KVCTC: PO Box 6218 Kangaroo Valley NSW 2577

It was a surprisingly sunny afternoon in the Valley when the organising committee for the Folk Festival came together for the first time in two years. Surely, this was a sign. We all took it as that, excited that in a few short months the Showground would come alive with the rich and diverse music, poetry and dance groups booked for the weekend of 14-16 October.

Celebrating its 15th year, the Kangaroo Valley Folk Festival attracts thousands of visitors to the area – the combination of an iconic natural environment, a welcoming village and an event for the whole family making it one of the favourites on the national music festival calendar.

Following fires, Covid and floods, this year’s celebrations will be all the more important for us locals and provide a great injection for businesses. The line-up of performers is predominantly Australian, with favourites like 19Twenty, The Bushwackers, Mic Conway and Robbie Long, Fiona Ross & Shane O’Mara, Fred Smith, Benji and the Saltwater Sound System, Kerryn Fields, Alanna & Alicia, Jane and the Rain, Brohman and many more.

From his home town of Maffra in east Victoria, award-winning Country singer/songwriter Michael Waugh makes a welcome return to the festival stage. Covid was particularly hard for Waugh, who tragically lost both parents within six weeks of each other. “I needed to be still after losing mum and dad – to reflect, to write and to be surrounded by my family. Being isolated in lockdown was a little like having a broken arm stuck inside a cast – it was frustrating and I was itching to get out, but ultimately it’s what I needed so that I could start to put myself back together again.” The high school drama teacher dubbed the ‘M Night Shyamalan of country music’ by comedian Wil Anderson has released his fourth studio “The Cast” and will be bringing it to our festival.

With borders now open, the White Top Mountaineers will make their KV debut, along with another returning offshore favourite George Mann. The Mountaineers are a young duo: Martha Spencer and Jackson Cunningham, who hail from the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, acclaimed for a unique sound that combines old-time country duet singing, up-tempo old time fiddle, clawhammer banjo and bluegrass mandolin. Their last Australian visit attracted rave reviews: “Each performance included a good mix of secular and gospel songs, plus banjo, fiddle and mandolin instrumentals, all executed with ease and simple charm.”

Alongside the music performances across ten stages, poetry and dance are also a big part, and audiences of all ages are encouraged to join in. Applications are still open and welcome for artists aged 12-20 to perform at the youth-focused “Chill Out Tent”.

The website has the full line-up of performers and links to their music, along with a curated spotify playlist with a sample of them all. Tickets are on sale now, with the Super Early bird discount available until the end of August. This is a family event and accompanied children under 12 are free.

If you’d like a free ticket to the festival, you are welcome to get involved by taking on a volunteer role or by providing accomodation for performers in your home. Billeting has created some wonderful friendships between locals and visiting artists over the years, so if this sounds like fun, do let us know.

For all the latest updates and application forms, go to kangaroovalleyfolkfestival.com.au.

Julie Ward