Help us make next year’s festival even better!

This year’s festival was fabulous and we’d like to make next year’s even better. If you you haven’t filled out our feedback form already, please spare a few moments to share your views.

Here is a link to the feedback form:

Even if you didn’t come to the festival, we’d like to know why.

Thanks again from all your committee….. now starting the prep for 2021.

Thank you all!

A huge ‘THANK YOU” to everyone involved in this year’s festival; performers, audience, vendors, volunteer crew. You are all champions and made the 2020 festival the best ever!

Thanks also to the various organisations that supported the festival this year.

We have just a few items of lost property that still haven’t found their way home too. To view these items go to our facebook event page here or you can email with any queries.

Day tickets still available online + Volunteer opportunities too

Day tickets ARE still available till 16 October
Apologies if you found day tickets unavailable… we’ve fixed a glitch in the ticketing system so whole day tickets for both Saturday (including the Ceilidh and and evening invitation concert)  and Sunday (including the final evening showcase concert) are available at the special $75 price. Prices at the gate will be higher as noted on the web site…

Check the online programme – choose your day and enjoy a great deal on entertainment and activities from mid morning to the wee hours.

Day and weekend tickets remain available online till Friday 16 October from:

New Volunteer opportuntities:
This year, our regular Scout supporters can’t help out so at late notice we’re rostering a volunteer crew to attend the registration caravan. Work will include greeting people, checking tickets, issuing registration packs to prepaid folk and processing gate sales. The job will involve operating our till and EFTPOS machine but training will be given.

We also need one more qualified first aider and up to three members of the hygiene crew

If you’re interested, please email Please – no phone calls, texts or FB messages. Free registration (or a refund if already paid) if you’ll commit to work over 8 hours during the weekend.

Early bird ticket prices end tomorrow (Sunday).

From Monday you’ll pay full price for tickets so, if you can, get them now!

We’ve posted the current draft of the programme on the web site – check it out or download a pdf copy. If you can’t do the whole weekend, remember this year, we have whole day and night tickets available for each of Saturday or Sunday.

Check the programme, choose your day, and still get a great deal on entertainment and activities from mid morning to the wee hours. Sunday evening has the final showcase concert, then sessions till the players fall asleep, while Saturday night you can choose between the high energy ceilidh dance or the Balladeer Specials invitation concert followed by the late traditional singing session.

Early bird prices are available till midnight Sunday 4 October click here to purchase tickets.

All the info on festival guests and the draft programme (subject to change) are here on the website.

We will do all we can to deliver the usual high energy and friendly festival – but we won’t risk anyone’s safety and will of course follow all government guidance. Remember if the worst happens and we have to cancel due to another Covid-19 resurgence, we will refund all tickets in full.

2020 Festival Programme

With  Alan Downes’ CD release in place now, we are pleased to announce that the provisional programme is available online. (Please note that the committee reserves the right to make changes to this programme as necessary.)

Click here to go to the 2020 programme page or select 2020 Programme in the menu bar above.  You’ll be able to view, download and/or print from there.

We are all looking forward to a fabulous festival – see you there!

Grab your early bird tickets – here are the rest of the guests!

Hi everyone!

Great news that most of the country is back at Level 1 and hopefully all of us will be there before Labour weekend. This means Wellington Folk Festival can almost run as normal.

The programme will be posted up on the web site soon…. but to save your suspense, this email has info about the guests we haven’t told you about yet.

You can get your tickets here:
Early bird prices are available till Sunday 4 October

Colette Rivers

An alt/indie folk-rock artist, New Zealand-American songwriter, currently based in the Wairarapa. Colette Rivers brings together an eclectic mix of guitars, drums, folk instruments and synths to create music that is both uplifting and melancholic.

Colette’s voice shivers with the raw expressiveness of greats like Bruce Springsteen or Gillian Welch and a sharp edge that evokes the likeness of Liz Phair or Aimee Mann.

She has released the EP Wandering Thoughts  – a 4 track release featuring the single ‘Kamikaze Girlfriend’ written about the twisted ways people can give all to love. Colette’s debut album, “Memory Lake” is inspired by nature in its many forms – aptly named after the great Lake Taupō where she lived after moving with her family from Washington state at age 11.

There is an undeniable sense of strong melodic hook-writing, as featured in the haunting and sometimes gritty melodies of ‘Quiet Places’, ‘Out of the Cage’ and ‘Fickle Soul.’ The honesty, poeticism and depth of Colette Rivers’ lyrics reflect a fearlessness in revisiting the past, feeling the moments of the right now, considering life and death and the beauty, pain and reality of it.

Gumboot Tango

An acoustic combo from Godzone Lando celebrating New Zealand songs and songwriters with a farmyard-infectious humour guaranteed to put a smile on your feet and the swing back in a Taranaki gate.

Good-time home-grown music;  from rustic roots and big-smoke blues to regional originals and classic kiwi rock; Foot-tapping ditties from the family knee and from the cowshed wireless at milking time. Songs from 78’s and sing-alongs. From back-country roads, the bush and the big smoke.

Gumboot Tango was formed in 1994 when Mike Harding joined Alan Muggeridge, his wife Janet and brother Steve to assemble and record, in Alan’s Rowan Studio, a set of ten Taranaki songs and then perform them at the 1995 Taranaki Festival of the Arts. Further musical adventures followed – after the ‘Taranaki Top Ten’ cassette came ‘Rattle Yer Dags’ and appearances at many folk and music festivals including the Second Annual Great Urenui School Possum Hunt and WOMAD ’99. Along the way the addition of ‘other band’ member and friend Wayne Morris on drums for a while before Alan became ill with cancer and tragically died in 2000.

