Full Lineup of the 2017 Illawarra Folk Festival

Illawarra Folk Festival
Image Courtesy of The Illawarra Folk Festival

One of my favourite folk festivals of the year, The Illawarra Folk Festival, hits the Bulli showground in New South Wales on the 12th to the 15th of January and the lineup is incredible.

Despite being a medium sized festival The Illawarra Folk Festival manages to attract some pretty amazing acts and this year is no different. The lineup includes, but is not limited to, Andy Irvine and Luke Plumb, FourWinds, Tattletale Saints, The Whitetop Mountaineers, Tim O’Brien, Wallis Bird, Daniel Champagne, Echo Deer, Handsome Young Strangers, Lime and Steel, Mandy Connell, Martin Pearson, Nigel Wearne, Shanty Club, The Squeezebox Trio, Tinpan Orange, Big Erle, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, Kay Proudlove, Shelley’s Murder Boys, The Lurkers and many many more.

Tickets are still available for the festival and can be picked up here. If you live in Sydney I’d recommend jumping on one of the Music Trains down to Bulli for the full festival experience.

The full lineup for The Illawarra Folk Festival is below:

International Artists:
Andy Irvine (Ire) and Luke Plumb, Azzband (Italy/Spain), Christine Collister (UK) & Michael Fix, FourWinds (Ire), George & Noriko (Japan), Girls with Knives (Canada), Gregory Page (USA), Ken Field’s Hoot Band (USA), Kenta Hayashi (Japan), Kirsty Bromley (UK), London Klezmer Quartet (UK), Tattletale Saints (NZ), The Haywood Billy Goats (USA), The Outside Track (Scot) , The Sauerkrauts (Germany), The Whitetop Mountaineers (USA), Tim O’Brien (USA), Wallis Bird (Ire), Winter Wilson (UK)

National Artists:
1917: Strike!, 8Foot Felix, Adder’s Fork, Alanna and Alicia, Albion Fair Morris Dancers, Alex Hood, Baltic Bar Mitzvah, Black Bear Duo, Black Joak Morris, Blakboi, Brian Bell, Bruce Mathiske, Bush Music Club, Charlotte Emily, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Col Hardy, Colleen Z Burke, Daddy Longlegs & the Swamp Donkeys, Daniel Champagne, Dave de Hugard, Dave Elliston, Den Hanrahan & the Rum Runners, Dingo’s Breakfast Oz Music & Poetry Band, Echo Deer, Equus, Errol Gray, Fettler’s Yard, Folkaphonic Youth Orchestra, Free Fried Chicken, Genni Kane, Geoffrey W Graham, Glenn Skuthorpe, Glover & Sorrensen, Gone Molly, Good Tunes Band, Gordon Lightfoot Tribute Band, Graham Maureen Seal, Rob & Olya Willis, Gregory North, Handsome Young Strangers, Hillbilly Goats, Homegrown Quartet, Ionia, Jaga Band, Jay Wars & The Howard Youth, Jim Haynes, Jody + Innes, John Broomhall, Junkadelic Brass Band, Kate Maclurcan & The Loose Ends, Lime and Steel, Lindy lady of the Forest: Storyteller, Lisa Couper, Lizzie Flynn & The Reckoning, Low Down Riders, Malcura, Mandy Connell, Mark Cryle & Carmel Newman, Martin Pearson, Matthew Dames , Melbourne Scottish Fiddle Club, Men With Day Jobs, Nigel Wearne, Out of Abingdon, Pat Drummond, Pete Denahy, Peter Hicks, Peter Mace, Peter Willey & Matthew Hobbs˜, Rory Faithfield, Rosie Burgess Trio, Rough Red, Rusty & The Saint, Sadie & Jay, Shanty Club, Sissybones, Taylor Pfeiffer – The Banjo Girl, The Good Girl Song Project, The Northern Folk, The Squeezebox Trio, The String Family, The Three Marketeers, The Trippy Hippy Band, The Wish List, Tinpan Orange, Tom Dockray, Tulalah, Women in Docs , Yellow Blue Bus

