experiences yet has a personality and style all of it’s own” – Part 1 of KTBell’s Falls Festival review. Review here

“Traveller & Fortune choose the right instrumentation for the song. Even if only six notes are played on a xylophone or the harmonica only makes a single appearance across the entire set, their inclusion on the songs is perfectly placed makes dragging them all the way to Sydney worthwhile. The way Traveller & Fortune layer their songs is just masterful”Gareth Hugh Evans reviews Traveller & Fortune at FBi Social in Sydney. Review here

Releases This Week

Vagabond
VagabondEddi Reader
iTunes

Frank Turner
The Polaroid PictureFrank Turner
iTunes

Glen Hansard
Drive All NightGlen Hansard
iTunes

Flesh and Blood
Flesh & BloodJohn Butler Trio
iTunes

Seth Lakeman
Word of MouthSeth Lakeman
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

One Up Two Down and Oh Pep!

One Up Two Down

If bluegrass is your poison then there’s no way you can miss One Up Two Down on their first big east coast tour which kicked off this week. Made up of George Jackson (fiddle and banjo) and Daniel Watkins (guitar) and Andrew Small (bass), One Up Two Down is a bringing together of some of the finest musicians in the country. Joining them on tour are Timber and Steel favourites Oh Pep!.

Friday 7th February – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 8th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 9th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Monday 10 February – The Cave, Gold Coast, QLD
Wednesday 12th February – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 13th February – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 14th February – The Danish Club, Brisbane, QLD

Gigs Next Week

Achoo! Bless You w/ All Our Exes Live in Texas
Thursday 13th February – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Andy Irvine
Saturday 8th February – Godinymayin Yijard Rivers Arts & Culture Centre, Katherine, NT
Sunday 9th February – The Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Ann Vriend
Friday 7th February — Albert Park Yacht Club, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 8th February — The Rumpus Room, Maribyrnong, VIC
Sunday 9th February — On The Green at Gumly Gumly, Wagga Wagga, NSW
Wednesday 12th February — Django Bar, Marrickville, NSW
Friday 14th February — The Homestead, North Hobart, TAS

Daughter
Monday 10th February – St Michael’s Church, Melbourne, VIC

Eddie Vedder
Friday 7th February – Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA
Saturday 8th February – Riverside Theatre, Perth, WA
Tuesday 11th February – State Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Thursday 13th February – Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Imogen Clark and Joe Mungovan
Friday 7th February – The Corner Store, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 12th February – Yours & Owls, Wollongong, NSW

Jack Carty
Friday 7th February – House Concert, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 8th February – House Concert, Berrima, NSW
Sudnay 9th February – House Concert, Leumeah, NSW
Thursday 13th February – House Concert, Glebe, NSW

James Teague
Wednesday 12th February – The Workers Club, Melbourne, VIC

Josh Pyke
Friday 14th February – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Friday 14th February – Rooty Hill RSL, Sydney, NSW

Laneway Festival
Friday 7th February – Harts Mill, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 8th February – Esplanade Park and West End, Fremantle, WA

Leah Flanagan w/ Jess Beck Duo
Thursday 13th February – Vic on the Park, Enmore, NSW

Lime and Steel w/ Vendulka
Saturday 8th February – The Front, Canberra, ACT

Mat McHugh
Friday 7th February – Torquay Hotel, Torquay VIC
Saturday 8th February – Westernport Hotel, Hastings VIC

One Up Two Down and Oh Pep!
Friday 7th February – Tanswell’s Commercial Hotel, Beechworth, VIC
Saturday 8th February – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 9th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Monday 10 February – The Cave, Gold Coast, QLD
Wednesday 12th February – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW
Thursday 13th February – The Treehouse, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 14th February – The Danish Club, Brisbane, QLD

Sam Buckingham
Thursday 13th February – Twilight Markets, Albury, NSW

The Beez
Friday 7th to Sunday 9th February – National Multicultural Festival, ACT
Friday 14th February – Newcastle and Hunter Valley Folk Club, NSW

The Folk Informal feat. James Kelly, Ryan Collings, Betty & Oswald, Timberwolf
Thursday 13th February – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

Woody Pitney w/ Ariela Jacobs
Thursday 13th February – The Evelyn Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“Raglan Road” – Glen Hansard and Colm Mac Con Iomaire

Glen Hansard is in the country at the moment, supporting Eddie Vedder and performing his own shows so I thought it might be nice to share this video of he and The Frames bandmate Colm Mac Con Iomaire performing the Irish classic “Raglan Road”.

The New Year Conundrum

Every year as the calendar days roll by, friends and family start asking the inevitable questions about what you are doing for Christmas and New Year. In the past, there has been a good range of folk friendly festivals stretching up and down the East Coast of Australia for eager punters to choose from, but with the demise of both Pyramid Rock Festival and Peats Ridge Festival, it shrinks the obvious choices down to Woodford Folk Festival and The Falls Festival (which has conveniently added a new venue/ location for the 2013/14 event).

But, what if you’re not after a big and busy festival for your New Year’s celebrations? Well, let’s take a look at what’s on offer, both the big guns and the ones you might not have come across yet.

Woodford Folk Festival – Woodford, QLD

Woodford Cart

Undeniably one of the largest festivals in Australia, it has been repeatedly nominated for all kinds of awards in the events and tourism industries and remains one of my favourite festivals of all time, even if only for a 35 hour experience, I’d love to go back (but sadly, not this year). Based on their own site (Woodfordia, about one hour north of Brisbane), The Queensland Folk Federation have delivered outstanding line ups year after year and offer a range of musical acts and arts activities for all ages making this festival easy for the whole family to attend. While this year’s line up hasn’t yet been announced, we would put money on it being another outstanding list of great musicians from around the world, a quick glance through the 2012/13 programme book will attest to that.

