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Friday, May 14, 2021

Folk Festival is coming to town

More than 180 acts are set to take the stage at the National Folk Festival (NFF) to be held at Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) over the Easter long weekend, 18-22 April.

Launching the 2019 program, festival director Pam Merrigan says this year’s lineup is “diverse”, with acts from 14 countries as well as from all around Australia.

“Again, we’ve got a mix of emerging artists and established artists; exciting artists from overseas that nobody might have heard about but who are really well known in their own countries, and we’re exposing them to Australian audiences.”

Ms Merrigan says attendees to the festival can see a wide range of styles and genres, with folk music encompassing a large variety of artists, instruments and techniques.

“Folk is really only relevant if it’s contemporary,” she says, referencing musicians that use what are traditionally thought of as folk elements, and merging them with their own contemporary styles.

“I don’t see folk as a genre, I see it as like a palette,” Ms Merrigan says. “Imagine a painter’s palette and you’ve got a little bit of green here … a little bit of something else there … you’ve got all these different styles and genres.

“It’s a bit like organic food; organic food is really close to its source and it’s not overly produced … I see folk music as a bit like that.”

Ms Merrigan says planning for this year’s event has been well and truly underway for months, with a small staff that work year-round, as well as around 1,200 volunteers.

“The volunteers are probably the most important people who engage with our festival, because without them we couldn’t do what we do. They are, if you like, the heart of our festival.

“We start with an empty landscape … and we dress that up and create a village.”

The lineup will feature appearances from Redgum’s John Schumann and Goanna Band’s Shane Howard with the Red Rockin’ Dirt Band, Canberra local Kim Yang, Gold Coast harpist Elska and contemporary folk-pop trio Little Quirks.

The National Folk Festival will be held over the Easter long weekend, Thursday 18 to Monday 22 April at EPIC. For the full lineup and tickets, visit folkfestival.org.au

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