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 – 8th December

TFIF

This Week in Folk

All the News From The Week That Was

– The Blue Mountains Music Festival added more artists to its 2018 lineup including Vicki Thorne from The Waifs, Archie Roach, All Our Exes Live in Texas, SON (Susan O’Neill), Steve Appel & Melanie Horsnell, Elephant Sessions, Gina Williams & Guy Ghouse, Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, Faith i Branko, Frank Burkitt Band, Linda Mizzi, Monique Clare Duo, Charm of Finches and more. Details here

– Melbourne singer-songwriter BATTS released her new single “Somedays”. Details here

– The last Bluegrass @ Yulli’s for the year is this week featuring The Water Runners. Details here

Blair Dunlop announced Sydney and Melbourne shows when he’s in the for the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the Blue Mountains Music Festival. Details here

Sufjan Stevens released his self-directed video for “The Greatest Gift”. Details here

– Australian country music giants Adam Eckersley and Brooke McClymont are releasing a duo album and heading out on a huge tour. Details here

– Kiama based singer-songwriter Joe Mungovan announced east coast tour dates. Details here

– American nu-folk legends Calexico released their new video “Voices In The Field”. Details here

Bluesfest dropped its third artist announcement including Kesha, Sheryl Crow, Melissa Ethridge, Afro Celt Sound System, William Crighton, Elephant Sessions, Newton Faulkner, Harry Manx, Juanes, Seu Jorge, Ziggy Alberts, Ásgeir, Harts and Holy Holy. Details here

Releases This Week

Jim James
Tribute To 2Jim James
iTunes

Jo Mungovan
Another Night, A Distance From HereJoe Mungovan
iTunes

Dear John
Dear John – A Tribute to the Songs of John HartfordRobert Ellis and Courtney Hartman
iTunes

Shovels and Rope
Busted Jukebox Volume 2Shovels & Rope
iTunes

Timber and Steel Recommends – Go To This Gig

Trouble In The Kitchen w/ Cat & Clint

Trouble in the Kitchen

Australia’s premiere Irish trad quartet celebrate their 20th anniversary with a very special show in Melbourne this Thursday

Thursday 14th December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Gigs Next Week

19-Twenty
Saturday 9th December – Mangrove Mountain Public Hall, Mangrove Mountain, NSW
Friday 15th December – The Royal Oak Hotel, Launceston, TAS

Aleyce Simmonds, Tori Forsythe, The Spurs
Sunday 10th December – Made By The Hill, Rooty Hill, NSW

Andrew Swift and Gretta Ziller
Saturday 9th December – Ceres, Echuca, VIC

Andy Golledge
Saturday 9th December – Golden Age Cinema & Bar, Sydney, NSW

Bahamas w/ Slow Dancer
Saturday 9th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

BATTS
Wednesday 13th December – Secret Show, Melbourne, VIC

Ben Camden
Friday 8th December – The Royal Mail, Goodna, QLD
Saturday 9th December – The Sol Bar, Maroochydore, QLD
Sunday 10th December – The Queen Street Mall, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 15th December – The Heritage Hotel, Bulli, NSW

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s feat. The Water Runners
Wednesday 13th December – Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW

Bluegrass Pub Pick feat. The Willing Ponies, The Jimmies, The Southern Gentlemen
Sunday 10th December – George Hotel, Sydney, NSW

By The Banks Festival
Saturday 9th December – Albury, NSW

Candice McLeod
Saturday 9th December – By the Banks Music Festival, Albury, NSW
Thursday 14th December – The Front Gallery and Cafe, Canberra, ACT

Canyon
Sunday 10th December – The Flying Saucer Club, Elsternwick, VIC

Catherine Traicos
Friday 15th December – Bassendean Hotel, Perth, WA

Celtic Sessions at the Cardigan Bar
Saturday 9th December – Cardigan Bar, Brisbane, QLD

CK & the 45’s
Friday 8th December – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW

Darren Hanlon
Friday 8th 
December – TBC, Birchip, VIC
Saturday 9th December – North Perth Town Hall, Perth, WA
Sunday 10th December – House Show, Nannup, WA
Friday 15th
 December – Ainslie Main Hall

