Review: Majors Creek Festival 2019

Mary Maypole-5.jpg

Photos by Stuart Bucknell Photography
View our entire photo gallery on Facebook in our Majors Creek Festival Album.

If you’ve never been to a folk music festival, you might be forgiven for feeling overwhelmed with choices. Across Australia there is everything from mega-festivals of international renown, down to the salt of the earth community run festivals. Last month we had the pleasure of visiting the Majors Creek Festival for the first time, to sample the local folky flavor.

Celebrating more than a quarter of a century, the Majors Creek Festival is an absolute gem, tucked away in the Southern Tablelands of NSW, an hour from Canberra, and 3 hours from Sydney.

The festival venue takes advantage of the local amenities, including the local church, and the showground hall, as well as creating a cosy, welcoming village green peppered with markets, delicious food outlets, circus entertainments and multiple easy to access music stages.

The site was thoughtfully decorated with beautiful styling and simple execution giving a cohesive connectedness across the the venues. With activities and entertainments for the kids at the centre of the field in a big top tent, the adults were treated to a weekend of musical delights across 7 different stages.

Mandy Connell-11Mandy Connell brought her storytelling charm to the St Pete stage along with her tales of home and sentimental reminiscences. With a spring in her step and a flair for performance, her audience were swept away with her lyrical fancies.

Liz Frencham’s cool blues delivered both punchy beats and troubadour solemnity, twining together tales and talk of “community that makes political bullshit fade away”. With the audience singing along and lapping up every tune, the set was a popular choice.

The Perfs were one of the acts on the unofficial stage at St Mary’s, also known as ‘the other church’ a delightful relaxed patio setting framing the delectable harmonies of the duo. Their laid back and enchanting style melded modern and old style in a hypnotic hymn.

Fiona Ross delivered a Capella joy over in the ‘Official’ site Church with a traditional Scottish set, mostly in Gaelic, and predominantly from the East and South. Such beautiful acoustics and with no accompaniment other than the audience themselves, Ross delivered a thorough and rousing collection of toe tapping tunes.

Floyd Thursby also loaned his style to the acoustic setting of the Church, and brought his dulcet mix of French and English to an eager audience. His blend of both allegorical and literal storytelling tunes tells tales of love and woe, humour and humitlity, and takes the audience in a delightful journey.Andy Nelson-5Andy Nelson would be the festival highlight for the team, with a moody, sultry opening to his set, the soft masculine voice of Nelson created an alluring and enchanting scene. His emphatic style along with talented musicians on bass and violin to accompany his guitar, welcomed a hypnotic spellbinging combined sound. By swapping in mandolin, and harmonica to accompany his suite of songs, Nelson delivered a blistering set to the enthusiastic audience.

Great Aunt showcased the their guitar and double bass styling with a moody and strong set, balancing the feminine and sullen atmos. Their style mixed well bringing clever lyrics and knowing wink to the stage.

The New Graces’s gloriously complimentary voices gave lilting, lovely lyrical harmonies. They took turns leading with a great collaborative approach that showcased each individual talent within a cohesive whole.

Holly Arrowsmith excelled in her autobiographical storytelling with an enchanting tonality and crisp quality of both vocals and musicality. Choosing a mix of political folk tunes and her own inviting and enrapturing songs made for a compelling set.

Equus always draws a crowd and never fails to entertain. Their set was uplifting in the chill of dusk, with their fabulous and fascinating throat singing interwoven with traditional singing to spice up the sonic experience. Electric energy filled the air as their music ebbed forward delivering a mix of modern and traditional tracks, catch the audience up, clapping along spiritedly.

 

Shane Nicholson-5Shane Nicholson was one of the big names and drew quite the crowd. The audience were immediately engaged as the familiar refrains of “when The River Runs Dry” peeled across the tent. Accompanied by producer extraordinaire Matt Fell, the dynamic of the duo won everyone over, with Nicholson’s soothing, smooth vocals and subtle, soft harmonies tapping into and creating a warm, welcoming space through song.

