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:

A Punter’s Perspective 31 — Watching the passing parade at Illawarra

Peter McLeod, Rick Saur, Arch Bishop, Rosie McDonald, Bill Arnett
Rosie McDonald and her "beautiful men". Illawarra Folk Festival 2012

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#31 Watching the passing parade at Illawarra
First published in Trad and Now magazine, January 2012

There’s an old saying that goes, ‘If you sit in one spot at a festival, eventually the whole festival will pass you by’.

This is especially handy for making unplanned musical discoveries and for finding lost friends if (heaven forbid) you can’t hunt them down by mobile phone.

(I’m still working on a device that turns everyone’s mobile phone off or to silent as soon as they’re within 100m of a festival. Patent pending.)

As I found at my sixth Illawarra Folk Festival (their 27th), sitting in one place is also a great source of inspiration when you want to get material for an article. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 30 — Overheard at Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival 2011

Randall Sinnamon and friends, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival, 2011
Randall Sinnamon and friends, Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival, 2011

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#30 Overheard at Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival 2011
First published in Trad and Now magazine, November 2011

There’s something deeply satisfying about dragging yourself out of a festival precinct in the early hours of a Monday morning, feeling tired, happy, slightly unsteady on one’s legs, buzzing with a head full of pleasant memories, and with the CDs spilling out of the glove-box.

So it was in October as Kangaroo Valley put the lid back on a very fine vintage….. well, it’s not so much a matured taste, but more a cheeky, young and slightly adventurous drop.

At the risk of repeating this column from 12 months ago, KVFF just keeps getting better and better.

Wheeze and Suck Band. Tired and shagged out after a long squawk.
Wheeze and Suck Band. Tired and shagged out after a long squawk.

Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 29 — Turn, wave, repeat to fade

The Turning Wave Festival, Gundagai 2011
The Turning Wave Festival, Gundagai 2011

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#29 Turn, Wave, Repeat to fade
First published in Trad and Now magazine,  October 2011

Let’s get one thing clear first, to ensure plenty of web search hits hit and many related links link: The Turning Wave Festival 2011, the festival of Irish and Australian music, dance, song, spoken word and related arts.

Gundagai, New South Wales, Australia. Wednesday 14 to Sunday 18 September 2011.

There. That gets that sorted, and we’ll return to the central theme and subject shortly.

But first it’s time to re-visit a very familiar theme from this column, this pseudo-folkie, and this quill and ink.

That last one is not rhyming slang.

The first (unofficial) festival of the (unofficial) NSW folk season is a much-anticipated and eagerly-awaited thing of beauty and joy to behold. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 27 — Kids in Folk III: Nissa

Nissa
Nissa

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#27 Kids in Folk III – Nissa
First published in Trad and Now magazine,  August 2011

As previously mentioned, it cheers this little heart to see and hear the youff of today making music. And all the more so when it’s folk, or folk-related, or in the ballpark or within striking distance of the more popular folk postcodes.

I’ve had some interesting discussions with people who are getting towards the upper end of the age spectrum, and there seems to be a divergence in attitudes to how much and what sort of encouragement the young folk should be afforded.

That sounds a bit weird. Allow me to elaborate. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 18 — Tuross Music Festival 2009

Tuross Music Festival the first
Tuross Music Festival the first

A Punter’s Perspective

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

#18 Tuross Music Festival 2009
First published in Trad and Now magazine, October 2009

While it’s been my pleasure over the years to attend the 20th of this festival, the 30th of that festival and the 40th of the other festival, it’s always nice to be there at the birth of one.

It was in these very pages of Trad and Now a few months ago that I read of a new festival cranking up in my second home, the quite stunning not-so-little hamlet of Tuross Head on the south coast of NSW. The festival had its inaugural outing on the second weekend in August, amid enjoyably warm and settled conditions.

Sandwiched between the jazzy township of Moruya and the blues stronghold of Narooma, it seemed a natural location to turn some new musical sods (er, no offence intended) with no particular labels or genres catered for specifically, save for an intentional focus on youth performances.