, Canberra, ACT

Dean Lewis
Friday 8th December – Factory Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 9th December – The Zoo, Brisbane, QLD
Sunday 10th December – The Northern, Byron Bay, NSW

Dusty Ravens & Jason Walker
Sunday 10th December – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Ella Belfanti
Sunday 10th December – Little Blowhole Art Bar, Kiama, NSW

Emma Swift w/ Jason Walker, Simone East, Oh Willy Dear.
Sunday 10th December – Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney, NSW

End of Year Folk Bash feat. Sue Gee, Peter Miller-Robinson, Kate Maclurcan and her combined choirs, Black Joak Morris: Mummers Play, Christina Mimmocchi with Corella & Scales of Justice choirs, Andsome Friends, Sheffield Carols
Sunday 10th December – The Gaelic Club, Sydney, NSW

Fairgrounds Festival
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December – Berry, NSW

Festival of Small Halls feat. Vance Gilbert, Liz Stringer
Friday 8th December – Queen Street Community Hall, Yeppoon, QLD
Saturday 9th December – Degilbo Hall, Degilbo, QLD
Sunday 10th December – Rainbow Beach Community Hall, Rainbow Beach, QLD
Wednesday 13th December – Kandanga Public Hall, Kandanga, QLD
Thursday 14th December – Perseverance Hall, Perseverance, QLD
Friday 15th December – Woodford Memorial Hall, Woodford, QLD

Festival of the Sun
Thursday 7th to Sunday 10th December – Port Macquarie, NSW

Finders Keepers Sydney Market
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December – Barangaroo Reserve, Sydney, NSW

Fired Up On Climate Change feat. Whoa Mule, Narrownecks, Snail, Andie Isalie with Ollie from Paperhill
Sunday 10th December – Carrington Hotel Gardens and Junction 142, Katoomba, NSW

Fox n Firkin
Saturday 9th December – Nevermind The Warp’d Tour, New Globe Theatre, Brisbane, QLD

Gary Óg
Friday 8th December – The Adelaide Irish Club, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 9th December – The Boston, Perth, WA
Sunday 10th December – The Boston, Perth, WA

Great Aunt
Saturday 9th December – Charles Weston Hotel, Melbourne, VIC

Hannah Cameron & Ryan Downey Joint
Sunday 10th December – Some Velvet Morning, Melbourne, VIC

Harrison Storm
Friday 8th December – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Saturday 9th December – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Sunday 10th December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Thursday 14th December – The Milk Factory, Brisbane, QLD

Harvey Russell and the Widowmakers, Matt J Ward
Sunday 10th December – Staves Brewery, Sydney, NSW

Heartaches and Hangovers feat. Small Town Romance
Saturday 9th December – The Thornbury Theatre, Melbourne, VIC

Hussy Hicks & Raphael White
Friday 8th December – Tintenbar Hall, Tintenbar, NSW
Saturday 9th December – House with No Walls, Eumundi, QLD

Imogen Pemberton and Oliver Downes
Saturday 9th December – Hotel Blue, Katoomba, NSW
Sunday 10th December – The Gasoline Pony, Sydney, NSW
Tuesday 12th December – House Concert, Hamilton North, NSW
Thursday 14th December – Two Goats Cafe and Baa, Armidale, NSW
Friday 15th December – House Concert, Toormina, NSW

Jack Johnson
Friday 8th December – Sidney Myer Music Bowl, Melbourne, VIC

Jackie Marshall w/ Raychel Stone
Wednesday 13th December – Junk Bar, Brisbane, QLD
Friday 15th December – The Bison Bar, Nambour, QLD

James Bennett
Friday 8th December – JJ’s at The Marina, Batemens Bay, NSW
Saturday 9th December – Junee Licorice & Chocolate Factory, Junee, NSW
Friday 15th December – The Aztec, Forster, NSW

James Hickey
Saturday 9th December – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA

James Kenyon
Friday 8th December – House Concert, Benalla, VIC
Saturday 9th December – By The Banks Festival, Albury, NSW
Sunday 10th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Jordan Merrick
Friday 8th December – Black Bear, Brisbane, QLD

Josh Pyke w/ Harrison Storm
Friday 8th December – Sooki Lounge, Belgrave, VIC
Saturday 9th December – Karova Lounge, Ballarat, VIC
Sunday 10th December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC

Kyle Lionhart
Friday 8th December – Forth Pub, Forth, TAS
Saturday 9th December – The Waratah Hotel, Hobart, TAS

Leah Flanagan
Sunday 10th December – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW

Lizzie Flynn
Friday 8th December – 5 Church Street, Bellingen, NSW

Meredith Music Festival
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December – Meredith, VIC

Mia Dyson
Friday 8th December – Black Bear, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 9th December – Imperial Hotel, Sunshine Coast, QLD
Sunday 10th December – Hotel Brunswick, Brunswick Heads, NSW
Friday 15th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Mick Thomas & The Roving Commission
Friday 8th December – Wheatsheaf, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 9th December – Odd Fellow, Fremantle, WA
Sunday 10th December – The Oxford, Leederville, WA
Thursday 14th December – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT
Friday 15th December – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

Milk Xmas Party
Wednesday 13th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC
Thursday 14th December – Northcote Social Club, Melbourne, VIC

Miriam Lieberman
Sunday 10th December – Camelot Lounge, Sydney, NSW

Monthly Oldtime Jam
Sunday 10th December – The Brothers Public House, Melbourne, VIC

My Friend the Chocolate Cake
Sunday 9th December – Theatre Royal, Hobart, TAS

Neil Murray
Friday 8th December – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC
Saturday 9th December – The Royal Hotel, Portland, VIC
Sunday 10th December – Macarthur Hotel, Macarthur, VIC

Nigel Wearne
Friday 8th December – Flying Brick Cider Co, Wallington, VIC
Saturday 9th December – House Concert, Ocean Grove, VIC
Sunday 10th December – House Concert, Drysdale, VIC
Wednesday 13th December – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC

Niq Reefman w/ Muso Yetzka
Saturday 9th December – Open Studio, Melbourne, VIC

Open Folk’n
Friday 8th December – Bendigo Folk Club, The Old Church on the Hill, Bendigo, VIC

Outlaw Country Christmas feat. Lachlan Bryan, Dan Waters, Bell Street Delays
Sunday 10th December – Fitzroy Bowling Club, Melbourne, VIC

Phia
Friday 8th December – The Flying Cock, Brisbane, QLD
Saturday 9th December – Smith’s Alternative, Canberra, ACT

Pierce Brothers
Saturday 9th December – 3 Oceans Winery, Margaret River, WA
Thursday 14th December – Margaret Court Arena, Melbourne, VIC

Riogh
Friday 15th December – The Yo Yo Bar, Wollongong, NSW

Robyn Hitchcock
Wednesday 13th December – The Lansdowne, Sydney, NSW

Roy Payne
Friday 8th December – Golden Barley Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Sam Outlaw
Friday 8th December – Major Tom’s, Kyneton, VIC

Scott Cook & Liz Frencham
Saturday 9th December – By The Banks Festival, Albury, NSW
Sunday 10th December – House Concert, Staghorn Flat, VIC

Sid Berry
Sunday 10th December – The Bellingen Brewery & Co., Bellingen, NSW

Sparrow-Folk
Friday 8th December – The Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT
Friday 8th December – The Street Theatre, Canberra, ACT

Stanley Records Xmas Party feat. Adam Young & The Down Main, Mick Daley Versus The Wayshegoes, Dave Favours & The Roadside Ashes
Saturday 9th December – Staves Brewery, Sydney, NSW

Stella Donnelly
Friday 8th December – The Newsagency, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 9th December – Fairgrounds Festival, Berry, NSW

Stu Larsen
Friday 8th December – Grace Darling, Melbourne, VIC
Saturday 9th December – Venue 505, Sydney, NSW

