The following article by Carole Garland is a precis of the full article on her blog site: Novafolka
In January I travelled to the Cygnet and Tamar Valley festivals in Tasmania and wanted to share the experience with my folk friends. Tassie is already a beautiful destination but to all that, add a world class Folk Festival in a coastal setting in a bird sanctuary, and a wonderful welcoming community.
Now in its 31st year, CYGNET boasts of having launched many a budding talent, and this one was no exception. With some 8 venues, it’s not possible to see every artist but I did my best. And I must say I was tickled pink to see our home grown Gleny Rae and the boys making us proud in the opening night concert.
I was impressed with Battlers’ Ballad (Jason Chloe and Bill), the Perch Family, Andy Salvanos and his Chapmanstick. Frank Yamma, The Company , Stiff Gins, and RoryMacleod, as well as Mark Cryle from Brisbane and Richard Gilewitz, from USA. I loved the world-class performance of Horse and Wood – Horse was Bukhu, the Mongolian fiddler and throat singer, who entertained us at the club last year. Wood, was John Robinson and his Arabic Oud. With John providing the underlying structure, Bukhu is free to be really lyrical and dramatic. The pair were given the honour of being chosen for the Director’s Choice concert at the close of the Festival.
I also took part in a Cornish tunes workshop given by Sarah Calderwood of SUNAS which was fun.
…..In the budding talent department..…. I am predicting a great future for a young singer-guitarist called Matthew Dames, ex UK but now resident in Launceston. Indeed the locals were very well represented from Ballpoint Penguins, New England Honeyeaters, Elfa and Emily and there were more local choirs, instrumental groups, than you could poke a stick at. It must be the healthiest scene around.
I was determined to see the two hot lads in the innovation department, Linsey Pollackand Mal Webb. You couldn’t get near Linsey Pollack’s concerts – he is very popular. He makes extraordinary instruments from household instruments like rubber gloves, then makes beautiful music on them. Mal Webb seems to me like Leunig’s Mr. Curley, but on steroids. I was almost scared to laugh in case I missed something. ‘Unique’ is the word applies to this strange and marvelous man.
- THE TAMAR VALLEY FESTIVAL, Georgetown.
On the Eastside of the Tamar River, in a once bustling Port the whole area is surrounded by natural beauty. I spent one serene afternoon at Bonnie Point, below the mining town of Beaconsfield, watching happy folks fish. It’s on the following week from Cygnet, and of course, makes full use of having such wonderful performers on their shores. Many of them have a double booking which is why I will be briefer about this festival. One delightful surprise was the number of Territorians who were down; sort of Top Half meets Bottom Half. Folk from Alice, Darwin and Nuriootpa had got together a tribute concert to Woody Guthrie, and very good it was too.
there were some wonderful concerts, notably Ange Takats, Backseat Driver, with Nick Charles (looking so like Julian Assange I had to look twice)Kerrie Maguire with the West Coast singers, and Danny Spooner commanded a good appreciative crowd in the yacht club – I’m hoping we might get him here to Newcastle in the coming year,
It is a long way to go but worth the effort. Combine it with some touring, a visit to MONA in Hobart (Museum of old and new art) and some interesting shopping, and it makes for a jolly good holiday.