Sometimes, the National Folk Festival held in Canberra each Easter can be a bit of a hit and miss affair, affected by rain and early cold weather.
This year though has been a cracker. The rain on Thursday cleared up, and the rest of the weekend has been beautiful, autumn weather with sun-shiny days, and cooler evenings.
We ventured out to the Festival late on Saturday afternoon, having planned our attack. You can of course just wander around, or plant yourself in one location and enjoy the music and other entertainment as it wanders by.
But for our evening entry fee of $85 for an adult, we wanted to make sure we made the most of our time there.
We started off with Sam King, a local Canberra singer and guitarist who was supported by a moveable feast of drummers, along with a cellist and vocalists. His set was solid and enjoyable, and stage presence that is developing, which is what can be expected at an event that supports younger artists. Big thumbs up.
Next we moved to witness a band billed as new roots and world music, from Denmark – a somewhat eclectic mix. Himmerland were hot, they knew what they were doing and they did it very well. Would have loved to have seen a longer set, but that’s the nature of a festival.
A little breather after that, then Jordie Lane, with his engaging show patter, cute sing-alongs, and moving, haunting ballads. We saw him with Billy Bragg last year, and he was equally impressive this time, with a band to support his set.
The large, Budawang Hall was host to The Simpson Three, with a wide array of instruments to display their musical virtuosity. It was packed, and the audience loved it. So did I, and again, I wanted to see more.
There was a wide range of food and drink options at the festival, with queues that moved fairly quickly and a reasonable selection of other stalls mainly selling jewellery and clothing.
After a dinner break, we watched a few buskers, and strolled the stalls, before heading off to our final performance, Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens. Another Canberra artist, most of her musicians had appeared with Sam King earlier in the day.
Julia and the Deep Sea Sirens
The set was tight, with Julia’s personal singing style engaging and moving the audience. The live performance backed up the good review from the Sydney Morning Herald for their new CD, Family Pets, this weekend.
All in all, it was great value for money. The logistics worked well for us, arriving later in the day, and we left both sated and keen for more. Will definitely aim to get back next year, and also try to follow up on the artists we saw.