The Water Runners kicked off our Sunday, delivering upbeat bluegrass vibes, harmonies, and fun frivolity. Their topical set covered everything from climate change through to lovesick stories, and cautionary tales.

Kelsey Berrington delivered a light and listenable set that captured the audiences spirit. Reminiscent of Kim Churchill and Jack Carty, a refreshing set ensued.

Big Fiddle Little Fiddle does what it says on the box, if you let a Cello be a big fiddle that is. Their fusion of styles started with an almost syncopated vibe, building in to an interesting contrasting set of sounds reminiscent of baroque and country Celtic fiddles in a lighthearted manner.

Parkville-9Parkville oozed youth and vitality with their pop folk fusion winning over hearts and minds of the audience with their lovely blend of up tempo musicality and harmonies. The fiddle is the true hero of the four piece, tying their melodies back in to the folk space while straddling the indie pop genre. Their engagement of the audience, creating a thundery opening to one of their tracks, really made their set shine.

This Way North rounded out the festival, clearly the heros of the festival, and favourites of the audience. Their set roamed from clam and harmonious, through hearty drums and feeling. The duo are highly engaging with great chemistry, entreating the audience to clap and sing along, while accentuating the layered vocals and riveting beat.

All in all, the festival is incredibly family friendly, while maintaining a high quality folk feel. Spread over the weekend, from Friday night to Sunday eve, with their after party occurring just down the road at the Majors Creek Pub, the festival is truly a whole community event.

If you’ve never been to a folk music festival, whether it’s because of kids, or that you want a less cluttered or crowded experience, Majors Creek Festival is an accessible and thoroughly enjoyable experience with a eye for sustainability and great quality music. A great first weekend festival experience.

General Festival-2

National Folk Festival Adds Even More Artists for 2018

Elephant Sessions
Image Courtesy of Elephant Sessions

The next round of artists for the 2018 National Folk Festival were announced this morning featuring a bunch of internationals, returning favourites and local gems.

The announcement is led by Scottish trad-quintet Elephant Sessions (above) who will be in the country for the festival season. Joining them are the likes of WÖR (Belgium), The Young Folk (Ireland), Trouble in the Kitchen, All Our Exes Live in Texas, My Friend The Chocolate Cake, Fiona Ross (Scotland) and Ken Nicol (England), The Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Low Down Riders, Jugularity, Davidson Brothers, Electric Tommy Johnston, Frets Patrick, Loren Kate, Zac Saber, Matilda Rose, Meyers and McNamara, Benji and the Saltwater Sound System and The Quick and The Dead along with choirs Grassroots Union Choir of Tasmania, Alleycats Community Choir, InterVarsity and Ukestral Voices plus the inclusion of the Compánach Irish music concert.

This lineup announcement also features a bunch of poets and spoken word including Keith McKenry, Sandra Renew, Andrew Galan, Daniel J Townsend, Peter Mace, Jacqui Malins with cellist Julia Horvath, Dick Warwick, Martin Pearson, BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT!, Gregory North and Glover and Sorrensen.

The National Folk Festival takes place in Canberra over the Easter long weekend, 29th March to the 2nd April. For more information, including how to pick up early bird tickets, check out the official web site here.

The Fleurieu Folk Festival Announces Headliners for 2017

Co-Cheol
Image Courtesy of Co-cheòl

South Australia’s premiere folk festival, the Fleurieu Folk Festival, has announced a bunch of really exciting headliners for its 2017 event.

This year’s Fleurieu Folk Festival will feature Kristina Olsen (USA), Ken Nicol (UK), Greg Champion, Co-cheòl (above), The BordererS, Tom Richardson, Alan Gogoll and Fiona Ross (UK).

There obviously a bunch more artists still to be announced but you have to admit that’s a pretty exciting lineup already.

