A Punter’s Perspective #43: Overheard at the 2013 National Folk Festival

The iconic National Folk Festival bunting
The iconic National Folk Festival bunting

A Punter’s Perspective

Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#43 Overheard at the 2013 National Folk Festival

First published in Trad and Now magazine, April 2013

I usually stop short of epithets like ‘the best’, ‘the greatest’ or such like. But in a relatively short experience of the National Folk Festival (my ninth of a possible 47), this year’s was definitely the most anticipated Nash I’ve personally known of.

A number of variables made the lead up to this one a little tantalising.

The organisers made no bones about the fact that it’s been testing times for the National. Some may shudder at words they’ve used like ‘consolidation’, ‘challenge’ and ‘sustainable’, but I’m actually a bit of a fan.

If there are threats to a festival’s viability, you can either fix a smile and adopt a ‘Move on, nothing to see here, all is well’ approach. Or squat on your heels, furrow brows, chew bits of bark and declare we’ll all be rooned.

Or you can call a spade a spade (not a manual earth-moving device) and accept there are indeed challenges and forge ahead.

Disclaimer: I’m observing all of this from some distance, and am NOT privy to any of the National’s internal machinations. Continue reading

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George Mann Talks About The Almanac Singers CD and Tour, July 2013

Image courtesy of George Mann
Image courtesy of George Mann

George Mann proved to be a great hit with Australian audiences when he toured in 2012, and so he was a very welcome returnee in 2013.

Around the time of the Illawarra Folk Festival in January, George played a series of shows, predominantly with Rik Palieri, but also teaming up at the festival and later in the month at Wongawilli with compatriots Rick Nestler, Dom Flemons and Reanna Flemons née Muskovitz.

George Mann and Rik Palieri have recorded a CD of the songs of the Almanac Singers and in July 2013 plan to retrace the steps of the legendary 1941 tour.

On a stinking hot day (that’s an Australian term for ‘mighty hot day’ for our North American friends) at the Illawarra Folk Festival in Bulli, George and I found a cool spot and George told me more about the planned tour.

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

2013 Illawarra Folk Festival — interview with David de Santi

Sarah from the WooHoo Revue, appearing at the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival
Sarah from the WooHoo Revue, appearing at the 2013 Illawarra Folk Festival

On Sunday 6 January 2012, I mooched into the Illawarra and managed to pinch 2’56” of artistic director David de Santi’s valuable time as the countdown to the Illawarra Folk Festival ticks inexorably down.

Note: after a two-hour session at Dicey Riley’s Hotel in Wollongong, the constabulary were testing patrons’ ability to say or spell ‘inexorably’ in order to test levels of sobriety.

The session was one of a series held at Dicey Riley’s Irish pub in Crown Street to get punters in the mood for the merriment to come at Slacky Flat, Bulli from Thursday 17 to Sunday 20 January 2013.

So here’s that brief interview, and the text is available at the Timber and Steel blog.

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

*** THE AUDIO OF THIS INTERVIEW HAS BEEN DELETED FROM SOUNDCLOUD DUE TO SPACE LIMITATIONS ***

And here’s the very fine TV ad for this year’s festival:

2012: An Overheard Productions year in review

Overheard Productions

2012 in review

[Insert audible groan of indecision mixed with ‘Oh well, why the hell not’-ness.]

I realise that ‘Year in Review’ blogs and lists can seem as passé as flash mobs and….. other things that are passé.

Like saying that things are ‘passé’.

But as per the opening sentence, ‘Why not?’.

As with many things that I’ve written since age 14, this may provide a mixture of utility for others (especially if I’m reduxing your interview or news event) and utility for me. It’s a natural progression from the Year in Review emails and Farcebook notes I’ve written in years gone by.

This 2012 version was prompted by that nonsensical Farcebook function that purports to consolidate your 20 biggest moments of 2012, using an algorithm that was obviously created by a very finite number of monkeys on a finite number of very old typewriters.

Radio

My glittering pseudo-career on community radio took an extended break in May when I hung up my boots from Artsound FM.

I love presenting radio programs. I’ve discovered so much good music, so many talented performers and met so many good people through it. But it’s nice to have a little more breathing room and leisure time.

I tend to throw myself in to things like this, boots and all, somtimes at the cost of sensible balance with other things, so I have enjoyed putting my energies into other areas.

Continue reading