People’s Choice 2015 is open

If you yearn to perform on the big stage at the Festival, and have never been a paid guest, the People’s Choice competition for 2015 will open at midnight on 24 August (the witching hour!).

The competition ends at midnight on 20 September.

Terms and conditions are listed here – please make sure you read them.

Fourth festival guests announcement

In our fourth and final guest update we are very happy to tell you about a duo that is truly international, a local duo who should/could be and two celebratory performances: one for an icon of the British folk revival; and the other for the brilliant talent that is emerging from our NZ music scene…..

Award winning Cape Breton fiddler Gillian Boucher seamlessly blends the music of her ancestors with contemporary sounds, enthralling not only with the serene beauty of her music but with her stage persona and skills. Having received multiple award nominations for her recordings, her duo collaboration with another award winning artist, Scottish singer-songwriter and guitarist Bob McNeill, presents a truly dynamic, innovative yet sensitive acoustic conversation that is not to be missed. Heart wrenching slow airs, riveting and complex arrangements of songs and tunes, Gillian Boucher and Bob McNeill take what you know about Scottish traditional music and bring it to another level altogether.

Gillian and Bob have a feature concert, Gillian is running a dance workshop and Bob will be part of the Songwriters’ Forum.

Since forming two years ago, Kim and Dusty have become familiar faces around Wellington. Dusty suffers from a severe condition known as Musical ADHD which drives him to try his hand at any instrument with strings. He has lost count of the amount of projects he is currently involved in but says that Kim always brings out the best in him.  “It’s truly rare to find someone with whom you can share a perfect vocal blend.”

Kim has been performing in the country music clubs of the top of the south since she was old enough to talk and grew up on a healthy diet of Emmylou Harris, The Judds, Merle Haggard and Marty Robbins.

As individuals and a duo they have been regular performers at festivals throughout New Zealand. In June 2015 they released their debut EP, Kim and Dusty Live at the Wellington Bluegrass Society. Spectacular harmonies are the bedrock of their sound which encompasses country, blues, bluegrass and folk.

Kim and Dusty have a feature concert, Kim will host the Saturday night invitation concert and they will perform in the final concert.

2015 is the centenary of the birth of Ewan MacColl – folk singer, songwriter, labour activist, actor, poet and playwright.  To celebrate this seminal folkie we have invited The Ewan MacColl Critics Group, led by Paul Brown, to present a workshop/concert honouring MacColl’s contribution to folk music.

And building on the success of our 50th Festival last year, we have brought forward one of the themed events from that festival – the Looking Forward Concert.  Designed to showcase the abilities of up and coming performers, Looking Forward 2015 features Albi (of Albi and the Wolves), Keely Turuwhenua (Wellington singer, songwriter, busker) and Michael Muggeridge (of the Muggeridge Family).  Unfortunately, Nadia Reid has withdrawn from the Festival.

Other reminders:

  • Richie’s Bus will be providing a transport service to and from the site.  Details of the service (pick up points, timing and cost) will go up on our website and Facebook pages very soon. This service will be organised and financed separately from the festival so it will have a separate booking and payment process…. we’ll email details when festival registrations open
  • The People’s Choice competition is on again.  So if you would like to enter and have never been a paid guest at the Festival, now’s the time to finish that promotional video and line up your voters.  Applications will be open on Facebook in late August. To give the winners fans the chance to get the best prices on weekend tickets the competition will close a week before early bird registrations….
  • The Village Green will be a feature as usual. We are expecting some of NZ’s top instrument makers to be showing their skills this year as well as other things “likely to appeal to folkies”.  If anyone has suitable products for sale and would like to be a vendor, please contact info@wellingtonfolkfestival.org.nz.
     
