The Gum Ball Interview: Kim Churchill

Photo by Lester Jones

Today is the day that Kim Churchill’s latest single, Breakneck Speed, is released and the start of his Australian Tour. We’re looking forward to catching Kim at The Gum Ball next weekend for the official unveiling of his new live show.

So, we thought we’d catch up with Kim in the lead up to his tour.

Your music journey has certainly been epic – from living out of your van and gigging around Australia to now travelling the world most of the year. What’s the biggest difference for you between the early days for you and your lifestyle now? 

Honestly not a lot. I still spend a lot of time in the back of my van. I still surf everyday. I still play music everyday. It’s rad and it works. I am probably a bit more focussed and I dunno what you’d call it – ‘professional’ perhaps. I mean I guess that equates to ‘I drink less beer now’ haha. 

You’ve been a regular at so many Australian festivals like BluesFest and The Gum Ball – what kind of festival do you prefer – the big festivals with international guests, or the small, predominantly local act festivals, and why?

Well this is a cop-out answer but both. Big international festivals are exciting and inspiring and you get to see large scale bands play enormous shows. Smaller festivals have all your friends and they play just as brilliantly and are just as inspiring. I couldn’t do without either. 

Where is home now? Where do you find yourself longing to return to and spend most of your time?

Newcastle. The junkyard. Between the two I’m pretty much at home. I love that crew and I love the beach in Newy. If I’m away I really so find myself longing to get back. One day I might live there. 

What’s your biggest dream for your music? Where are you hoping your journey to take you?

Everywhere! Coffee houses In Turkey, stadiums in South America, beach bars in French Polynesia. I dunno I wanna see it all and be the soundtrack to a million different scenes. 

You’ve performed at The Gum Ball a few times now, how have you seen the festival grow and change? And what advice would you give to a first time Gum Ball attendee?

It’s one of my favourite festivals because it has maintained its integrity as it has grown. It’s still got all the beautiful vibes, people, trees, tents, beers and loving connection that it had back when I first went. I know it’s getting bigger and bigger but they really have their heads screwed on and I think it will be something I want to go to for most of my life 🙂 

Kim Churchill plays on Saturday 22nd April at The Gum Ball (Dashville, Belford, Hunter Valley NSW).

Tickets are still available to buy online.

Kim Churchill’s remaining tour dates are:

Thursday 20th April – Astor Hotel, Goulburn NSW
Friday 21st April – Shoalhaven Heads Bowling Club, Shoalhaven Heads NSW
Thursday 18th May – Old Museum, Brisbane QLD
Friday 19th May – Meat Market, Melbourne VIC
Saturday 20th May – Verbruggen Hall, Sydney NSW
Saturday 3rd June – Fremantle Town Hall, Perth WA

The Gum Ball Interview: Irish Mythen

Photo by Stuart Bucknell, taken for Timber and Steel at Bluesfest 2016

We fell in love and got all fan-girly over Irish Mythen when we met her at Bluesfest last year (and we’ll see her again at Bluesfest this year), so we’re really looking forward to seeing Irish at one of the most intimate festivals in Australia, The Gum Ball!

We caught up with Irish to see what she loves and what she’s looking forward too.

When did you first visit Australia and how did it make you feel? How do Australian audiences respond to your style of music? 

I actually first arrived in Australia in 2000! Went to Perth and never left until 2005. Had a ball and met the most amazing people. Never came to the east though so when I first started touring the east in 2015 it felt like the first time. It’s just such a bloody amazing country. The Australian audience is unlike any other. They get behind a new artist like their one of their own and I’ve been shown incredible support. They learn the songs, buy the merch, follow you to all the shows. Incredible stuff

How do Festivals like BluesFest compare to your experiences back home and overseas?

The calibre of artists at a festival like Bluesfest speaks for itself so that and Woodford are unlike any other in the world. You just have to go because words don’t do them justice. The other Aussie festivals I’ve played are a little different from the rest in that people feel a real connection with the festival…they take over the space and it’s their home for the day, weekend or week. They are all so well run and so many volunteers. You turn around and there’s someone there asking if you need anything. I love the way every artist at any level is treated like the headliner. On ya Straya!