Local Artists:
Alex Boston, Astarte Studio’s Steampunk Gypsies, Big Erle, Brian Jonathon, Brynn Luker, Cake Tin Rattlers, Carefree Road Band, Cat Walk City and Friends, Chord-eaux, Cinnamon Twist Belly Dance, Circus WOW, Chinese Lion Dancers, Cross Rhythm Dance Company, Dani Karis, Erika Steller, Festival Choir & Orchestra, Five Sad Men, Gobsmacked!, Grace Gladwin, Harman & Hellens, Illawarra Breakfast Poets, Illawarra Flame Three, James R Cooper, Jane Aubourg, Joe Mungovan, John Littrich & The Water Runners, Josh Maynard, Kay Proudlove, Kenny Bartley/Super Kenny, King & Queen of Green – The Pearlies, Leo, Lizzie Bennet Band, Love In The Jungle, Man from the Misty Mountains, Maya & Tala, Maypole with Molly, Melanie April, Moscateros, Murmur, My Secret Window, No Such Thing, Paddy & The Wonderband, Patrick Lyons & The American Creek Band, Patron Saints Of Folk, Ralph Scrivens, Rani’s Fire, Ribbon Gang, Ruido Indy Flamenco, Scientists Behaving Badly, Shalani & Chloe, Shelley’s Murder Boys, Silver Lotus Tribal Bellydance, SingGongGo, Soul Flamenco, Southern Gentlemen, Story Beats, Stringline, Swamp n’ Beats, The Beatmeisters, The Bowhemians, The Calamities, The Con Artists, The Derby Dolls, The Lighthouse Keepers, The Lurkers, The Scratchies, The Swingaleles, Three-Sixty, Vic Janko Orkestar, Zlatkos Balkan Cabaret, Zumpa

Review: 24 Hours at the Blue Mountains Music Festival 2015

All Photos by Sarah Turier

I bumped into a friend of mine right at the beginning of this year’s Blue Mountains Music Festival and was surprised to see him. While my friend has a passing interest in folk music I was surprised to see him in Katoomba, especially as he’d driven over 6 hours to be there.

When pressed on why he’d made the journey he looked at me with his own surprise.

“What do you mean why did I come?” He said. “The blues lineup is amazing!”

And that is what the Blue Mountains Music Festival is all about. For me it’s a folk festival. For my friend it’s a blues festival. For someone else it might be a rock or roots or something else festival. The Blue Mountains Music Festival is exactly what you make it.

This year I only managed 24 hours at the Blue Mountains Music Festival due to an unscheduled bout of food poisoning (unlikely from the festival itself) sent me back down the mountains to the safety of my own bathroom, but while I was there I saw some amazing music.

The festival kicked off on a cold and misty Friday night. The crowds were thin as many of the punters were waiting for the weekend proper before heading up the mountain from Sydney. This meant we were eased into the Blue Mounatins Music Festival flitting between venues, getting up close and personal with some amazing artists and loving the fact we could finally crack out our winter woolies.


The night saw some amazingly diverse musicians take to the stage. From the blues guitar mastery of Nick Charles to the bluegrass mastery of The Company to the epic indie-folk of Castlecomer, the opening night threw up some of the festival’s most exciting acts and I was so lucky to be a part of it.

As always The Company were a highlight, effortlessly huddled around a single microphone creating some of the countries most beautiful music. I’ve seen The Company live so many times but they never fail to amaze me – both their expert musical craft and their charismatic stage presence make their their performances must-see at any event.

The Company

Saturday morning presented a much drier, more bustling festival with locals, Sydney-siders and more making their way through the gates. There was a palpable buzz in the air all around Katoomba as the cafes and bakery filled to overflowing with punters fortifying themselves for the day of music ahead.

Rowena Wise

And what a day of music it was. Before my food poisoning got the better of me I managed to catch sets from Leah Flanagan in fine full band form, the incomparable old timey charms of The Whitetop Mountaineers (with special guest fiddle from The Company’s George Jackson), stunning singer-songwriter Rowena Wise and the blues mastery of Phil Wiggins and Dom Turner.