Tennyson King
Friday 8th December – Exeter Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Saturday 9th December – Wheatsheaf Hotel, Adelaide, SA
Tuesday 12th December – Cally Hotel, Warrnambool, VIC
Wednesday 13th December – The Loft, Warrnambool, VIC

The Beautiful Girls
Friday 8th December – Rosemount Hotel, Perth, WA
Saturday 9th December – Dunsborough Tavern, Dunsborough, WA
Sunday 10th December – The Northshore Tavern, Hillarys, WA

The Black Sorrows
Sunday 10th December – Terminus Hotel, Healesville, VIC

The Crooked Fiddle Band
Friday 15th December – Hotel Steyne, Manly, NSW

The Demon Drink
Friday 15th December – The Brooklyn Standard, Brisbane, QLD

The East Pointers
Friday 8th December – Theatre Royal, Castlemaine, VIC
Saturday 9th December – Metropole, Katoomba, NSW
Thursday 14th December – Jive, Adelaide, SA
Friday 15th December – Darwin Railway Club, Darwin, NT

The Genni Kane Trio and String Theories
Sunday 10th December – Orange Regional Conservatorium, Orange, NSW

The Go Set
Friday 15th December – The Cardigan Bar, Brisbane, QLD

The Grenadiers
Saturday 9th December – Cronulla RSL, Cronulla, NSW

The Mae Trio
Friday 8th December – The Wesley Anne, Melbourne, VIC

The Northern Folk
Saturday 9th December – By The Banks Festival, Albury, NSW

The Rhythm Section Christmas Party feat. Claude Hay, Marshall Okell, Cass Eager & The Mo’ Debleys, Justin Yap, Matty T Wall
Thursday 14th December – Leadbelly, Sydney, NSW

The Shins
Friday 8th December – Enmore Theatre, Sydney, NSW
Saturday 9th December – Fairgrounds Festival, Berry, NSW

The Teskey Brothers
Friday 8th and Saturday 9th December – Fairgrounds, Berry, NSW
Friday 8th to Sunday 10th December – Meredith Music Festival, Meredith, VIC

The Waifs
Saturday 9th December – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA
Sunday 10th December – Albany Entertainment Centre, Albany, WA

The Water Runners
Wednesday 13th December – Bluegrass @ Yulli’s, Yulli’s, Sydney, NSW
Friday 15th December – The Sebel Harbourside, Kiama, NSW

The Weeping Willows
Sunday 10th December – Music in the Library, Chelsea Library, Chelsea, VIC

The Wise Women
Friday 8th December – CERES Joe’s Market Garden, Melbourne, VIC

This Way North
Friday 8th December – Rhythm Hut, Gosford, NSW
Saturday 9th December – By the Banks Festival, Albury, NSW
Sunday 10th December – Bright Brewery, Bright, VIC
Friday 15th December – The Golden Vine, Bendigo, VIC

Tori Forsyth
Friday 8th December – Rooty Hill RSL, Rooty Hill, NSW
Saturday 9th December – North Haven Bowling Club, North Haven, NSW

Trouble In The Kitchen w/ Cat & Clint
Thursday 14th December – Spotted Mallard, Melbourne, VIC

Ukulele Death Squad
Friday 8th December – Pepper Tree, Aldinga, SA

Wifey w/ Garry David, Darren Cross
Friday 15th December – Union Hotel, Sydney, NSW

Yusuf / Cat Stevens
Saturday 9th December – Brisbane Entertainment Centre, Brisbane, QLD

Friday Folk Flashback

“Will You Marry Me” – Gemini Downs

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s for December 2017

The Water Runners
Image Courtesy of The Water Runners

Sydney jam and performance night Bluegrass @ Yulli’s has one more show left for 2017 with the announcement of their Christmas special next Wednesday 13th December.

As always the night will kick off with an all-in jam where you’re invited to bring down an instrument from 6pm and belt out some old timey and bluegrass tunes.

Then from 8pm South Coast band The Water Runners will take to the stage to show off their unique blend of folk, country, bluegrass and rockabilly.

Bluegrass @ Yulli’s takes place upstairs at Yulli’s restaurant in Surry Hills and is free. For more information check out the official Facebook event here.

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