 What’s your favourite kind of show to play, venue gigs or festivals?

Well they’re completely different animals but I think festivals would sneak it but only because I get to see so much music myself at festivals so I get to also GEEK OUT!

What’s your favourite thing about your previous visits to Australia and what are you looking forward to most this trip?

Food, people, wine, weather (even the rain), crowds. Answer number two see first answer 😉

Do you find there are customs, jokes or themes that don’t translate for Australian audiences? Or perhaps that really do resonate more than expected?

I think due to the amount of world travel that goes on there’s not much of a difference BUT I surprise some Aussie audiences when I throw in a Kath and Kim reference or The Twelfth Man …hahaha can’t get enough of his Richie Benaud

What are you looking forward to about performing at The Gum Ball?

Ah look just getting back there. I was there for their other festival, Dashville Skyline, and I mean ye can’t get a more beautiful setting truly. And the people who run it, volunteers etc well they are brilliant. I also met some real characters in the crowd who’ve promised they’re all coming back so hope to see them all!

Irish Mythen plays on Friday 21st April at The Gum Ball (Dashville, Belford, Hunter Valley NSW).

Tickets are available to buy online.

Irish Mythen’s remaining tour dates are below:

Friday 7th April – The Heritage, Bulli, NSW
Saturday 8th April – Revamp The Amp, Kuranda, QLD
Thursday 13th to Monday 17th April – Bluesfest, Byron Bay, NSW
Friday 21st April – The Gum Ball Festival, Dashville, NSW

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.

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

Thank Folk It’s Thursday – 24th December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

The Beards have announced dates for their final ever tour. Details here

– UK based Australian singer-songwriter Emily Barker has released “Anywhere Away”, the lead single from her soundtrack to the movie Hector. Details here

– We streamed the new Angharad Drake album Sword. Details here

The National Folk Festival has announced Nancy Kerr as the headliner (both solo and with Nancy Kerr and James Fagan and The Fagans) as well as adding The Little Stevies, Frencham Smith, Sparrow-Folk, Sásta, Doctor Stovepipe, Miriam Lieberman with Lara Goodridge and Kate Adams, Black Mountain String Band, The Fiddle Chicks, Frumious and The Wheeze and Suck Band. Details here

– Americana singer-songwriter Darren Cross released his new video “Just Got Along (la la le)”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Anna Cordell released a live video of her track “Blue Rose”. Details here

– Sydney folk duo Elwood Myre released their new video “Mrs Honey”. Details here

Mark Moldre released his latest video “O, Dreamtime Blues”. Details here

– Folk rock legends Levellers have announced an Australian tour. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Tom West will be recording a live album with shows in Adelaide and Melbourne. Details here

One Up, Two Down will be releasing a new EP and touring in January. Details here

The Gum Ball returns for 2016 with some folky gems on its first round of artists including Jeff Lang, Suzannah Espie, Caitlin Park and more. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin has announced full band shows in Sydney and Melbourne this January. Details here

Blog

– We posted our traditional Christmas Eve collection of the best Christmas Carols and Songs of the year. Check it out here

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford

At this time of year is there any other gig? If you’re heading up to the Woodford Folk Festival have an amazing time!

Sunday 27th December to Friday 1st January – Woodford, QLD

Gigs Next Week

Falls Music & Arts Festival
Monday 28th December to Friday 1st January – Lorne, VIC
Tuesday 29th December to Friday 1st January – Marion Bay, TAS
Thursday 31st December to Sunday 3rd January – Byron Bay, NSW

Festival of Small Halls feat. Irish Mythen, Starboard Canons
Sunday 27th December to Friday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

One Up, Two Down
Sunday 27th December to Friday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Phia
Wednesday 30th December to Friday 1st January – NYE On The Hill, Loch Village, VIC

The Audreys
Friday 1st January – Taste of Tasmania, Hobart, TAS

The East Pointers
Monday 28th December to Friday 1st January – Woodford Folk Festival, QLD

TinPan Orange
Saturday 27th December – Woodford Folk Festival, Woodford, QLD

Woodford Folk Festival
Sunday 27th December to Friday 1st January – Woodford, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“White Wine in the Sun” – Kate Miller-Heidke

Kate Miller-Heidke may have produced one of the best Christmas songs this year with “I’m Growing A Beard Downstairs for Christmas”, featuring The Beards, but nothing can top her version of this Tim Minchin classic.

