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

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 19th July

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Our latest New Music Monday featured new songs and videos from the likes of Bon Iver, Boy & Bear, Great Aunt, Josh Rennie-Hynes, Matt Corby & Tash Sultana, The Maes and The Teskey Brothers. Listen and watch them here

Releases This Week

Better Grow Up
Better Grow UpAngharad Drake
iTunes
Bandcamp

Joe Pug
The Flood in ColorJoe Pug
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

The Lumineers

The Lumineers

Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW
Monday 22nd July – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

19-Twenty
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo, NSW
Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th July – Echuca-Moama Winter Blues Festival, Echuca, Victoria

Adam Eckersley Band
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Amber Lawrence
Friday 26th July – Gunnedah Hotel, Gunnedah, NSW

Andrew Swift
Friday 19th July – Captain Cook Holiday Village, Seventeen Seventy, QLD
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Angharad Drake
Wednesday 24th July – The J, Noosa, QLD

Because The Night feat. Sean Simmons, Jessica Cassar
Thursday 25th July – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Big Sky Mountain
Friday 26th July – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Bonnie Kay and the Bonafides
Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th July – Echuca-Moama Winter Blues Festival, Echuca, Victoria

Bonniesongs w/ Elizabeth Fader, Ollie Thorpe
Thursday 25th July – The Vanguard, Sydney, NSW

Brad Butcher
Friday 19th July – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW

Brad Cox
Friday 19th July – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 25th July – The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW

Busby Marou
Friday 26th July – The Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Casey Atkins & his Press Studs
Sunday 21st July – Shady Pines Saloon, Sydney, NSW

CJ Shaw
Tuesday 23rd July – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Courtney Barnett
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW

Dan Sultan presents Nali & Friends
Saturday 20th July – The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 20th July – The Melba Spiegeltent, Melbourne, VIC

Daniel Champagne
Saturday 20th July – Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Davidson Brothers
Friday 19th July – True Brew, Bendigo, VIC
Saturday 20th July – St Ambrose Hall, Woodend, VIC
Sunday 21st July – The Curtin, Melbourne, VIC

Dean Lewis
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW

Echuca-Moama Winter Blues Festival
Thursday 25th to Sunday 28th July – Echuca, Victoria

Ettalong Jazz Festival
Saturday 20th July – Galleria, Ettalong Beach, NSW

Fanny Lumsden
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Felicity Urquhart
Friday 19th July – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

FolkSwagon feat. Blain Cunneen, Georgia Mulligan, Daniel Cherote
Wednesday 24th July – Cafe Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Freya Josephine Hollick
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Gary & James Daley
Saturday 20th July – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Genevieve Chadwick & The Stones Throw
Friday 19th July – Music at Street Market, Sydney, NSW

Great Aunt
Saturday 20th July – Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Sunday 21st July – Little Alberts, Bathurst, NSW
Thursday 25th July – Temperance Society, Sydney, NSW

Gretta Ziller
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Grizzlee Train
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo, NSW

Groundwater Country Music Festival
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Gold Coast, QLD

Honky Tonkin’ feat. King Arthur
Thursday 25th July – The Rook’s Return, Melbourne, VIC

Ireland Rocks featuring Ciaran Gribbin
Saturday 20th July – The Brass Monkey, Cronulla, NSW

Jamberoo Music Festival
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo, NSW

Jeff Lang
Sunday 21st July – Newport Bowls Club, Newport, VIC
Friday 26th July – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW

Jess Ribeiro
Friday 19th July – Franks Wild Years, Wollongong, NSW
Friday 26th July – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Jesse Younan Tribute Show
Friday 19th July – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

John Schumann and Shane Howard
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Kay Proudlove
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo, NSW

Little Georgia
Sunday 21st July – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 26th July – The Lennox Sessions, Lennox Head, NSW

Little Quirks
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo, NSW

Magpie Diaries
Friday 19th July – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 20th July – The Gem Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Mandy Connell & Liz Frencham
Sunday 21st July – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Mark Oats and Matty Zarb
Friday 26th July – Django at Camelot, Sydney, NSW

Matt Corby
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW

Mick Hart
Friday 26th and Saturday 27th July – Winter Blues Festival, Echuca, VIC

