The Gum Ball Interview: Felix Riebl

Photo by Stuart Bucknell

We’re getting ready for a big Easter period full of exciting festivals and we’re really looking forward to heading back to The Gum Ball! We chatted with Felix Riebl about his solo work, how the Cat Empire has paved the way for his song writing and, of course, The Gum Ball!

What’s your favourite thing about embarking on your solo work and touring?

The atmosphere in both the studio and on stage for Paper Doors has been new and exciting. The Cat Empire generates a lot of its energy from the contrasts within the band, both stylistically and in terms of the personalities, whereas working on this album has more of a flow to it. It’s not to say one is better than the other, it’s just a different more intimate space.

How has your Cat Empire time influenced your new solo works?

The Cat Empire has offered me bright stages, vast audiences, and near delirious moments of exuberance. That’s a great place to write from – those recollections have a lot of power for me – and it’s been interesting writing music with more room in terms of the notes, but with that incendiary spirit still in there.

Do your Cat Empire mates come to your shows and heckle you? (kidding about the heckling) How does your solo career fit in to your grand musical plan?

I wouldn’t put heckling past them… but really, we’re all musicians at the end of the day, and we’ve all got our various projects. I don’t have a grand plan at the moment, maybe it’ll come to me soon… or maybe plans are better recognised in hindsight. I think I’m trying to let the songs lead the way, and hopefully to be surprised occasionally. I try not to get too concerned about the categories of my career (solo vs tce), if the experience is genuine – writing, in the studio, or on stage – then I’m able to keep the hounds at bay.

How do you see yourself now compared to back in the early 2000s when The Cat Empire was first rising to prominence?

I’m still chasing the same illusive thing, whatever it is that keeps me awake at an instrument. When I was starting out I relied more on boundless energy, now days I tend to rely on experience a bit more, which is probably to say I’m not as blindly convinced about every idea I have anymore. In terms of song writing, I used to try and explain things more than I should, and now I think I’m trying to create a genuine echo in things I don’t understand so much.

You’ve played festivals all around the world, of all sizes and shapes. What’s your favourite thing about playing at festivals? What’s your favourite overseas festival? (and do we dare ask what your favourite Australian festival is?) And what advice would you give to a first time festival goer?

My favourite thing about festivals, aside from the colour and chaos, is that people go to discover music, which is a fantastic space for musicians to be in. This is going to sound strange, but I don’t have a favourite festival here or overseas, just as I don’t have a favourite venue, theatre or stage… When a show’s going well, you’re on every stage you’ve ever played and the audience is part of that collective moment, at least it’s something like that, and I enjoy that placeless sensation a lot. Advice for festivals… go with a group of your best friends, make an adventure of getting there if you can.

What are you most looking forward to about The Gum Ball?

I’ve never played there! I can’t wait. The line up looks fantastic. Everyone I’ve spoken to about it says it’s a really special one. I’ll have a chance to check it out and immerse myself in it, and hopefully have a great show.

Felix Riebl plays on Friday 21st April at The Gum Ball (Dashville, Belford, Hunter Valley NSW)

Tickets are still available to buy online.

Devon Sproule Announces Return To Australia

Devon Sproule
Image Courtesy of Devon Sproule

Acclaimed North American artist Devon Sproule has announced plans to return to Australia after visiting us back in 2014. Sproule will be touring throughout the country with spots at the Fairbridge Folk Festival and Gum Ball along with a bunch of headline dates.

Check out the full list of shows below:

Friday 15th to Sunday 17th April – Fairbridge Folk Festival, Pinjarra, WA
Tuesday 19th April – The Grace Emily, Adelaide, SA
Wednesday 20th April – Smiths Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 21st April – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 23rd April – The Gum Ball Festival, Dashville, NSW
Saturday 23rd April – No 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW
Sunday 24th April – Ex-services Club, Mullumbimby, NSW
Monday 25th April – Queen Street Mall Stage, Brisbane, QLD
Wednesday 27th April – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 29th April – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 26th February

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne indie-folk darlings TinPan Orange announced details of their new album, released a new video “Rich Man” and announced national tour dates. Details here

The Gum Ball have announced their final artists for 2016 including William Crighton, Devon Sproule, Davidson Brothers, Grace Turner, Galleri and many more. Details here