Gum Ball Announces First Round of Artists for 2016

Suzannah Espie
Image Courtesy of Suzannah Espie

After taking a year off in 2015 NSW boutique festival The Gum Ball is back next year and they’ve just revealed their first round of artists.

The Gum Ball has always leant towards the folkier side of the music spectrum and 2016 is no different with the likes of Jeff Lang, Suzannah Espie (above) and Caitlin Park joining headliners You Am I and many more.

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

Thank Folk It’s Friday – 14th March

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– Melbourne band Dan and Amy have released their new single “Pretend”. Details here

– Melbourne’s Oh Pep! have been busy touring recently but they’ve also managed to release their new video “Rest Assured”. Details here

William Fitzsimmons has released a beautiful live version of his track “Fortune”. Details here

– Sydney artist Willowy has released her new track “Waiting On You”. Details here

– Singer-songwriter Dave Calandra released his brand new video “The Deluge”. Details here

– The two tracks that have emerged from the upcoming Eels album The Cautionary Tales of Mark Oliver Everett are definitely on the singer-songwriter side of the spectrum. Details here

– English singer-songwriter Blair Dunlop has announced the details of his new album House of Jacks. Details here

The Gum Ball Festival has added a bunch of singer songwriters to its lineup including Steve Smyth, Melody Pool, David Garnham & The Reasons To Live and The Septembers. Details here

– “Crown the Pines”, the new single from S. Carey, features his Bon Iver bandmate Justin Vernon on backing vocals. Details here

– Ex-The Low Anthem member Mat Davidson has released his new single “Ashville Farm Remedy” from his Twain project. Details here

The Melbourne Folk Club will be launching a weekly live show in Melbourne from the April. Details here

– A beautiful live version of “Xavier” by Melody Pool has been doing the rounds. Details here

Lacey Cole and the Lazy Colts have been debuting a new video a week throughout March. Details here

– UK singer-songwriter VerseChorusVerse has released his whiskey soaked track “Common Prayer”. Details here

– Sydney band Yetis have released their new single “Kind Eyes” and will be touring it at the end of this month. Details here

Interviews

“I’m a lover of folk music, for me it’s a real passion … [but] I think you need to keep evolving as musicians whatever you do. For Mumford and Sons it made sense to make quite a similar [second] record I suppose but for us we were always going to do something different and we’ll probably do something different again the next time” – Tim Hart from Boy & Bear chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

I think the nice thing about playing in a band with more than one other person is that there’s something about the tunes that really get you going and it tends to be a very individual thing. One of the amazing things about getting to know Cam is his brain just works really differently on the tunes. Especially when he’s writing tunes he just comes up with stuff that when I hear it it just makes so much sense but I just never could have produced it myself – Hilary Glaisher from Tolka chats to Gareth Hugh Evans. Interview here

Releases This Week

CCC
Christopher Coleman CollectiveChristopher Coleman Collective
iTunes

Daniel Champagne
The Gypsy Moon – Volume IIDaniel Champagne
iTunes

o Vertigo
O Vertigo!Kate Miller-Heidke
iTunes

Micah P Hinson and the Nothing
Micah P. Hinson and the NothingMicah P. Hinson
iTunes

Phil Smith
Year of the DogPhil Smith
Bandcamp

Strangers
StrangersSimone Felice
iTunes

Till My Tears Roll Away
Til My Tears Roll AwayThe Audreys
iTunes

Twain
Life Labors in the ChoirTwain
Bandcamp

Timber and Steel Presents

British Blues
The British Blues w/ Boy Outside, Emma Davis
Friday 21st March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW
Facebook Event

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Sásta and Tolka

Tolka

On Monday the world will turn green for St Patrick’s Day, with celebrations planned all over the country this weekend. St Patrick’s Day is a highlight of the folk calendar – it’s one of the few times of year that Irish trad music is in almost every pub. The must see gig this weekend takes place at The Gaelic Club in Sydney on Saturday night where two of Australia’s finest trad bands, Sásta and Tolka, take to the stage.