Tickets and camping are still available at pre-festival web prices up until Christmas Eve, or if you’re feeling the pinch, they are always looking for willing volunteers who gain free entry in return for their help before, during or after the festival. Highlights of Woodford, apart from the amazing line up (in which we would name almost ever artist we’ve covered on  Timber and Steel if we were to list past festival performers), includes the huge range of workshops, crafts and activities for all ages to participate in, the exciting range of food and stalls available on site, the breathtaking lantern parade and the penultimate fire event bringing in the New Year. Completely safe for the whole family with plenty for the young and young at heart, if you haven’t been to Woodford, it is probably the festival I would tell everyone to go to no matter what their musical leaning. Don’t believe me? Check out their latest promo video:

The Falls Festival – Lorne Vic, Marion Bay Tas and Byron Bay NSW

Falls Festival, Lorne, 2008, Music Festival

Now, before I get you all excited, tickets for two of the three sites have sold out, tickets are now only available for Marion Bay in Tasmania. So, for those of you already with tickets to Lorne or Byron Bay, I’m only going to be reaffirming your excellent choice in festival for the New Year period. I went along for the 2011/12 festival in Lorne Vic and discovered an experience I had not anticipated, it was so big it required multiple small reviews, no single post could encapsulate it all. 2013 is the first year they’ve expanded to Byron Bay (which has successfully hosted Splendor in the Grass and nearby is the home of Bluesfest) so there is no hesitation that a New Year’s festival will have any trouble in such esteemed company.

Just like Woodford, The Falls Festival is not just a music festival, it has a vast array of arts workshops and experiences to keep every punter engaged no matter their hangover or musical interests, from themed days and fiesta’s through to art attacks. For those thinking still and wondering about Marion Bay, we can confirm it is a kid friendly event meaning, like Woodford, the whole family can come along and enjoy the line up.

Speaking of line ups, since The Falls Festival is not exclusively a folk festival, it means the artists cover a range of styles but still features some of our favourites including Emma Louise, Gossling, Grizzly Bear, Neil Finn, The Cat Empire, The Paper Kites, The Preachers and a whole lot more that we’d love to check out live. For the full line up, visit the listing on their website.

If you’re heading to the Byron Bay site and haven’t decided whether to camp, glamp or swag it, all the accomodation options are available on the Falls Festival travel page including the incredibly groovy Tepee Life village (Tepee Life also available in Marion Bay).

And if the idea of heading to Tasmania isn’t immediately appealing, just pause for a moment to consider the great adventure you could embark on. Not only do you get to head to one of the most pristine and beautiful forest areas within Australia and see some of the best acts around (including voting by Oct 31 in the Foster A Band competition to choose a local band to grace the stage), you can also take advantage of the 29 December start date to have an adventure around Hobart and broader Tasmania before bringing in the New Year!

If you’re struggling to decide, or wish you’d got a ticket to Lorne or Byron Bay, don’t despair, there are a few more options including applying for an Art Camp at any of the three sites to create the artistic heart and soul of the festival, and includes a coveted ticket to the festival. If you’re not so artistically inclined, but don’t mind a bit of work, volunteer applications are still open for Marion Bay.

Now, I move out of my comfort zone to two festival’s I’ve never been to!

Gulgong Folk Festival – Gulgong NSW

Dancing Gulgong Folk Festival by Flickr member farmgrovePhoto courtesy of Flickr member farmgrove

Technically not actually a New Year’s festival, the Gulgong Festival (which Gareth enjoyed earlier this year) takes place over the weekend immediately prior, 28 and 29 December 2013, making it a good option for those who have to work those pesky week days between the public holidays – if you’re in NSW and can manage a drive out to Gulgong that is. However, it’s also a great option for people that want a folky fix AND their big city New Year’s party as you could manage both pretty easily. If a nice jaunt out to Mudgee isn’t tempting enough, what if I told you tickets were free? I kid you not.

There’s no obvious camping options unless you seek out a camping ground but their website does list a number of motels and accommodation options, and really who doesn’t like a trip out in to the countryside and a good B&B to see you through?

Again, their line up is not announced yet, but with past acts like Jack Carty, The Falls, Mustered Courage, April Maze, we’re pretty confident it will be an impressive selection. A little birdy has shared some inside information that Daniel Champagne, Melanie Horsnell, Alan Caswell, Big Erle and Matt Southon may well make appearances *nudge, nudge, wink, wink*

Nariel-Creek Folk Festival – Nariel Creek Vic

Vendulka performing at the Nariel-Creek Folk FestivalVendulka on stage. Photo courtesy of Nariel-Creek Folk Festival

A beaut little festival in regional Victoria (North East for those playing at home) which looks to be the kind of scale of The Gum Ball or Corinbank and equally delightful feel for all the family. They went simple in their online presence – a facebook page only, having pulled down their website earlier in the year. Tickets are cheap at $20 a head and available at the door, camping is an incredibly low $5/ night and you can turn up early and stay late if you really want. No idea who is on their bill, but in honesty, it just looks like an amazing and relaxed way to spend a New Year’s, especially if you want to avoid the crowds! Plus there is ample opportunity to dress up for the fun of it with plenty of great shots of their past New Year’s Even cocktail parties on their facebook page.

Gum Ball Crowd

An honourable mention goes to The Gum Ball, who last month put the call out online to see who might be inclined to turn up at their Dashville property for a New Year’s Gum Ball-esque event. Unfortunately they didn’t get enough interest to make anything happen this year, but if you’re keen to see a New Year festival in the Hunter Valley for future years, we think heading to the 2014 Gum Ball and making noises at the organisers might help them decide to go ahead in 2014.

So, where are you spending New Year’s? We’re still considering the conundrum ourselves!

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