By Stevie Connor
The Port Fairy Folk Festival 2019
Can you be in love with a festival as if it were almost human ?
I think I am, let me tell you a story ....
Two years ago we attended the Port Fairy Folk Festival to do some live broadcasts from the weekend long event, Neil Mitchell, co -founder of Blues & Roots Radio who lives in Melbourne, had been attending the event for a number of years and had previously done live shows with the help of William Hutton ( Claymore ) David Harris ( Music World Media ) Anthony O'Neil ( Saoirse ) and Jock Hossack ( Jock's Celtic Calamity ), he suggested to us that we would love it and the fact that many international artists perform there including a whole bunch from Canada, the UK and Ireland we decided to make the trip down from Toronto.
Neil made the festival aware that we were planning to attend, we had no idea how welcoming the whole weekend would turn out to be...
Port Fairy is a coastal town in south western Victoria 180 miles west of Melbourne, it sits at the mouth of the Moyne River where it meets the southern ocean, it's idyllic, and when I tell you that Port Fairy was voted one of the most desirable places to live in the world with a population of 3500 people you kinda get the drift that at some point in your life you'll have to make the trip, and not just for the festival.
The Port Fairy Folk Festival is held during the Labour Day long weekend in March each year. The festival has run continuously since 1977. Over the 40 or more festivals there have been around 3,500 acts including over 500 international acts and over 12,000 musicians to an audience of beyond 240,000 ticket holders and 1,000,000 attendees
The Gunditjmara aboriginal people lived in the Port Fairy area prior to European arrival.
We had the most wonderful weekend festival you could ever hope to imagine, the committee members, artistic director board members, volunteers and Australian artists made us feel so very special indeed, it could be summed up with one incident, after a long day of interviews and shows the team went backstage to the green room for the presentation of a Maton Guitar by Patrick Evan's, it was an annual event and there were speeches followed by singing and meeting many of the performers, as the night wore on and I had maybe one too many grog's we realized that it was late, we had no idea how to get back to our apartment, or even where it was located, and there may have been Wombat's waiting in the bushes to tease and scare unsuspecting Canadian festival revellers. Fear not !! For someone saw my wife and I deep in conversation and asked if they could help, imagine that, folks more polite than Canadians ! We were directed to the festival office where a volunteer appeared with car keys in hand who led us to his people carrier and we were whisked back to where we were staying.
That experience of kindness can be transposed to all the people we met at the festival, in the restaurants and bars and on the street, the whole town embraces the many thousands of visitors that attend the four day event and it's a truly amazing and lasting impression that they leave you with.
We also met some legends of the music industry while we were there, Derek Guilles who was an ABC radio personality and is the festival ambassador, Dobe Newton of the Bushwackers fame and non other than Richard Flohil the legendary publicist and promoter from Toronto Canada who was accompanying The Jerry Cans on their tour of Australia.
Photograph at Port Fairy below picture 1- Stevie Connor, Derek Guille ( Festival Ambassador ) and Neil Mitchell
Picture 2 Neil Mitchell, Richard Flohil, Dobe Newton and Stevie Connor
Next week we get to do it all again, well I don't, but Neil and his team do. We will be bringing LIVE shows with interviews with some of the performers, we'll be weaving throughout the festival grounds with video cams chatting with festival goers, we have a drone that will be capturing airiel footage for a film that we'll be producing all about the event, it's going to be another wonderful experience that we hope to share with you this time.
We will be using for the first time our brand new Rode equipment delivered especially with Port Fairy in mind and the lIve show experience.
Who can you expect to see if you are lucky enough to have a ticket ?
Ash Grunwald, Basia Bulat, Kasey Chambers, Liz Stringer, The once, Ralph McTell and many more.
Here is the full list of performers
I have the task of making sure the live streams go smoothly from up here in Canada, we have a team looking after the social media postings so follow us on instagram, twitter and facebook for updates over the weekend of March 8 - 11
Listen in to the shows on the Essential Channel on Blues and Roots Radio
A huge thank you to Caroline Moore and all her team at Port Fairy for accommodating our needs to make this all happen at this truly world class award winning event.
Visit our Port Fairy Festival website page HERE
You can find us on Twitter HERE
and on Facebook HERE
and on instagram HERE
Oh Yeah ... to answer the question, I am in love with the Port Fairy Festival just like it's human !
I miss it, I miss the people, music, and the beautiful area !
Thanks for all your support