The Fleurieu Folk Festival is held in Willunga, South Australia from the 27th to 29th of October. For more information including how to get your hands on tickets check out the official site here.

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 2nd June

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit released their new single “Cumberland Gap”. Details here

– Scots music legends Fiona Ross and Tony McManus kick off their double-bill Australian tour this weekend. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Alanna Eileen released her stunning new single “Knowledge”. Details here

– Sydney band The Snowdroppers are calling it quits with a final tour. Details here

Sam Buckingham announced plans to tour her new album The Water nationally. Details here

Releases This Week

Charlie Fink
Cover My TracksCharlie Fink
iTunes

Husky
PunchbuzzHusky
iTunes

Sam Buckingham
The WaterSam Buckingham
Bandcamp

Bloom
BloomTimothy James Bowen
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Stop Adani Disco-Hoedown feat. Lime and Steel

Lime and Steel

Get aware, get active, and get up on the floor! Help stop the disastrous Adani mine proposal on the Great Barrier Reef with some amazing folk music.

Friday 2nd June – Junction 142, Katoomba, NSW

Gigs Next Week

Áine Tyrrell
Friday 2nd June – The Naked Bean, Grafton, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – No. 5 Church St, Bellingen, NSW

Anna Cordell
Saturday 3rd June – LongPlay, Melbourne, VIC

Ben Aylward, Michael Plater, Carl Redfern, Rebecca Bastoli
Thursday 8th June – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Beth Orton
Friday 9th June – The Croxton Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

Bill Callahan: Smog to Dream River
Friday 2nd June – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Friday 2nd June – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Bill Chambers & Raechel Whitchurch
Saturday 3rd June – Caravan Music Club, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 4th June – Instore at Nepean Music Centre, Mornington, VIC
Sunday 4th June – Baha, Rye, VIC

Bob Evans
Friday 2nd June – The Croxton Front Bar, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 3rd June – Workers Club, Geelong, VIC
Thursday 8th June – Grace Emily Hotel – Adelaide, SA
Friday 9th June – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Busby Marou
Friday 2nd June – Launceston Country Club, Launceston, TAS
Saturday 3rd June – Wrest Point Casino Showroom, Hobart, TAS
Thursday 8th June – Miami Marketta, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 9th June – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Catherine Traicos
Thursday 8th June – The White Horse Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Crooked Fiddle Band
Friday 9th June – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

Daniel Champagne
Friday 2nd June – Saints & Sailors, Portarlington, VIC
Saturday 3rd June – Baha, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Sunday 4th June – Martians Cafe & Bar, Deans Marsh, VIC
Wednesday 7th June – The Commons, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 8th June – UOW UniBar, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 9th June – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW

Dear Plastic, On Diamond, Broads
Friday 9th June – Bar Open, Melbourne, VIC

Diamond Duck
Sunday 4th June – Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Saturday 3rd June – House Concert, Gladstone, QLD

Fiona Ross & Tony McManus
Saturday 3rd June – Beasley Auditorium, Perth, WA
Sunday 4th June – Lauriston Hall, Kyneton, VIC
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

FolkSwagon feat. Lady Lyon, Brendon Moon, Romisounds
Wednesday 7th June – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

High Tea Feat. William Crighton
Thursday 8th June – Sydney, NSW

Hussy Hicks and Bonnie Kay & The Bonafides
Thursday 8th June – Lazybones Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Jane Cameron and Greg Steps
Wednesday 7th June – The Retreat Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Jeff Lang
Friday 9th June – Ravenswood Hotel, Ravenswood, WA

Jemma Nicole, Howl at The Moon, Brooke Russell, Maddy Leman
Friday 9th June – The Old Bar, Melbourne, VIC

John Flanagan Trio
Friday 2nd June – Courthouse Cultural Centre, Auburn, SA
Saturday 3rd June – Barossa Regional Gallery, Tanunda, SA
Sunday 4th June – The Barn, Adelaide Hills, SA