Saturday 15th March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Gigs Next Week

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

Arbori w/ Colin Jones, Little Bighorn, Yetis
Saturday 15th March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

Ash Grunwald
Friday 14th March – The Abbey, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th March – Blue Mountains Music Festival, NSW
Thursday 20th March – Ramsgate Hotel, Adelaide, SA

Billy Bragg
Sunday 16th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 18th March – Manning Bar, Sydney, NSW
Wednesday 19th October – Canberra Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Thursday 20th March – Tivoli, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 21st March – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW

Blue Mountains Music Festival
Friday 14th to Sunday 16th March – Katoomba, NSW

Brunswick Music Festival
Sunday 2nd to Sunday 16th March – Melbourne, VIC

Caitlin Park
Friday 21st March – Brighton Up Bar, Sydney, NSW

Christopher Coleman Collective
Saturday 15th March – Baby Black Espresso Bar, Bacchus Marsh, VIC
Wednesday 19th March – Babushka Bar, Ballarat, VIC
Thursday 20th March – The Music Man Megastore, Bendigo, VIC
Friday 21st March – Shebeen, Melbourne, VIC

Glen Hansard with Lisa O’Neill
Friday 14th March – Melbourne Recital Centre, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 15th March – Meeniyan Town Hall, Meeniyan, VIC
Thursday 20th March – Sydney Opera House, Sydney, NSW

Jordan Millar
Friday 14th March – Free The Wild Presents, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 15th March – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Sunday 16th March – Front Gallery, Canberra, ACT
Friday 21st March – The Pier, Port Macquarie, NSW

Josh Pyke
Friday 21st March – The Small Ballroom, Newcastle, NSW

Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens
Friday 14th March – YouAreHere Festival, Canberra, ACT
Saturday 15th March – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Friday 21st March – Rad @ Yours n Owls, Wollongong, NSW

Kate Crowley
Saturday 15th March – Montsalvat Barn Gallery, Eltham, VIC

Lior
Friday 14th March – Orange Civic Theatre, Orange, NSW
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th March – Blue Mountains Folk Festival, Katoomba, NSW

Lost Ragas w/ Raised By Eagles
Friday 14th March – Coogee Diggers, Coogee, NSW
Saturday 15th March – The Factory Floor, Marrickvile, NSW
Sunday 16th March – Grand Junction Hotel, Maitland, NSW
Friday 21st March – The Tote, Collingwood, VIC

Mark Wilkinson
Thursday 20th March – The Grand Poobah, Hobart, TAS
Friday 21st March – Spirit Bar & Lounge, Traralgon, VIC

MoFo at The Gaelic feat. Catgut
Friday 14th March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Peter Rowan
Friday 14th March – Illawarra Folk Club, Wollongong, NSW
Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th March – Blue Mountains Folk Festival, Katoomba, NSW
Tuesday 18th March – Biddy Walsh’s Irish Pub, Orange, NSW
Wednesday 19th March – Lizottes, Sydney, NSW

Sásta and Tolka
Saturday 15th March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Sydney St Patrick’s Day Festival
Sunday 16th March – Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW

The Beez
Friday 14th March – Old Mill Flour Gallery, Mildura, Vic
Saturday 15th March – Richmond, Vic
Sunday 16th March – Burrinja Café, Upwey, Vic
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March – Yackandandah Folk Festival, Vic

The British Blues w/ Boy Outside, Emma Davis
Friday 21st March – Hibernian House, Sydney, NSW

The Bottlers
Sunday 16th March – St Patricks Day Parade, Hyde Park, Sydney, NSW
Monday 17th March – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