Montgomery Church
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Mustered Courage
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Nathan Seeckts
Saturday 20th July – The Fitzroy Pinnacle, Melbourne, VIC

Paddy McHugh & Andy Golledge
Friday 26th July – The Railway Club, Darwin, NT

Queen Porter Stomp w/ Michigan Waters
Friday 19th July – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 20th July – Galleria, Ettalong Beach, NSW

Round Mountain Girls
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Sahara Beck
Wednesday 24th July – The J, Noosa, QLD
Friday 26th July – The Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Scottish Trad Session
Saturday 20th July – The Pipers Inn, Halls Head, WA

Sea Shanty Session
Wednesday 24th July – The Brother’s Public House, Melbourne, VIC

Sean McMahon and The Owls
Thursday 25th July – Edinburgh Castle, Melbourne, VIC

Skyscraper Stan
Friday 19th July – Four5Nine, Perth, WA
Saturday 20th July – Prince of Wales, Bunbury, WA
Sunday 21st July – Caves House, Yallingup, WA
Friday 26th July – Bridge Hotel, Castlemaine, VIC

Smith & Jones
Saturday 20th July – Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Sunday 21st July – Little Alberts, Bathurst, NSW

Splendour in the Grass
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – North Byron Parklands, Byron Bay, NSW

Taste Of Tamworth feat. Carter & Carter, Lyn Bowtell, Jayne Denham, The Weeping Willows
Friday 19th July – Burrinja, Upwey, VIC
Saturday 20th July – Gateway Hotel, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 21st July – Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, Wonthaggi, VIC

Tessa Devine
Friday 19th July – The ORB, Atherton, QLD
Thursday 25th July – Elixir Music Bar, Cairns, QLD

The Bushwackers
Sunday 21st July – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Friday 26th July – Outback Queensland Masters, Mount Isa, QLD

The Little Lord Street Band
Friday 19th July – Four5Nine Bar, Perth, WA
Saturday 20th July – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Sunday 21st July – Clancy’s Fish Pub, Fremantle, WA
Friday 26th July – Grumpy’s Music Bar, Perth, WA

The Lumineers
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW
Monday 22nd July – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW

The Slowdowns
Friday 26th July – The Unicorn Hotel, Sydney, NSW

The Teskey Brothers
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW

The Water Runners
Saturday 20th July – Jamberoo Music Festival, Jamberoo, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Friday 19th July – Burrinja, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 20th July – Gateway Hotel, Geelong, VIC
Sunday 21st July – Wonthaggi Union Community Arts Centre, Wonthaggi, VIC

Thelma Plum
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 26th July – The Fortitude Music Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Tori Forsyth
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th July – Groundwater Country Music Festival, Gold Coast, QLD

Vardos Trio
Friday 26th July – 24 Moons Bar, Melbourne, VIC

Witches Leap
Friday 19th July – Tintenbar Up Front, Tintenbar, NSW
Saturday 20th July – Studio Folk Club, Armidale, NSW
Sunday 21st July – House Concert, Maitland, NSW

Woman Enough feat. Catherine Britt, Melody Moko, Natalie Henry
Wednesday 24th July – The Stag & Hunter Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 25th July – Lazybones Lounge, Sydney, NSW
Friday 26th July – Great Northern Trading Post, Laguna, NSW

Ziggy Alberts
Friday 19th to Sunday 21st July – Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Blue Mountains” – Sam Amidon

New Music Monday – 15th July

The Maes
Image Courtesy of The Maes

Bon Iver – “Jelmore” & “Faith”

The internet lost its mind this week with Bon Iver not only dropping two more songs, but also announcing their new album i,i, due on the 30th August. After releasing “Hey, Ma” and “U (Man Like)” last month, the new Bon Iver tracks are the glitchy “Jelmore” and the anthemic “Faith”. Justin Vernon’s sound continues to evolve away from the gentle folk of his earlier work with him fully embracing samples, loops and more on his new music. But front and centre is still Vernon’s amazing voice and pitch perfect songwriting and that’s what makes anything new from Bon Iver something to get excited about.