If You See Her, Say Hello comes to the Adelaide Fringe Festival this weekend featuring the music of Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Amy Parkinson, Brooke Russell, Cookie Baker, Elizabeth Barker, Emilee South, Gretta Ray, Jac Tonks (Amarillo), Jemma Nicole, Kate McMahon, Kelsey James, Layla Fibbins (The Sideshow Brides), Loni Rae, PHIA and more. Details here

– Brisbane’s Sahara Beck released her new single “Here It Comes”. Details here

– Sydney folk-fusion trio Devil on the Rooftop have announced a show with The Crooked Fiddle Band. Details here

The Brisbane Folk Club has announced its March lineup including The Timbers, Anna & Jordan and Luke Morris. Details here

– Melbourne based singer-songwriter Liam Gerner has announced a national tour. Details here

William Fitzsimmons announced details of his new EP Charleroi: Pittsburgh, Volume 2. Details here

– Sydney alt-country band Mark Lucas and The Dead Setters have a new album and an upcoming east coast tour. Details here

– Violinist Jane Aubourg released her new single “The Girl with the Ash Brown Hair”. Details here

– UK based nu-folk five-piece Treetop Flyers released their new video “31 Years”. Details here

– NZ songstress Aldous Harding has announced a couple of Australian shows. Details here

Blog

“This year’s Cobargo Festival presents a great opportunity to take a world tour of the different styles of Celtic music and dance” – Peter Logue outlines the Celtic music program at the Cobargo Folk Festival. Blog here

Reviews

Gigs

“This is a band that has reached its stride and now has a career pace that they could maintain for the veritable marathon ahead. While their new stuff is developing a new sound and direction, their old stuff is just as open to new interpretation and appreciation. Their rendition of “Rabbit Song” was beautiful, with a slowed bridge the seems to hang in its own air only to roll and tumble down from the stage, out across the audience. The quality of this performance brought a whole new grace and beauty to a well known favourite”KT Bell reviews Boy & Bear. Details here

Releases This Week

Elsewhere
ElsewhereGretta Ray
iTunes

The Continental Drift
The Continental DriftMark Lucas and The Dead Setters
iTunes

Timber and Steel Presents

The Timbers

William Fitzsimmons

Thursday 3rd March – Brisbane Folk Club, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 4th March – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

If You See Her, Say Hello feat. Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Amy Parkinson, Brooke Russell, Cookie Baker, Elizabeth Barker, Emilee South, Gretta Ray, Jac Tonks (Amarillo), Jemma Nicole, Kate McMahon, Kelsey James, Layla Fibbins (The Sideshow Brides), Loni Rae, PHIA

If you see her

If You See Her, Say Hello comes to the Adelaide Fringe Festival showcasing some of Australia’s top artists for one night only

Saturday 27th February – The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide, SA

Gigs Next Week

Amistat, Ben Whiting, Oliver’s Army
Thursday 3rd March – House Concert, Newcastle, NSW

Beth Patterson
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Cobargo Folk Festival, Cobargo, NSW

Burnt Creek Deviation
Friday 4th March – The Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW

Brisbane Folk Club feat. The Timbers, Anna & Jordan, Luke Morris
Tuesday 2nd March – The Foundry, Brisbane, QLD

Calexico
Wednesday 2nd March – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 4th March – Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC

Catherine Traicos
Saturday 28th February – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Cobargo Folk Festival
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Cobargo, NSW

Colin Hay
Friday 4th March – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC

Courtyard Sessions feat. Fanny Lumsden
Friday 4th March – Seymour Centre, Sydney, NSW

Davey Craddock
Friday 26th February – Major Toms, Kyneton, VIC
Saturday 27th February – Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 28th February – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW

Dawn Landes
Friday 4th March – Jet Black Cat Music, Brisbane, QLD

Elwood Myre
Friday 26th February – Petersham Bowling Club, Sydney, NSW
Friday 4th March – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup, WA
Friday 4th March – The Odd Fellow, Perth, WA

Exile: Songs & Tales of Irish Australia
Monday 29th February – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

Frances Folk Gathering
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Frances, SA

Get Folked! English Bitter Launch feat. The Crooked Fiddle Band, The Baudelaires, Handsome Young Strangers, BDSM
Sunday 28th February – Frankie’s Pizza, Sydney, NSW

Hussy Hicks
Thursday 3rd March – Settlers Tavern, Margaret River, WA
Friday 4th to Sunday 6th March – Nannup Festival, WA