The Whitetop Mountaineers, favourites of the Australian folk festival circuit, were by far the highlights. Their simple, home town approach to bluegrass and old timey sucks the audience in and keeps them mesmerised throughout their set. And watching Martha Spencer clog dance is just a treat.

Whitetop Mountaineers

The Blue Mountains Music Festival seems to have found the perfect balance. Wedging itself between the Port Fairy and National Folk Festival/Bluesfest guarantees a high calibre of artists not normally seen at a small town event. And its proximity to Sydney makes it easy for day trippers or weekend getaways from the big city. But it still feels like an intimate, community focused event, probably because it’s mostly set on the grounds of a school and the local volunteers are front and centre.

If you’ve never been been to the Blue Mountains Music Festival then I suggest next March you make the trek up the mountains just to see what all the fuss is about.

Illawarra Folk Festival Reveals Full 2014 Lineup

Sarah Humphreys
Image Courtesy of Sarah Humphreys

Just a week or so after revealing their first lineup for 2014 the Illawarra Folk Festival has gone the whole hog and given us every single artist for the event. We could call out a bunch of Timber and Steel favourites that have just just joined the lineup – like Martin Pearson, Sarah Humphreys (above), Handsome Young Strangers, Jane Aubourg, Oh Pep! and Chaika – but instead we though we’d bring you one full list of all the musical acts:

Afenginn, Andy Irvine, Dom Flemons, Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys, Harry Manx Band, Jaaleekaay, John John Festival, Klezmorim, London Klezmer Quartet, The Beez, The Hollands!, The Latchikos, The Underscore Orkestra, The Whitetop Mountaineers, Astro Cobalt, Bitchpick, Harman and Hellens, Cassidy’s Ceili, Enda Kenny Band, Riogh, Ange Takats, Another Train, Australian Union Choir, AZ-I-AM, Belle Jar, Bernard Carney, Bygone Error, Chippo Days, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Fly With Me, Graeme Morrison All Stars, Greg Champion, Jim Green, Kavisha Mazzella, Lola Wright’s Keg Night, Martin Pearson, Matthew Fagan “Lord of the Strings”, Merryweather, Rough Red, Sally Harris & Little Big Smoke, Sarah Humphreys, Solidarity Choir, Swingaleles, The Three Sisters, Tia Juana, Wongawilli, Bazinga!, Big Erle, Bruce Mathiske, Frank Povah and Chris Cruise, Funkier Than Alice (and Friends!), Glenn Skuthorpe, Graeme Morrison All Stars, Handsome Young Strangers, Jane Aubourg, Kay Proudlove, Kenny Bartley/Super Kenny, Love In The Jungle, My Secret Window, Oh Pep!, Pete Thomas & Blue Salt Band, Shellie Morris, Smokehouse, The Lazy Farmer’s Sons, The Ribbon Gang, The Timbers, Tracey Bunn, Alison Johnston, David Beniuk, Gemma Glendenning, Glenn Skuthorpe, Kavisha Mazzella, Merryweather, My Secret Window, Patrick Lyons & The American Creek Band, Robbing Steve, Shellie Morris, The Lazy Farmer’s Sons, The Littlest Fox, The Miss Chiefs, The Ribbon Gang, Tracey Bunn, Another Train, Bob Campbell Band, Bush Music Club ‘URBAN SCRUB’, Bygone Error, Chloe & Jason Roweth, Chord-eaux, Christiaan Dolislager, Denis McKay, Franklyn B Paverty, Good Tunes Session, Illawarra Pipe Band, Kavisha Mazzella, Lola Wright’s Keg Night, Louisa Lawson Tribute, Songs you do not sing to children!, The Raglins, The Roberts Family Reunion, Ayanamsha, Beatmeisters, Belle Jar, Chaika, Dall’ Italia All’ AUstralia, I Viaggiatori, Mat Brooker, Mr Cuttlefish, Rapskallion, Ruido, SingGongGo, Somesing Laik Zat, Spirit of Serpentine, Spyglass Gypsies, Taiko no Wa, The Con Artists, Zumpa, Alison Johnston, Caitlin James, Harry O’Brien, Lucette, Melanie April, Nyssa and Alex, Paddy & The Wonderband, Rosie and the Bluesters, Shalani Thomas, Tim Lukey, and many more

The Illawarra Folk Festival will take place from the 16th to 19th January next year – for more information on the festival including how to get your hands on early bird tickets check out the official site here.

