The 2017 Gulgong Folk Festival wound down on January 1, after three days and nights of excellent music and fun. The usual healthy mix of genres was appreciated by everyone, and some unusual instruments were part of the fascination again, this year.
Festival venues this time included the Opera House, CWA Hall, RSL Club, Prince of Wales Hotel, the PO Hotel and the Commercial. Buskers' Corner near IGA delighted passers-by with Kath Morgan, harpist, on Saturday and featured other keen musicians on Sunday morning. Much fun and easy access for local folk.
Headline act, The Bushwackers, delivered two great performances, including vigorous music for the Bush Dance on NYE.
To catch a concert performance of The Bushwackers or similar may cost $50-$70 at a designated concert venue in a major city. For performances all day and night the GFF rate was only $50. Great value, as noted by festival goers.
Traditionally, music fans have come to Gulgong around NYE for the high standard of Festival musical offerings ... the concerts, blackboard-open mics, workshops and sessions. Networking with other musicians from around the eastern seaboard is part of the Festival attraction, also.
READ MORE:Folk Festival 2018 | Photos
Henk Groot, a leading singer-guitarist from South Australia, was noted in the 2017 program as the ‘President's pick’. Henk did become a festival favourite, very quickly. A fine performer and a quiet yet genial man.
Sounds Live, the excellent choir from Bathurst, really enjoyed their experience of performing in the Opera House, as well as the Post Office Hotel. Music from Africa were well represented in this exciting choral presentation.
Guitar, vocal and ukulele workshops provided tuition for anyone with special interests in these areas and was appreciated by attendees from all around NSW.
A popular highlight of the 2017 Festival was the John Dengate songwriting competition, flushing out parody writers. This NYE afternoon session in the CWA Hall played to a capacity crowd, with ten people offering an item of interest, and 85 minutes of amusing entertainment. Some entrants possibly known to locals included Jean Hydleman and Blue Hutchison. The judges, including Ross Kurtz and Ray Loughlin, had some difficulty in choosing a winner, but eventually Derek Dowding from Wallsend did prevail, with a ditty entitled 'Mister Minister' set to the tune of Billy Joel's song, 'Piano Man'. A fine parody.
We may enjoy more good music from Derek at future festivals, as he has expressed strong interest in returning, soon.
Tom Hamilton from Richmond was delighted to be 'chief poet wrangler'. Poetry has traditionally been a strong feature of Gulgong festivals.
GFF was also pleased to have councillor Sam Paine attend, and present the winning Guitar Competition entrant with the prize, a stunning Cole Clark guitar from the Old Bank Music Shop in Dubbo. Dubbo musician, Pete Riley, was the delighted winner!
For several folk, musicians and fans, this was the first GFF they had attended, and more Festivals are in their future plans. Positive feedback included mentions of friendly locals in shops, music venues and also passers-by in the streets.
Alan Walker and some Paparazzi Club members were kept busy, and Gulgong Folk Club Inc offers them sincere thanks!
John Stark organised the fine array of market stalls, with amazing goods and pleasing variety on offer over two days. Certain popular, colourful shirts seemed to become the Festival Uniform!!
Volunteers from around NSW worked tirelessly to make sure that all activities were presented as well as possible. These folk did an amazing job and the Committee cannot thank them enough!!
Gulgong has again proved that it can mount a great festival.
A big ‘thank you’ to everyone who supported this festival, in any way.