If You See Her, Say Hello feat. Ali E, Al Parkinson, Amarina Waters, Amy Parkinson, Brooke Russell, Cookie Baker, Elizabeth Barker, Emilee South, Gretta Ray, Jac Tonks (Amarillo), Jemma Nicole, Kate McMahon, Kelsey James, Layla Fibbins (The Sideshow Brides), Loni Rae, PHIA
Saturday 27th February – The Garden of Unearthly Delights, Adelaide, SA

James Thomson
Friday 26th February – The Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Saturday 27th February – Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle, NSW
Thursday 3rd March – The Retreat, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 4th March – Baha, Rye, VIC

Kasey Chambers
Saturday 27th February – Melbourne Zoo Twilights, Melbourne, VIC

Kate Miller-Heidke
Wednesday 2nd March – The Spiegeltent, Adelaide, SA
Friday 4th March – J-Shed, Bathers Beach, Fremantle, WA

Lady Sunday feat. The Lyn Taylor Band, Megan Cooper, Georgia Mulligan
Sunday 28th February – The Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Liam Gerner
Thursday 3rd March – Four5Nine, Perth, WA
Friday 4th to Sunday 6th March – Nannup Music Festival, Nannup, WA

Lime and Steel
Saturday 27th February – Humph Hall, Allambie Heights, NSW
Sunday 28th February – The Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW

Little Features feat. Gentle Leader, The Campervan Dancers, Gostwyck, Ed Wells
Saturday 27th February – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Nannup Music Festival
Friday 4th to Sunday 6th March – Nannup, WA

Not Good With Horses
Sunday 28th February – Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Passenger
Saturday 27th February – The Riverstage, Brisbane, QLD
Tuesday 1st March – The Palais Theatre, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 4th March – Thebarton Theatre, Adelaide, SA

Patrick James
Friday 26th February – Howler, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 27th February – Anita’s Theatre, Wollongong NSW
Friday 4th March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

Pocket Fox
Saturday 27th February – Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

Sam Joole Band w/ Ainsley Farrell
Thursday 3rd March – Spring Street Social, Sydney, NSW

Sam Newton
Saturday 27th February – Treehouse on Belongil, Byron Bay, NSW
Sunday 28th February – The Rails, Byron Bay, NSW

Sian Evans
Saturday 27th February – Club Greenslopes, Brisbane, QLD

Sufjan Stevens
Friday 26th February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 27th February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Sunday 28th February – Hamer Hall, Melbourne, VIC
Wednesday 2nd March – Red Hill Auditorium, Perth, WA
Friday 4th March – QPAC Concert Hall, Brisbane, QLD

The Beards
Friday 26th February – Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS
Saturday 27th February – Red Hot Music, Devonport, TAS

The East Pointers
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Cobargo Folk Festival, NSW
Thursday 3rd March – Bulli Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW
Friday 4th to Sunday 6th March – Nannup Music Festival, WA

The Little Stevies
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Cobargo Folk Festival, Cobargo, NSW
Wednesday 2nd March – The Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 3rd March – Adelonia Theatre, Adelong, NSW
Friday 4th March – Tallangatta Memorial Hall, Tallangatta, VIC

The Plough
Sunday 28th February – The Coach and Horses, Sydney, NSW

The Rambling Boys
Friday 26th to Sunday 28th February – Cobargo Folk Festival, NSW
Thursday 3rd March – Milton Theatre, Milton, NSW
Friday 4th March – City Diggers, Wollongong, NSW

The Timbers
Wednesday 2nd March – Brisbane Folk Club, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 3rd March – Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD

The Weeping Willows
Friday 4th March – Basement Discs, Melbourne VIC

Tim Easton
Friday 26th February – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC
Saturday 27th February – The Junkyard, Maitland, NSW
Sunday 28th February – Django Bar, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 1st March – Jane’s, Wollongong, NSW
Wednesday 2nd March – The Midnight Special, Sydney, NSW

Vin Garbutt
Friday 26th February – Cobargo Folk Festival, Cobargo, NSW

Willowy
Friday 26th February – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Raggle Taggle Gypsy” – Planxty

Another version of the “Gypsy Davy” tradition, this time performed by the amazing Planxty.

