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
  • 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