NATIONAL FOLK FEST: FRIENDLY AND ACCESSIBLE

Nearly 60,000 people transformed Exhibition Park in Canberra (EPIC) into a musical village at this year’s National Folk Festival over the Easter long-weekend.

Over 200 acts lined up to play in 30 venues, which included displays of street theatre, workshops and open stage “blackboard” concerts.

The National Folk Festival was first held in 1967 and has gained a reputation for its inclusiveness and friendliness.

One of the highlights of the festival was the chance for patrons to participate in a variety of activities, including engaging with other musicians in the “session bar”.

GOANNA FRONT-MAN SHANE HOWARD ENJOYS THE FESTIVAL

Shane Howard, ex-Goanna front-man, has been a professional song-writer for over 30 years and performed with his band at the festival.

It’s one of the great elements of the National,” said Howard. “It’s one of the only festivals where musicians get the opportunity to sit down together and jam.”

It’s always great to get to the National Folk Festival as there is such a focus on the history of folk music in Australia,” he said.

History gets written by the victor and folk music tells the tale from the little person’s point-of-view; the fringe stories that don’t get headlines.”

US BLUEGRASS LEGEND : JO NEWBERRY JAMS WITH AUSSIES

US guitarist and banjo player, Jo Newbery, played American traditional music at the festival with blue-grass outfit, the Jumpsteady Boys.

He said that Australian and American traditional music come from “the same vine but different flowers come out.”

Sometimes in our country the fiddler always starts, but here the banjo player will start the tune,” he said.

We had a huge session last night. I make it a point to grab music from anyone I play with so I’ve got some new licks to work on from the Aussies,” he said.

PAT DRUMMOND: TRAVELLING STORYTELLER

Pat Drummond, from Sydney, is a travelling musician who collects people’s stories to put into songs. This was his seventh year at the festival and he also enjoyed interacting with other participants.

The great thing is that the paid acts, amateurs and interested parties gather around a campfire at 4 in the morning swapping stories,” he said.

Australians will never accept any form of class-based society, whether it’s the artist being above the audience. We’re pretty egalitarian, that’s what we demand.”

Listen! Hear interviews with artists at the National- click:

Don Walker (Cold Chisel keyboardist) –http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/don-walker-interview-2011-nat

Shane Howardhttp://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/shane-howard-interview

Jo Newberry-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/jo-newberry

Pat Drummond-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/pat-drummond-at-the-national

Amy Saunders-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/amy-saunders-talks-at-the

Eric Bogle-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/eric-bogle-talks-socialism-at

The Bushwhackers-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/bushwhackers-at-the-national

Ted Egan-http://soundcloud.com/midnightoil-1/ted-egan-at-the-2011-national

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