National Folk Festival, Canberra 2005

Posted by jerry on April 1st, 2005 — Posted in Journal, Music

What an amazing festival!! This one has to have been the best yet – The only downside was that my attempts at moblogging failed dismally, so here are my highlights of the festival – after the event.

a most unusual instrument

Key highlights were some great concerts – Martin Pearson’s satyrical recitation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy in two parts… Dingo’s Breakfast – especially the “Original Goon Show”; Nancy Kerr – an amazing fiddle player (My apologies Nancy if my anti-session caused you grief); Jane Brownlea’s band; the Wise Family Band (Scott Wise made my hardanger fiddle); and many more.

Other highlights included our ‘Anti-Session in the session bar – where we welcomed bodhran players and squeeze boxes, performed random stand-ups during the tunes, and then topped it off with literal musical chairs – getting up and wandering around and sitting down randomly where other musicians had been sitting – it was a no-frown celtic music session. Yes it was loud and raucous but everyone had a big grin and a laugh – after all music is all about enjoyment and never mind the odd random notes! Many came up afterwards and said it was the best session they’d ever played in – high praise indeed.


Other highlights included a couple of one-to-one sessions with Jane Brownlea – an awesome fiddle player; sessioning with Louisa Wise, Scott Wise and Jane Brownlea; performing a concert spot with the venerable Billy Moran – an Irish accordionist from Melbourne in his nineties and still going strong! Also jamming with some cayjun fiddlers; lots of guinness and sessioning until six AM most mornings.

jerry and Billy

One of the biggest surprises was finding another hardangerfiddle (hardingfele) – a genuine Norwegian eight string fiddle of the type mine was modelled on. So we played some Scandinavian tunes – and had the very great pleasure of Dave deHugaard joining in – and suggesting we all ge together for a spot of Scandinavian music at the next National Folk Festival.

hardanger fiddle

dueling hardangers
Dueling hardangers!

My own performances with Will-o-the-Wisp circus street performers (stilt walkers and associated characters) went very well and received a lot of attention throughout the festival – especially when we invaded the Session Bar!

Jerry and Julz - stilts

And finally, the many friends I caught up with from many years ago from Perth, Western Australia, and from Adelaide – along with the many new friends I met and the many new friends I haven’t met yet 🙂

It was exhausting, but exhilarating!

jerry flaked

The Festival flu I came home with was a small price to pay!


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