Justin Bernasconi
Friday 2nd June – The Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 3rd June – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Thursday 8th June – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th June – The Skylark Lounge, Upwey, VIC

Kevin Crawford, Colin Farrell & Patrick Doocey
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC

Kim Churchill
Saturday 3rd June – Fremantle Town Hall, Perth, WA

Laura Marling
Thursday 8th June – The Triffid, Brisbane, QLD

Leah Senior
Friday 9th June – Korova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC

Les Thomas
Friday 2nd June – Kingsbury Bowls Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th June – Kingsbury Bowls Club, Melbourne, VIC

Liam Gerner
Friday 2nd June – Music On The Hills, Red Hill, VIC

Liz Stringer’s Big Tuesday String-a-long feat. Dr Lou Bennett
Tuesday 6th June – The Gasometer, Melbourne, VIC

Lolo Lovina
Friday 9th June – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Lowdown Hokum Orchestra
Friday 9th June – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Lucy Wise
Sunday 4th June – Joe’s Market Garden, Melbourne, VIC

Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan
Saturday 3rd June – 303, Melbourne, VIC

Mary Coughlan
Friday 2nd June – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 4th June – Canberra Irish Club, Canberra, ACT

Mick Thomas
Friday 2nd June – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Lizottes Restaurant, Newcastle, NSW
Sunday 4th June – Hotel Gearin, Katoomba, NSW
Friday 9th June – Wagga Wagga Civic Centre, Wagga Wagga, NSW

Monni Sparrow w/ Skyscraper Stan
Sunday 4th June – The Taproom, Castlemaine, VIC

MOTH feat. Liz Stringer, Liam Gerner
Friday 2nd June – Music on the Hill, Red Hill, VIC

National Celtic Festival
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – Portarlington, VIC

Palm Creek Folk Festival
Thursday 8th to Sunday 11th June – Mountain View Lake Eco Park, QLD

Papa Pilko And The Binrats
Saturday 3rd June – Rad, Wollongong, NSW

Perisher Peak Festival
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – Perisher, NSW

Porch Light Sessions feat. The Button Collective, Sally & George, Taryn La Fauci
Thursday 8th June – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Quinton Trembath
Thursday 8th June – House Concert, Newcastle, NSW

Raised By Eagles
Friday 2nd June – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Lizottes Restaurant, Newcastle, NSW

Red-Eyed and Blue: Katie Brianna & Adam Young
Sunday 4th June – The Bearded Tit, Sydney, NSW

Rhythm & Blues BBQ feat. That Red Head, Don Hopkins, The Sweet Jelly Rolls, Jesse Redwing
Thursday 8th June – Miss Peaches, Sydney, NSW

Sally & George
Friday 2nd June – No. 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Megan Hall, Dorrigo, NSW
Tuesday 6th June – Newcastle Uni, Newcastle, NSW
Tuesday 6th June – Sunset Studio, Sandgate, NSW
Wednesday 7th June – Smiths Alternative Bookshop, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 8th June – Porch Light Sessions at The Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th June to Monday 12th June – Peak Festival, Perisher, NSW

Sam Buckingham
Saturday 3rd June – Lismore City Hall, Lismore, NSW

Sara Tindley w/ Nick Payne
Sunday 4th June – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Stop Adani Disco-Hoedown feat. Lime and Steel
Friday 2nd June – Junction 142, Katoomba, NSW

Sun Kil Moon
Saturday 3rd June – Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS

Sydney Bluegrass & Old-Time Music Get-together
Saturday 3rd June – Annandale Community Centre, Sydney, NSW

Taasha Coates
Friday 2nd June – Kingston Town Hall, Moorabbin, VIC
Friday 9th June – The Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD

The McClymonts
Friday 2nd June – Commercial Club, Albury, NSW
Saturday 3rd June – GV Hotel, Shepparton, VIC