Festival director Ian Traynor has been very active in the Tuross Head community for many years, and also bobs up at many NSW folk festivals, most noticeably as a bush poet and MC. Ian laid the tools of his accountancy trade to one side for the weekend, which started as a birthday party on steroids and developed into a festival spread over multiple venues. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 11 — Kids in Folk I: The Bond Traps

BondTrapsA Punter’s Perspective 11
Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

Kids in Folk I: The Bond Traps

First published in Trad and Now magazine, June 2008

The folk scene seems to be largely switched on to the fact that engaging with kids and getting them involved early is important.

This is neither startling news, nor is it in any way new news. If anything it borders on the screamingly self-evident.

It’s worth dwelling on for a while, nonetheless.

Festivals have for years been at least incorporating youth elements into their programs, or holding self-contained and separate kids’ festivals, sometimes devoting a discrete area specifically for the kiddies. Woodford boasts a kids’ program that’s as extensive and packed as some whole festivals.

I’ll spare you, dear reader, from further personal insights and observations on topic. Much more illuminating (and hopefully, more interesting) are the experiences and motivations of younger performers and the adults who help nurture the burgeoning young talents. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 08 — Braidwood Folk Club

Bob Fox plays at Braidwood Folk Club
Bob Fox plays at Braidwood Folk Club, February 2008

A Punter’s Perspective
Random observations on the wide, weird world of folk from the side of the stage

#8 Braidwood Folk Club
First published in Trad and Now magazine, March 2008

By Bill Quinn


Many Canberrans beat a path from home to the south coast of New South Wales, so most know the main street of Braidwood like the backs of their hands. They’re typically racing through on a Friday evening (with a coastal destination in mind) or Sunday evening (en route back home to hoover the beach out of the back seat of the car).

Somewhat fewer make the trek on a Thursday evening, say, the third Thursday of the month. But if they do, they’d be well-advised to peel off at Wilson Street, past the park (site of several million traditional coast trip loo stops) and on down to the Anglican Hall, the current meeting place for the Braidwood Folk Club (BFC).

For a bit of geographical positioning, Braidwood lies about 90km slightly to the south east of Canberra, and just before the Clyde Mountain, the proving ground for many a learner driver of the region. If you really want to get the picture, track down a copy of the 1987 film ‘The Year My Voice Broke’ as it’s filmed on location.

Having passed through Braidwood roughly 27,000 times since the age of eight, I finally took a chance to stop in to the folk club last September to see Women in Docs, and then again in February to see Bob Fox, the latter currently on a two-month tour of Australia and New Zealand. Continue reading

A Punter’s Perspective 01 — From a punter’s perspective

The author
The author

A Punter’s Perspective
First published in Trad and Now magazine

#1 From a punter’s perspective
First published in Trad and Now magazine, December 2006

 

Bill Quinn

The world of folk boasts a limitless supply of people whose breadth and depth of knowledge of their craft and art is simply breath-taking. Their technical knowledge is detailed, their repertoires seemingly endless. Some folklorists have researched, collected and interpreted material for decades, their own lives becoming living folk legends of themselves. Traditional and contemporary artists encapsulate decades and centuries of history in a few short verses or stanzas.

But then there be folk like the author: the punters. We’re the people who hang around the back of session bars in dumb-struck awe (“Awww!”). We watch musicians on stage and can’t work out how they tune an instrument and breathe at the same time, much less engage an audience in simultaneous banter. And as for the seamless transition between fiddle, guitar, bodhran and tin whistle – did those people start learning their trade in the womb?!

We don’t know our jigs from our reels or our airs from our graces. We think an autoharp is Dublin’s car club, that a bouzouki is something immediately followed by ‘bless you’, and that lute is something you get paid if you manage to shift a few CDs.

But we attend festivals, buy the music, wear the t-shirts, sniff out the folk clubs, find when acts are playing in the mainstream world, and even surf off into cyberspace to broaden our folky horizons. We occasionally pluck up (pun intended) the courage to blunder up to musicians at an appropriate time and place (i.e. the middle of the campground – Hi, Geraldine!) to tell them their work has moved or touched us in some way or inspired us or had some profound, life-changing effect.

We don’t necessarily know good folk, but we know what we like. Sometimes we even struggle to spell it proper: hey, if it rhymes with ‘joke’… Continue reading