The Good Ship
Saturday 15the March – Gluttony, Adelaide, SA
Friday 21st March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

The Little Stevies
Sunday 16th March – Gasworks, Brisbane, QLD

The Pierce Brothers
Friday 14th March – Ding Dong Lounge, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 15th March – Torquay Hotel, Torquay, VIC
Thursday 20th March –Prince Of Wales, Bunbury, WA

The Stray Sisters
Saturday 15th to Sunday 16th March – Blue Mountains Folk Festival, NSW
Tuesday 18th March – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Thursday 20th March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW
Friday 21st March – The Basement, Sydney, NSW

TinPan Orange
Sunday 16th March – Oakleigh Music Festival, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 20th March – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Friday 21st March – FBi Social, Sydney, NSW

Yackandandah Folk Festival
Friday 21st to Sunday 23rd March – Yackandandah, VIC

Friday Folk Flashback

“We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” – SoKo

If you’ve watched the First Kiss video that’s been making waves on the net this week (and has been revealed as an ad for clothing company WREN) you may have wondered what the song was in the background. Well that song was “We Might Be Dead By Tomorrow” by French artist SoKo (who was also behind the indie hit “I’ll Kill Her”) and it has a really sweet clip.

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!

Review: The Gum Ball 2012

Review by KT Bell, photos by Stu B.

In spite of all our good efforts, enthusiasm and eager anticipation following last year’s fantastic Gum Ball, Stu and I found ourselves behind schedule driving in to the darkness from Sydney, desperate to get to Lower Bedford for the 2012 Gum Ball and it’s stellar line up. We arrived at 9pm, just in the nick of time before the gates closed for the night. In the headlights of the car we set up our modest camping facilities only a few hundred meters from the main festival area with the roaring set of The Tongue as our soundtrack.

To my delight, we managed to catch the last act of the night, the newly reformed The Bakery. While not really folk, they’re worth checking out in their new format. After an extended period of absence, the band took on a new line up for the 2011 Woodford Folk Festival and their act has been going from strength to funky strength ever since. As the festival’s sound system fell silent, the crowd migrated to the silent disco to revel on in to the early morning. Amusingly to those watching from the outside, it looked like a silent, shuffling human zoo exhibit with the occasional rousing group rendition of some classic chorus. As the silent disco serenaded us with another round of “they paved paradise to put up a parking lot, ooooh, bop bop bop…” we headed to bed in readiness for a huge Saturday to come.

In the morning light, we rose to discover the sprawling tent city nestled among the gum trees and the impressive set up of the seasoned gum-ballers surrounding us. Complex lounge room style common areas complete with couches, tarps stretched over cars, vans and tents, lean to’s and all manner of camping comfort and conveniences. We stumbled off to the festival arena in search of coffee and breakfast, passing impromptu camp kitchens, gas cookers perched on tow bars and the likes with eggs, bacon and all manner of delicious smelling DIY breakfasts taunting and tempting us the whole way. Eating your breakfast in the very grounds of the festival watching the place slowly waking up as the morning fog burns off certainly starts that excited feeling that only this kind of festival can inspire.

Just prior to 10am, Stu and I positioned our camping chairs just to one side of the sound mix tent where we had an excellent view of the side by side stages, ready and comfortable for a long day of The Gum Ball. To start off the day and brighten up the morning for some rather dusty heads, the Perch Creek Family Jug Band bounded on to stage not dissimilar to the endless enthusiasm of the Brady Bunch or Partridge Family, and we’re bedecked in much the same garb. A 5 piece family outfit saw the stage awash with banjo, washboard and jug, acoustic guitar, harmonica and double bass all blending together in a wholesome family vibe. They produced great rhythm and a great way to start the morning. Recently turned 17, Christi has become the bad boy of the family, proving his status with a cover of Justin Townes Earl’s “If you ain’t glad I’m leaving, girl you know you ought to be”. The crowd quickly grew as daughter Eileen delivered a sultry cover of “Minnie the Moocher”. A bit kitsch but a whole lot of fun, their onstage family banter must have been what it was like for our Evan Hughes growing up in a folk family, as the kids all complain to mother Camilla that, in spite of her Train Whistle opening, they “don’t do the ready stances anymore”. But after some ‘gentle’ motherly advice and encouragement from the crowd (would I do a thing like that? *looks innocent*) they struck their very silly and quasi rock star poses and launched in to a bit of honky tonk, country tinged, bluegrass. It was all very cheesy, but in the right way for that time of the morning. I had to question whether there is anything this family don’t do? They are all multi-instrumentalists, Eileen tap dances with a mini banjo, the vocal harmonies while all the time sharing the spotlight and the instruments equally. And to round things out they finally brought out the jug in time for Christi to accompany the jug playing a saw in a lullaby style number. Family nights at their place must be amazing.

A little later in the morning we were treated to the Irish lilt of Roesy. A modest chap, he thanked his family, saying he wouldn’t be here without them. Performing solo with just his acoustic guitar, full voice and genuine story telling style, Roesy told tales and drew the audience in to his melody of worlds. Enjoying his set, I often felt like we may not have been at a festival but relaxing in Roesy‘s backyard while he told us tales of the songs his Dad used to sing.

Benjalu is a name I have heard but not a band I have followed so I was interested to see what they had to offer. From the outset, it was clear they were on fire, sounding really tight with an excellent mix of acoustic guitar and electric. Their indie sound is heavily grounded in roots with a dash of rock and a touch of folk to round out their style. With their subtle harmonies and great energy, they had the crowd up and dancing instantly and it’s no surprise their infectious sound had the audience in raptures. I really enjoyed their song about being hungover complete with bongos for that pounding headache feel with strummy acoustic guitar and harmonized melody to sooth the soul. We’d seen him lurking at the back of stage but it was a great delight to see a cameo performance on their last song by none other than tour buddy Kim Churchill. It was clear that they had great rapport which delivers an excellent collaboration, they worked well together on stage and brought their set to a crescendo finish. Benjalu was an utter highlight and I shall be watching them like a hawk.

You all know that we here at TnS love Kim Churchill and we’re always very happy to see him on a festival line up. He took to the stage in his one man band style as we’re so used to seeing him. He opened with echos of “Waltzing Matilda” woven throughout “Loving Home” which attracted a big crowd to his set, it was clear people were drawn to him and his sound. In such a picturesque setting, it was easy to appreciate such musical layers all produced live by one person! Currently touring with Benjalu, it was clear they are all very good friends. He told the story of how Benjalu‘s van had broken down 2 days ago, that they have been saving every cent from every EP sold to record a new album and that he would hate to see that money to go to a van. During his next song, “Revolution”, donation buckets were going around collecting donations to help fix the van. Using his ethereal loop echo to advantage his passionate performance in songs both new and old, (like his LA song, telling how he dislikes the big cities), Kim’s raw performance energy is apparent. Close up, you can see him tremble as he performs, hands as they strum, face as he plays harmonica. Title track from his new album “Detail in Distance” is very reflective, he has learned over the years that sometimes distance is the thing that helps you see clearly. Kim likes to tell stories between songs, of how they came about. By far the most compelling was about a song written in French Polynesia while on tour, “Bathed in Black”, and how on a bad day he chose to change his own mindset and outlook. How a man in his early 20s could be so wise is beyond me, but I am grateful Kim Churchill is such a keen and regular performer who can bring this wisdom to us all through his enthusiasm and music.

Wagons wasted no time getting deep in to the bluesy country goodness as they burst forth onto the stage. In the between song banter, Henry Wagons dedicate a song to all those bad choices made at festivals, and “I Blew It” rang around the festival arena. Jovial with the crowd, Wagons was not shy of dedicating the next song to all there, especially a woman in the crowd looking at him skeptically who he was determined to win her over in one song. A deep, pounding rendition of “Love Me Like I Love You” may well have succeeded. An emphatic “Willie Nelson” had the crowd singing along and Si the Philanthropist’s hip hop gave Henry a moment to wipe his brow and take to the drum kit. Wagons whirled through their set getting the crowd totally involved for an energy filled finale that left the gum trees ringing.