The Northern Folk & This Way North
Thursday 8th June – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Shack Presents Pat Drummond, Distant Sons, Nick & Jazz
Saturday 3rd June – The Music Lounge, Sydney, NSW

The Tim Hulsman Trio
Friday 2nd June – Suttons House Of Music, Ballarat, VIC
Sunday 4th June – Sooki Lounge, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 9th June – KUBU Studio, Geelong, VIC

Thomas Oliver
Wednesday 7th June – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Friday 9th June – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

Tom Stephens
Thursday 8th June – Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Sydney, NSW

Tom West
Saturday 3rd June – Jive, Adelaide, SA

Top Half Folk Festival
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – Glen Helen Homestead, NT

Trioc
Sunday 4th June – The Last Jar, Melbourne, VIC

Vaudevillia by Mic Conway’s National Junk Band
Sunday 4th June – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Waterloo Sunset Sessions feat. Weatherboard Heart
Sunday 4th June – George Hotel, Sydney, NSW

William Crighton
Thursday 8th June – High Tea, Sydney, NSW
Friday 9th June – The Ex-Services Club, Mullum, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Naked As We Came” – Iron and Wine

Fiona Ross and Tony McManus Announce Double Bill Concert Tour

Fiona Ross
Image Courtesy of Fiona Ross

Celebrated Scots singer Fiona Ross recently released her latest album Clyde’s Water featuring the innumerous talents of Celtic guitar virtuoso Tony McManus.

Now the two folk music legends have announced plans to head to Australia for a double bill concert series throughout June.

The performance will see Tony McManus, who is based in Canada, performing his own set before joining Fiona Ross, who is based in Melbourne, on stage. Check out the full list of dates below:

Saturday 3rd June – Beasley Auditorium, Perth, WA
Sunday 4th June – Lauriston Hall, Kyneton, VIC
Friday 9th to Monday 12th June – National Celtic Festival, Portarlington, VIC
Wednesday 14th June – Sweet Home, Cobargo, NSW
Friday 16th June – The Polish White Eagle Club, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 17th June – Magda Community Artz, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 18th June – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 21st June – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Port Fairy Adds Six More Artists to its 2015 Lineup

Bearded Gypsy Band
Image Courtesy of The Bearded Gypsy Band

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is just over two months away and it looks like they’ve got even more to give with six more artists added to the lineup this week.

Joining an already impressive lineup will be indie-folk duo Luluc, Australian songwriting legend Mike Brady, singer-songwriter Frank Yamma, the genre hopping The Bearded Gypsy Band (above), Scottish traditional singer Fiona Ross and indie-darlings Skipping Girl Vinegar.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival takes place in Port Fairy, Victoria from the 6th to 9th March. For more information and tickets check out the official site here.

The National Folk Festival Announce Second Round of Performers

Tift Merritt
Image Courtesy of Tift Merritt

Christmas has come a few days early with the National Folk Festival announcing their second round of artists for 2014.

Headlining the list this time around are UK singer-songwriter Rory McLeod, Canadian banjo player and singer Old Man Luedecke and US folk singer Tift Merritt (above). Joining them will be Louise Phelan & Maeve Moynihan, Siobhan Owen, Joe Lynch, Fiona Ross, Heath Cullen, Cameron Mather, The Barons of Tang, Richard Perso, Tracey Bunn and Her Handsome Devils, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Souleiado French Dance Group, The Last Five Coins, Karavana Flamenca, Santa Taranta, Dick Warwick and Geoffrey W Graham.

All of these artists join an already impressive lineup that features Eleanor McEvoy, Rose Cousins, Jordie Lane, Kate Fagan, Bernard Carney, The Mae Trio, The Davidson Brothers, Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty), Trouble In The Kitchen and many more.

The National Folk Festival takes place at Exhibition Park in Canberra from the 17th to 21st April

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