The Gum Ball Reveals Full Lineup

Davidson Brothers
Image Courtesy of Davidson Brothers

The Gum Ball festival in the Hunter Valley, NSW holds a special place in our hearts. It is one of the country’s best boutique festivals, attracting an amazing lineup of artists to a beautiful, intimate setting.

The first round of artists for the festival, including the likes of Jeff Lang, Suzannah Espie and Caitlin Park, was announced right before Christmas, and now the full lineup has been revealed.

Joining an already impressive list of artists will be William Crighton, Devon Sproule, Davidson Brothers (above), Grace Turner, Galleri and many more.

The Gum Ball is held at Dashville, NSW from the 22nd to 24th April. Check out the full list of artists below:

You Am I
Dan Sultan
Jeff Lang
The Cactus Channel
Van Walker’s HeartBrokers
Citizen Kay
Dan Brodie
Bullhorn
Suzannah Espie
Polish Club
Caitlin Park
Astro Travellers
The Buzzard Mix
The Break
The Belligerents
Kristin Hersh (USA)
Sex on Toast
William Crighton
Devon Sproule (USA)
Davidson Brothers
Dashville Progress Society
Baghead
Mucho Sonar
Grace Turner
Dr Peach
Galleri
The Breakfast Club
OKA

Details of the New Americana Festival Dashville Skyline

Dashville Skyline
Image Courtesy of Dashville Skyline

An intriguing new festival was announced last week – the Americana focused Dashville Skyline. The festival is being put together by the folks behind The Gum Ball and will take place in Lower Belford, NSW on Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th October.

Obviously it’s too early for things like lineups, but the festival is promising national and international bands covering alt-country, pyschedelia, folk and soul.

“A lot of people were disappointed that The Gum Ball took a break in 2015, but it made it possible for us to put together this great new event, which celebrates the evolving scene for Americana music, food and culture in Australia, which we at Dashville really enjoy,” says organiser Magpie Johnston.

Tickets for Dashville Skyline are on sale now via the official site. Expect a lineup announcement to drop next week.

The Full Dates for Lindi Ortega’s First Australian Tour

Lindi Ortega
Image Courtesy of Lindi Ortega

Canadian singer-songwriter Lindi Ortega is considered one of the most exciting new acts in contemporary country music and she’s about to touch down in Australia. Already announced on the Gum Ball, Boogie Festival and National Folk Festival lineups, Lindi Ortega will also be performing a handful of solo shows while she’s in the country, supporting the release of her new album Tin Star.

Check out the full list of Lindi Ortega’s Australian dates below:

Saturday 12th April – Gumball Festival, Hunter Valley, NSW
Tuesday 15th April – Armidale Club, Armidale, NSW
Thursday 17th to Saturday 19th April – National Folk Festival, ACT
Sunday 20th April – Boogie Festival, Tullarook, VIC
Tuesday 22nd April – The Toff In Town, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 24th April – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

The Gum Ball Adds More Singer-Songwriters to Lineup

Melody Pool
Image Courtesy of Melody Pool

The Gum Ball Festival, held on the 11th 12th and 13th of April in Belford in the Hunter Valley, have just announce an extension to its weekend musical program with a showcase of singer-songwriters. Steve Smyth, Melody Pool (above), David Garnham & The Reasons To Live and The Septembers have all been added to an already impressive lineup specifically for the Sunday showcase.

The rest of the weekend will be taken up with music from the likes of Jinja Safari, Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds, Nicky Bomba All Stars, The Gin Club, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Lindi Ortega, Dyson Stringer Cloher, Damien Dempsey and many many more.

Tickets for the festival are still available – to snap them up and for more information check out the official site here. The full lineup for The Gum Ball is below:

Hoodoo Gurus, Jinja Safari, Wolf & Cub, Ngaiire, Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds (UK), Nicky Bomba All Stars, The Gin Club, Swamp Thing (NZ), Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Lindi Ortega (CAN), Jordan Rakei, Pow Wow, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Ed Kuepper, Dyson Stringer Cloher, Damien Dempsey (IRE), The Hello Morning, Tropical Zombie, The Dennis Boys Band, Zombonimo, The Soorleys, Dashville Progress Society, Steve Smyth, Melody Pool, Dave Garnham & The Reasons to Live, The Septembers

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 20th December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Tonight The Davidson Brothers will be joined by The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats and Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes for a Summer Pickin’ Party in Melbourne. Details here