Illawarra Folk Festival Drops First 2014 Lineup

Dom Flemons
Image Courtesy of Dom Flemons

The Illawarra Folk Festival, held in January each year in Bulli near Wollongong, NSW, last night announced a very exciting selection of international artists for 2014. The international artists announced so far include Afenginn (Denmark), Andy Irvine (Ireland), The Beez (Germany), Dom Flemons (USA), Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys (Canada), Harry Manx Band (Canada), The Hollands! (USA), Jaaleekaay (Gambia), John John Festival (Japan), Klezmorim (Brazil), London Klezmer Quartet (UK), Underskore Orchestra (USA) and Whitetop Mountaineers (USA).

Along with that pretty impressive group of musos the Illawarra Folk Festival has also announce a bunch of national acts including Belle Jar, Bernard Carney, Bruce Mathis ke, Dave de Hugard, Enda Kenny Band, Frank Povah, Glenn Skuthorpe, Greg Champion, I Viaggiatori, Kavisha Mazzella, The Miss Chiefs, Rapskallion, Rough Red, Shellie Morris, Spyglass Gypsies, Tai ko no Wa, The Timbers, The Wollemi Band and about 100 more to come.

The Illawarra Folk Festival will take place from the 16th to 19th January next year – for more information on the festival including how to get your hands on early bird tickets check out the official site here.

Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival Announces First Round of 2012 Artists

The Company
Image Courtesy of The Company

Australia is dotted with these wonderfully intimate, local folk festivals that may not get the attention of the press but are an absolute joy to attend each year. And the great thing is they’re usually only a drive away and the tickets are so cheap you end up with more money in your pocket than you would on a Saturday night out in Sydney or Melbourne.

The Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival in the New England region of New South Wales is one such smaller event which has been getting quite a name for itself over the last couple of years. A doable drive from both Sydney and Brisbane, the festival is held on the 26th, 27th & 28th October this year with earlbird tickets starting at just $85. The festival has just announced their first artists for 2012 and it’s already looking like a bumper event. The list includes The New Worlds (USA), Mustered Courage, Jimmy The Fish, The Company (above), Rob Corbett & The Roo Grass Band, The Whitetop Mountaineers (USA), The String Contingent, Nick and Liesl and The Mid North.

For more information check out the official Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival website.

Interview: Anthony D’Antonio

Image courtesy of Anthony D’Antonio

The first time I ever saw Anthony D’Antonio I was blown away. I was at Live on Light Square in Adelaide to check out The Bearded Gypsy Band as a potential feature for a music-documentary series I work on called 6 on the St. As I made my way downstairs into the basement I thought I was listening to someone’s mix CD of assorted old-time folk songs from the golden era; but I was met by a twenty-something D’Antonio belting out outstandingly authentic sounding folk songs with his banjo, harmonica and stomping foot. He’s an artist who I’ve wanted to spotlight for Timber & Steel for a long time, but I knew my basic background knowledge on the folk masters that were obviously influencing his music wasn’t going to be able to do him justice. So I thought I’d get my information straight from the horses mouth, and spent an hour this afternoon quizzing Anthony D’Antonio about all things old-time and traditional.

Thom Miles: I showed your music to my editor Evan a couple of days ago, and he said you sound a lot like Woody Guthrie, and I’d have to agree. You have a very old-time sound about you. You seemed to have honed in on a specific time in folk history, and built your own musical styling around it…

Anthony D’Antonio: Yeah, I prefer to work within the boundaries of the folk masters: Woody [Guthrie], Pete Seeger, as i grew up on this music.

TM: I find that our generation really only seems to dabble in exploring the folk masters. I listened to Woody Guthrie a bit after getting into earlier Bob Dylan stuff, and I started looking into Pete Seeger not that long ago after hearing Billy Bragg‘s version of “Which Side Are You On”. How did you begin listening to this kind of stuff?

