Fun Machine: Tipping Folk On Its Glittery Head, 2013

Fun Machine at Canberra Centenary Celebrations. Photo courtesy of Martin Ollman.
Fun Machine at Canberra Centenary Celebrations. Photo courtesy of Martin Ollman.

You don’t have to go back too far ago to a time when Fun Machine were an energetic three-piece band making underground waves in Canberra’s lively, teeming independent music scene.

But in a couple of short years (as opposed to the long ones which sadly died out in the late 1800s), Fun Machine’s star has been rising, thanks in no small part to some solid support from the Canberra Musicians Club.

And the amazing advocacy provided by 666ABC (AM Radio) Canberra for all things Canberra indie, but specifically Fun Machine. I may be wrong, but I believe that breakfast announcer Ross Solly may want to adopt them all, which is no mean feat as over this time, the band has doubled in size.

At Canberra’s ‘One Very Big Day’ this week to celebrate the city’s centenary, Fun Machine played to a heaving, sweaty mess of young and old beautiful people, as the last of the fireworks fell away (some into the crowd, allegedly!) as they put a fairly massive stamp on their cross-genre and cross-market universal appeal.

See a full photo set by photographer Bron King (aka guitarist Sam’s mum) here on Facebook:

Gigging around Canberra in various formats and bands, the members will rejoin as Fun Machine at this year’s National Folk Festival at EPIC in Canberra over the Easter Long Weekend.

If I were you, I’d… wonder whether those red pumps go with that skirt.

No, if I were giving you a serving suggestion for your Nash experience, I’d be taking a very brightly-coloured Spandex highlighter and putting a golden ring around Fun Machine in your programs.

On Tuesday last, as Canberra celebrated 100 years young with a mass of parties at the shops, I caught up with Bec Taylor and Chris Endrey from the band. Bec starts us off and that would be Chris you can hear crunching his way through the first of Canberra’s autumn leaves as we stood in salubrious surroundings outside the gents at O’Connor Shops. Bec and Chris had just done a stripped-back, rootsy, acoustic set under their duo moniker ‘Yes/No’.

*** Audio file will be removed by end February 2020. ***

Image by Knight Photography

Continue reading

National Folk Festival: two weeks and counting

Image courtesy of the National Folk Festival (Australia)
Image courtesy of the National Folk Festival (Australia)

In two weeks’ time, on Thursday 28 March 2013, the grounds of EPIC (Exhibition Park in Canberra) will eschew all traces of horse floats, cattle-judging, burnouts and street cars named ‘WarnieRoolz’, and will burst into life, colour, song, dance, percussion, spoken word and related arts for the 2013 National Folk Festival.

I stopped across its threshold in 2005 for the first time ever; never mind that I grew up two decent golf swings away from its front door.

I’ve been making up for this yawning gap in my musical life ever since.

On that first night in situ at Flemington Road, Mitchell I fell hopelessly in love with an event and a music genre/genres.

(I also fell in love and found another almost-ex-Mrs-Quinn in the CD Shop, but that’s another story…)

Bodhrans in the Grandstand. Photo by Billy Quinn.
Bodhrans in the Grandstand. Photo by Billy Quinn.

Eight years down the track, gearing up for a ninth consecutive, I’m excited again as the Canberra air chills in the early mornings and late evenings, as the leaves decide they’ve had a good run over summer and now it’s time to turn brown, red, or amber and see if they can jag an invitation to go meet the ground.

I’m excited as I drive past the EPIC show grounds every couple of days, and sense movement at the station and strange new structures being erected or imagined.

No, it’s not a car show. Dorothy, we’re not in Deniliquin anymore.

It’s the National Folk Festival. Arrayed in a slightly different configuration this year, with some changes, tweaks and sundry twists and turns.

If you were sat at home thinking, aw, might give it a miss this year, my suggestion would be this.


Firstly, for Canberrians, ACT is the feature state in this Canberra’s centenary year. So Canberra will be well-represented for the festival and the world to see.

Spoilt for choice. Photo by Billy Quinn.
Spoilt for choice. Photo by Billy Quinn.

Secondly, there is an eye-watering line-up of quality music and song and all that other stuff catalogued above.

Over the next two weeks and across the festival itself, I’ll be bringing some tastes and teasers and forecasts of things to come and those that are here and now.

The microphone’s primed, the camera (lol) is warmed up and the video camera has just been fished out of the garage sale pile.

Join me as I preview the National Folk Festival 2013, and please do join us all as we welcome the world in this year again at Easter at our church of the blessed folklore in Canberra. And much as in Rome there will be white and black smoke issuing from the……………………… fire buckets. Where did you think I was going with that?!

Full program available in read only format here:

Tickets available here (early bird tickets on sale until Sunday 24 March):

Handy set of FAQs:

Billy FJ Quinn

Overheard Productions

Reporting from EPIC, this is Overheard Productions...
Reporting from EPIC, this is Overheard Productions… Oh, just for clarification, I’m not with Artsound FM anymore, and the dongle and laptop have also gone to meet their makers. The beer too has been drunk (unlike the drinker).

A treasured moment from 2012 National Folk Festival — The Miss Chiefs are back and on the program this year. Listen to my interview with them earlier this year here: