Caravans, campers and motorhomes flock with Folk Faithful to Canberra for Easter music festival

April 11, 2007
Caravans, campers and motorhomes flock with Folk Faithful to Canberra for Easter music festival

Keith Potger of "Seekers" fame took his audience on a musical journey at the Canberra Easter Music Festival with a master's skill as he ranged through many song styles and even demonstrated a country and western twang.

Over the Easter weekend more than 6000 campers, caravanners and motor homers joined day visitors as crowds of more than 50,000 flocked to see more than 1300 artists and dancers perform at 22 different venues.

Billed as "The NationalFolk Festival the Canberra Easter music festival covers everything from Rock 'n' Roll, Blue Grass, Jazz, Country and Western, Celtic and many diverse national styles plus the many traditional folk styles.

The first National Folk festival was held in 1967 making this the 41st with music to suit every taste.

Bush poets delighted many as they performed every morning.

Barry Lake last years winner kicked off this year and showed the style that won him the award before taking his position as this years judge, his penalty for winning the previous year.

Dancers included many national dance groups, belly dancers, Irish jig experts and western styles kicked up a storm with their enthusiasm.

Numerous buskers and street performers also brought their skills to the Exhibition Park Complex on Canberra's outskirts.

This festival is great value as the one entry fee gets access to all venues and performances. Like selecting at a smorgasbord the biggest problem is deciding what to see next.

Barry Lake Last years winner kicks off the Bush poets
Barry Lake Last years winner kicks off the Bush poets

GoSeeAustralia was particularly moved by the exceptional harmony of Nicole Murray and John Thompson who are the duo called Cloudstreet.

As well as many original works their love of harmony and unaccompanied vocals was a pleasure to listen too. Driving guitar and Irish flute support their enthralling vocals.

GoSeeAustralia was particularly tickled by Johns Thompson's rendition of his Van Song and he has agreed to allow us to publish it on this website for the enjoyment of GoSeeAustralia's web site users. (click here to listen).

The National Folk Festival is held every Easter weekend in Canberra. Anyone who has time on their hands can volunteer some of it and get a full weekend pass and join the 1350 plus volunteers who make the weekend run so smoothly.

Cloudstreet perform with great passion and excellence harmony
Cloudstreet perform with great passion and excellent harmony

This has been enthusiastically taken up by many of the Grey Nomads as it makes the weekend free including parking the caravan or motorhome.

The festival is a fantastic experience for all ages from young children who are pampered at their special kids venue to those 80 years old and beyond.

Australias festival flagship, the National, draws together people from all around Australia and the world at Easter. They come to share in the songs, dances, tunes, and verse that have flowed through our history from many communities into Australian folk culture.

For five days Exhibition Park in Canberra dresses up and becomes a magic place, filled with colour and sound. Hundreds of the worlds best musicians perform daily, in a non-stop flow of entertainment across 22 venues.

Motorhomes at the festival
Motorhomes at the festival

The Festival has an extensive program that covers performance and workshops in music, dance, spoken word, theatre and street theatre as well as craft workshops.

The National Folk Festival is noted for its annual dance program from all around the world - Africa, Spain, China, Ireland, Egypt, Scotland, Argentina, Papua New Guinea, Chile, Lebanon, the Balkans and beyond colonial and Scottish balls, bush dancing, square dancing, clog dancing dance workshops and dance displays.

The Festival site at Exhibition Park in Canberra at the corner of Northbourne Avenue and Flemington Road in the suburb of Mitchell is just 15 minutes drive from the city centre.

Autumn in Canberra is a glorious time of year with warm and sunny days around 20C. In the evenings the temperature cools down to around 7C but for some reason the enthusiasm of 'the faithful' warms up.

PNG Kikito Dance Group
PNG Kikito Dance Group
Tents and caravans abound and take all vantage points
Tents and caravans abound and take all vantage points
Evening pic by Steve Barnes
Evening pic by Steve Barnes
Claymore quick-step. One slip and instant toe manicure
Claymore quick-step. One slip and instant toe manicure
Keith Potger wows the crowd with his skill and spectrum of styles
Keith Potger wows the crowd with his skill and spectrum of styles
KUD Razigrand matedonka dance at the festival
KUD Razigrand matedonka dance at the festival
The Pipers draw a crowd to their street performance
The Pipers draw a crowd to their street performance
Dance pic by Bob Bolton
Dance pic by Bob Bolton
Audience pic by Bob Bolton
Audience pic by Bob Bolton