AD: Well, my dad was born in Austin, Texas and moved to Australia as a teen… He had a whole load of records, The Carter Family, Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, Woody Guthrie, cowboy songs, union songs and all the great old-timey banjo type stuff. So it started at home from a very young age.

TM: Like all great musical journeys do.

AD: So true.

TM: I’ve been to a few of your gigs. People are really enthralled to witness music, and a performance, that seems like it’s from another world, from a man that just stepped out of a time-machine. Most of the people I’ve spoken to after seeing you aren’t really familiar with the artists you’re channelling- and yet they think it’s fantastic. It seems to suggest that this style of music has some kind of timeless appeal to listeners…

AD: For sure, and that’s the beauty ‘folk music”. It’s about folks… For the everyday person. One can relate when they hear a tune sung about how one does not get enough money for the job they do, or how their baby left etc.

TM: Yeah, I find that as well. When I started listening to Pete Seeger I was surprised to find he has entire albums of traditional American industrial action sing alongs. It’s like the songs are public property and each artist is just doing their duty in singing and sharing them.

AD: That’s what it’s all about- getting songs on people’s lips and hoping they can carry on some of these songs… You can sing to the whole world if you just get others singing these songs too.

TM: Is a lot of the stuff that you perform traditional songs from historic or unknown sources?

AD: Yeah, there’s a lot of trad in there; using old tunes for new ideas. There is no need to muck around too much with what has already got the perfect sound.

TM: Have you recorded albums, EPs or anything, or do you just go about your business live?

AD: I have heaps recorded, floating around on different EPs. No studio album as yet, but I am in the process of weeding out the songs that could use on one though.

TM: Ok, well I look forward to hearing one someday. Would you record original material, or a collection of classics, etc.?

AD: A mix of both I’d say. People often can’t tell my originals from the oldies so I’ll keep ’em guessing!

TM: You must have very different aspirations to most modern musicians. Generally the dream is to play big shows, get famous and rich, and have your songs all over the radio… What do you hope to get out of it?

AD: I just want to be heard, and share with as many folks as I can; the songs and sound of an era that today’s “roots” music owes a great deal to… Oh, and a few beers.

TM: Do you think institutions like the Folk Federation of SA have a great value as the catalyst for the sharing of folk music?

AD: Sure, they have had a lot of the great folkies and country acts drop in there.

TM: You’re playing a show at the Adelaide Folk Centre with The Whitetop Mountaineers later in the month, all the way from Virginia, USA! Have you ever seen these guys before?

AD: I was playing Woodford Folk Festival in 2009 and saw them up there. It was amazing to hear that mountain music going through the valley. If you like old-time folk music, you wouldn’t want to miss this one.

TM: Fantastic! I’m looking to go to as many folk festivals as I can over the next year. Woodford is always a stellar line up, Port Fairy is just amazing this year (Joe Pug– enough said), and the Fleurieu Folk Festival is another nice and convenient one for us South Aussies. What other gatherings and events are there that you’ve come across and recommend that folk fans get out to?

AD: Frances Folk Gathering is always fun. It’s 2.5 hours sorta south-east of Adelaide… There is always a folk-fest somewhere in Australia wherever you might be.

TM: Thanks, I’ll look into it. Finally, I know you’ve done a lot of busking around Adelaide in your day, and play a lot at the Governor Hindmarsh Hotel, but Timber & Steel is in fact an interstate publication and I’d be shunned if I didn’t ask; do you have any plans to tour interstate in the works?

AD: It looks as though I’ll be in Melbourne and Sydney later on this year, so I plan to get about as much as i can whilst I’m over in the big smoke.

TM: Brilliant! Thanks for your time.

Keep an eye out on folk festival line-ups and your gig guide, because Anthony D’Antonio is definitely an act you wouldn’t want to miss. Timber & Steel will be on top of news surrounding any tours or releases from Anthony in the future, but in the meantime, check out the video of him playing the Folk Centre in Adelaide last year.

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