– Hunter Valley festival the Gum Ball have announced their first round of artists for 2014 including Jinja Safari, Adrian Edmondson’s Bad Shepherds, Nicky Bomba, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Lindi Ortega and many many more. Details here

Jack Carty is throwing Christmas party in Sydney this Monday with The Falls, Maples, Iluka, Rosie Catalano, Achoo! Bless You, Luke Wellington, Andrew Brown and James Blow. Details here

Imogen Clark has announced a co-headline tour of NSW this January and February with singer-songwriter Joe Mungovan. Details here

– More artists have been added to the Port Fairy Folk Festival lineup including Pieta Brown, The Waifs’ Donna & Vikki’s side project The Stray Sisters, the Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, The Flying Emus and many more. Details here

– Pearl Jam front man Eddie Vedder has announced dates for a solo Australian tour. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Cass McCombs has revealed his new single “Big Wheel”. Details here

Emma Davis has released the stunning new video for her stunning new track “Stand Tall”. Details here

– Americana singer-songwriter Robert Ellis has released his new single “Only Lies”. Details here

José González released his new video “Stay Alive” from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack. Details here

Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes are heading out on tour in January to launch their new album Black Coffee. Details here

– Next April and May Boy & Bear will be heading out on a massive national regional tour. Details here

– Watch the new video from Darren Cross, “Hit The Quit”. Details here

– Adelaide folkies The Timbers have a new single, “Things to Come”, and are hitting the road throughout January. Details here

Simone Felice has revealed his new single “Molly-O!” featuring members of The Lumineers from his upcoming album Strangers. Details here

– The National Folk Festival has added a bunch more artists for 2014 including Rory McLeod, Old Man Luedecke, Tift Merritt, Heath Cullen, The Barons of Tang, Richard Perso and more. Details here

Blog

We revealed the top albums of 2013 according to Timber and Steel’s contributors. Read the piece here

Our favourite artists let us in on what they pick as their top album or EP of 2013. Read the piece here

Our Editor in Chief Gareth Hugh Evans chose his top 25 songs of 2013. Read the piece here

Gigs Next Week

April Maze w/ Cisco James
Tuesday 24th December – The Toff in Town, Melbourne, VIC

Festival of Small Halls w/ Jordie Lane and Rose Cousins
Friday 20th December – Degilbo Hall, Degilbo, QLD
Saturday 21st December – Boonarga Cactoblastis Hall, Chinchilla, QLD
Sunday 22nd December – Mt Mee Public Hall, Mt Mee, QLD

Jack Carty Christmas Party feat. Jack Carty, The Falls, Maples, Iluka, Rosie Catalano, Achoo! Bless You, Luke Wellington, Andrew Brown, James Blow
Monday 23rd December – 505, Sydney, NSW

Little May
Friday 20th December – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 21st December – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Summer Pickin’ Party feat. The Davidson Brothers, The Quarry Mountain Dead Rats, Lachlan Bryan and The Wildes
Friday 20th December – The Curtin Bandroom, Melbourne, VIC

The Morrisons
Thursday 26th December – The Vic, Sydney, NSW

Friday Folk Flashback

“Fairytale Of New York” – Christy Moore

Probably the greatest secular Christmas song ever sung by one of the greatest singers in the world. Merry Christmas everyone!

Gum Ball Announces First Round of Artists for 2014

Jinja Safari
Image Courtesy of Jinja Safari

The 2014 the Gum Ball festival in the Hunter Valley north of Sydney will be celebrating its 10th anniversay and they’ve just announced a very very impressive first round of artists.

Held on a farm at Belford in NSW on the 11th and 12th April the Gum Ball will next year be headlined by classic Aussie rockers the Hoodoo Gurus. Joining them will be a number of Timber and Steel favourite artists including the likes of Jinja Safari (above), Adrian Edmondson’s Bad Shepherds, Nicky Bomba, Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes, Lindi Ortega and many many more.

For more information about the festival check out the official site here. The full list of artists from the first announcement are below:

Hoodoo Gurus
Jinja Safari
Wolf & Cub
Ngaiire
Adrian Edmondson and The Bad Shepherds (UK)
Nicky Bomba All Stars
Swamp Thing (NZ)
Lachlan Bryan & The Wildes
Lindi Ortega (CAN)
The Gin Club
Jordan Rakei
Pow Wow

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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