  • the final contestants for the Acoustic Routes’ Joan Prior Award will give a concert followed by the judging and presentation of the award.  Named in honour of long-time Wellington folkie, Joan Prior, the award is open to solo or duo performers aged from 15 to 25 on September 1st 2015, resident in the Wellington region.  Applications are managed by Acoustic Routes – Wellington’s Folk Club. More information available at www.acousticroutes.org.nz/Joan-Prior-Award-2015-Rules.html

Third festival guests announcement

In the third of our updates, we are delighted to announce a duo who are each icons of the Australian folk scene in their own right: Fred Smith and Liz Frencham.  Liz has toured New Zealand before with Jigzag but Fred has only visited briefly back in 2008.  The Frencham Smith duo has been described as delicious, emotionally intelligent and entrancing folk music for the 21st century.  Blending Liz Frencham’s double bass and voice with the songwriting, singing and guitar work of Fred Smith, they play songs rich in thought, warmth and humour.

“Smith is a superb songwriter…Frencham has a voice with the appeal, emotional honesty and clarity of someone like Shawn Colvin…There is no other folk duo in Australia which even comes close to this magical combination.” Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

“I saw two of their performances, which stunned me with their sincerity and passion.  Sometimes comic, at other times moving, the duo stretched the boundaries of songwriting like an emotional rubber band always returning to a secure and loving musical foundation.” Peter James Dawson, Trad&Now, December 2011

Fred and Liz have a mainstage feature concert, will take part in the Songwriters’ Forum and appear in Sunday’s final concert.

From the seaside town of Leigh, north of the big smoke, come the Pipi Pickers, who tell us they have been waiting for years for this chance.  Featuring Jenine Abarbanel (double bass and vocals), Garry Bigwood (mandolin, guitar, vocals), Barry Torkington (guitar) and Nat Torkington (banjo), The Pipi Pickers rejoice in laying down their energetic, contemporary, “full-bodied” style of bluegrass.  Often praised as the “second best free band in Leigh” they’re a favourite at such local fundraisers as the Leigh Fishing Competition and the Whangateau Hall annual country faire.  They have also played the Harrietville Bluegrass and Old Time Country Music Convention, the Great Alpine Pick and MountainGrass (all in Harrietville, Victoria, Australia) and the Redlands Bluegrass Festival in Queensland, Australia.

Pipi Pickers have a feature concert, will run a beginners’ “slow jam” and also have a spot in Sunday night’s final concert.

Rosy Tin Teacaddy are our Wellington region guests in this update. Andy Hummel and Holly Jane Ewens are highly regarded for their on-stage symmetry and harmonic blend of voices. Formed in 2007, Rosy Tin Teacaddy have built a reputation for narrative songwriting; smartly lyrical with sly wit and poignancy. These modern-day story tellers have been described as kiwi-gothic and folktronica.  Expect digital dustings, found-sound percussion and mind-altering sonic layers entwined into the familiar close-knit vocal harmonies and traditional folk leanings of previous outings.

Rosy Tin Teacaddy have a feature concert and will contribute to the Songwriters’ Forum.

Also in this update:

  • The committee is working with a folkie who owns a large passenger bus to provide a transport service to and from the site.  Details of the service (pick up points, timing and cost) will go up on our website and Facebook pages when we have them finalised.
  • The People’s Choice competition is on again.  So if you would like to enter and have never been a paid guest at the Festival, now’s the time to think about recording a video and lining up your voters.  Applications will go up on Facebook in late August.
  • The Village Green will be a feature as usual, selling musical instruments and things “likely to appeal to folkies”.  If anyone has suitable products for sale and would like to be a vendor, please contact info@wellingtonfolkfestival.org.nz.
     
  • the finalists in the Acoustic Routes’ Joan Prior Award will give a concert followed by the judging and presentation of the award.  Named in honour of long-time Wellington folkie, Joan Prior, the award is open to solo or duo performers aged from 15 to 25 on September 1st 2015, resident in the Wellington region.  Applications and award heats are managed by Acoustic Routes – Wellington’s Folk Club. More information available at www.acousticroutes.org.nz/Joan-Prior-Award-2015-Rules.html