Mat McHugh had quite the following gathered at front of stage well before his set began. His solo set up included an acoustic guitar and laptop to provide a variety of additional backing sounds as he launched in to “My Mind is an Echo Chamber”. I thought to myself that he sounded like a stripped back Jack Johnson or Xavier Rudd. I looked him up on The Gum Ball site and realised he is the lead singer and songwriter of The Beautiful Girls. Cue the moment of feeling really ignorant, no wonder he sounded familiar. After touring solo in support of John Butler Trio, Matt discovered his new stripped back solo career and the Gum Ball audience seemed impressed with his new solo exploits.

I’ve been a fan of Ash Grunwald for a while and enjoyed interviewing him at Bluesfest last year, but Stu had hardly even heard of him and looked at me dubiously as I enthused about his upcoming set with Vika and Linda Bull. As Stu stood in the audience ready to photograph the set, he casually chatted to the crowd who not only echoed my sentiments, but got Stu intrigued and pumped for the set. Ash delivered a powerhouse opening, engaging the crowd with thumping kick drum, strumming rhythm guitar and wailing vocals, brought down to a cool, bluesy lament. With notes like gospel howls, Ash’s voice took over the Gum Ball arena and the crowd was transfixed. He then welcome Vika and Linda to the stage and using a loop recorded in Melbourne of Linda, which according to her “sounds like my grandpa” brought a whole new dynamic of sound to the festival. Ash sang and delivered running commentary throughout the set, nothing phases him. He explained that the chorus of his next song was inspired by The Hangover II, the tattoo faced “Demon in Me” from his new release Trouble’s Door. A diverse set, the next song built from a slow start into a speedy intro for “Shake that Thing”. With out hesitation he slid in to a cover of “Sail”. Ash’s voice carried over everything, electronic backing track, the swagger of the guitar and sultry backing vocals by Vika and Linda. An a Capella with a gospel style changed the feel of the set but still had the audience clapping and singing along. A grungy recorded backing loop accompanied “Raw” which true to it’s name has a raw sound and heavy dirty beat. At the end of the set, he thanked good friends Vika and Linda as this was their last performance together in the collaborative format for some time as Ash moves forward with promotions and tour for his new album Trouble’s Door. After the set had finished, Stu returned to our spot, grinning. Turns out Ash Grunwald had been awesome.

We had munched on some terrific festival food including the Wagons‘ endorsed wood-fired pizzas, and enjoyed dutch poffertjes for dessert and then it was time for the dessert finale of Jinja Safari. Their excitement was evident as they took to the stage, full of energy and life. Without hesitation they delivered their ethereal, tribal drum soaked intro, layered with harmonies and rich melodies oozing forth over the crowd with everyone swaying in time. Their set was smooth and sweet like treacle and the perfect ending to a rolling, rollicking, eclectic day of music. The keyboard was fanciful and lyrical and they all danced with their instruments while they performed, the bongos energetically shooting between phrases of songs.

We collapsed in to our camp beds exhausted but very satisfied by a fantastic festival with a well considered and varied line up to cater to a wide range of audience tastes. It’s hard to believe that The Gum Ball has been going for 8 years and hasn’t yet exploded in size or grown too big for it’s earthy and natural soaked site. We arrived home just after lunch and were really impressed to have fit a trip out of Sydney and so much music in to one weekend and still have time to relax before the working week started. Clearly the folks at Lower Belford and the surrounding Hunter Valley know how to put on a truly inclusive and inviting gig and the locals have discovered what a gem it is, now the Sydney-siders and Central Coast people just need to clue on and The Gum Ball will soon become a sell out success year after year. This year some punters had traveled form Canberra just to see headline act Custard and they wouldn’t have been disappointed with their set as well as the whole event. So it’s a sure thing that next year’s Gum Ball will have just as brilliant a line up and hopefully, as they note in their wrap-up blog post, a whole lot more people will come and enjoy the festival alongside the regulars.

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