Boy & Bear – “Hold Your Nerve”

Since “Hold Your Nerve” was released in the last couple of weeks I’ve been hearing it all over the radio. It’s great that a band like Boy & Bear is still able to pump out songs that get the radio listening public excited. And “Hold Your Nerve” deserves the success its been getting – the track is classic Boy & Bear, combining their love of 70s folk-rock with the anthemic indie-pop they’ve becoming known for.

The track is taken from Boy & Bear’s newly announced album Suck On Light which will hit our ears on the 27th September. They also have a bunch of shows announced in August with tickets selling fast:

Thursday 15th August – The Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 16th August – The Forum, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 17th August – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Friday 23rd August – The Astor, Perth, WA

Great Aunt – “FOMO”

Melbourne based folk and Americana duo Great Aunt tackle the modern anxiety of missing out on their latest track “FOMO”. with bluesy slide resonator guitar and thumping bass, the vocals in this track are actually more understated than you’d imagine. This is a very modern folk song that pays tribute to the roots of the music it draws from.

“FOMO” is taken from Great Aunt’s upcoming album So Not Right Now which is due for release in November. The duo are currently on tour – check out their upcoming dates here:

Tuesday 16th July – BUG Acoustic, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 17th July – Element Bar, Coffs Harbour, NSW
Thursday 18th July – The Middle, Mullumbimby, NSW
Saturday 20th July – Hardy’s Bay Club, Hardy’s Bay, NSW
Sunday 21st July – Little Alberts, Bathurst, NSW
Thursday 25th July – Temperance Society, Sydney, NSW
Sunday 28th July – The Cambus Wallace, Gold Coast, QLD
Friday 4th and Saturday 5th October – Deni Ute Muster Festival, Deniliquin, NSW
Friday 15th to Sunday 16th November – Healesville Music Festival, Healesville, VIC

Josh Rennie-Hynes – “Chapter”

Australian singer-songwriter Josh Rennie-Hynes has just unveiled his latest solo single “Chapter”, his first since his work as one half of The Ahern Brothers. Josh Rennie-Hynes moved to Nashville to write and record his upcoming album Patterns, due on the 27th September, and you can hear that towns influence all over “Chapter”. This is straight up Americana songwriting, with Rennie-Hynes voice accompanied by a cracking band.

Matt Corby & Tash Sultana – “Talk It Out”

Australian roots music darlings Matt Corby and Tash Sultana have come together for an amazing collaboration in “Talk It Out”. The funky, soulful track is very smooth and plays on the unique voice of both artists.

“I wrote the song during the sessions for Rainbow Valley, but in a different way to the rest of the album,” Corby explains. “It didn’t feel like it was a fit for the record so I revisited it with Tash recently. Tash has a giant musical beast living inside of her, so I knew she could deal with whatever I threw at her. It was amazing to collaborate with someone like that, and have her throw her musical styling’s over the song.”

“We originally started having a jam in early 2017, then life came between making music together,” Tash Sultana adds. “This track came about because Matt didn’t include it on Rainbow Valley. He sent it to me to fill in the blanks, and it’s the first collaboration I’ve done with another artist that I’ve released. Matt is an amazing songwriter and instrumentalist. He’s also an absolutely awesome guy with a huge soul so it was a privilege to be a part of this project.”

Matt Corby plays Splendour in the Grass this weekend.

The Maes – “Treat You Better”

I know it’s pretty early to call, but “Treat You Better” from Melbourne duo The Maes is close to being my favourite song of 2019. Taken from their self-titled album, “Treat You Better” is some absolutely fine songwriting, with sweet harmonies entwining themselves around guitar, bass and mandolin. The song’s storytelling lyrics are deceptively simple (as all great lyrics are), but have a depth to them that grows on every listen. But where “Treat You Better” really shines in the chorus, which builds to a chant as the track crescendos and lodges itself firmly in your head for days to come. The Maes have released the official video for “Treat You Better” featuring live footage from festivals and shows from across the world and it’s a wonderful accompaniment to amazing song.

The Teskey Brothers – “So Caught Up”

And so we have yet another single and video from The Teskey Brothers’ upcoming album Run Home Slow, due on the 2nd August. This time it’s the soulful “So Caught Up”, described by the band as the centrepiece to the upcoming album. The track has a pop sensibility without losing The Teskey Brothers’ innate love of the blues, soul and gospel music that’s inspired them.

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