Many of you will know the enormous energy and fun Gumboot Tango bring to the many festivals they get involved in.

Raven Mavens Quartette

Raven Mavens started as a duo with Cindy Muggeridge, queen of the boogie and blues on piano and Marian Carter playing soulful clarinet. These two fun-loving, versatile performers brought sweet harmony and a sassy, happy-go-lucky slant to their music.

The duo became a trio when they added Anje Glindemann on drums.  Anje has the philosophy of playing the ‘song’ and not the ‘drums’ (while actually playing the drums) sometimes light, sometimes rocking, but always with a solid feel. The trio became the ‘Quartette’ with the addition of versatile virtuoso, Kate Marshall on accordion, flute, violin and vocals. Kate started her musical life as a classically trained pianist, but had a tendency to improvise the ends of Mozart sonatas. It was decided that she should find some music to play where that was legitimate.

Each of these women is a musician worth hearing in her own right, playing and singing in other lineups, but when they get together there’s a unique and beautiful synergy. Expect this talented combination to dish up a variety of music and styles, from great divas like Bessie Smith and Nina Simone, to their own original songs. The mood will range from sensitive to burlesque, with a bit of storytelling and hilarity on the side.

Dance, dance, dance
As usual there is a full dance programme…. from modern to very traditional, there will be loads to move to. We have great tutors with long experience and passion. VicFolk will again play and call for the Saturday evening Ceilidh and there will be workshops on Advanced Ceilidh, Irish Step, Morris, Lindy Hop and Balkan / Gypsy / unusual timings

The Balladeer
So we’ve announced the booked and programmed guests.  Festival regulars also know there will be lots more guests who we’ll invite to play throughout the weekend on the Balladeer Specials stage – almost a festival within the festival.


for the Wellington Folk Festival Committee

We will do all we can to deliver the usual high energy and friendly festival – but we won’t risk anyone’s safety and will of course follow all government guidance. Remember if the worst happens and we have to cancel due to another Covid-19 resurgence, we will refund all tickets in full.

Tickets are on sale now!!

Hi everyone,

On the basis that by 23 October we’ll be back at Level 1, I’m delighted to let you know that Wellyfest 2020 tickets are now available online.

Apologies for the delay in opening sales…. there were some unexpected changes to our ticketing system since last year so a huge amount of work has been done by our volunteer committee members to make sure it works for us and you in a similar way to previous years. There are a few changes to the ticket types, pricing and and the payment process with most prices held or reduced from last year.

… but if you just want to dive into the web site to buy your tickets, here’s the link:

Here is a summary of this year’s ticket prices:

As always, bunks are available in limited numbers. They are available as usual on a first come first served basis at $70 for the weekend.

We’ve tried to make this festival as affordable as possible for families. The child, teen and student rates for early bird bookings are reduced from last year.

A change from the ticket system is that payment for early bird tickets can only be made online by credit or debit card. We will  absorb the credit card processing fees so this change won’t cost you more than the simpletix system’s standard booking fees.

We are looking forward to a great Kiwi festival …. and remember we still have more guests to announce! The only thing that could get in the way is if we are still at level 2 lockdown come mid October. Be assured if that happens, any prepaid registrations will be fully refunded.

Stay safe and be kind…..
for the Wellington Folk Festival Committee



Second guest announcement!

Hi everyone

The programme is really coming together now. We have lots of fun events and hopefully some surprises up our sleeves. We can now let you into some closely guarded secrets – more of the fun, talented and diverse performers we have planned for your pleasure (and education) over Labour Weekend.

All the details here are based on plans before this week’s Covid-19 resurgence. We will do all we can to deliver – but we won’t risk anyone’s safety and will of course follow all government guidance. Some of these announcements do assume that out of town guests will be free to travel as we approach Labour weekend.


As you may or may not know, a Grawlix is a ‘a spiral-shaped graphic used to indicate swearing in comic strips’, whereas Grawlixes is a Wellington-by-way-of-Dunedin indie-folk band intent on inserting themselves into your brain with their intelligent, infectious songs about relationships, death and not being invited to parties. Continuing the great lineage of artists who bring sadness to their sprightly melodies, Grawlixes’s music often deals in the melancholy with self-deprecating honesty and beautiful boy-girl harmonies, sung by co-founders Robin Cederman and Penelope Esplin.

Following an extensive European tour supporting label-mates French for Rabbits, Grawlixes released their debut album ‘Set Free’ reaching #1 on the NZ weekly music album charts. They are now preparing to release their follow up album ‘Love you to death’ in Sept this year.


From Dunedin, Bernadette, Mike and Siobhan take time out from their many individual pursuits to come together to sing and play as a family. The result is an eclectic repertoire from the solidly traditional to the obscurely modern, all based around those close harmonies that only a family seem to be able to produce.

Mike is perhaps best known for his work with The Chaps, Catgut Steel and, for many years, the Pioneer Pog ‘n’ Scroggin Bush Band.

Bernadette and Siobhan were enduring members of the fondly-remembered and occasionally reprised Rhonda and the Ravers, a group based on harmonies, dance moves and bling.

Sadie & Jay

Sadie & Jay met and formed a creative contemporary folk and roots duo in Australia seven years back. They’ve recently returned to live in New Zealand and look forward to the next chapter in their musical journey. Sadie & Jay’s music features historical Australian stories, bursting with colour, texture and spirited characters. Their latest album ‘A Passing of Seasons’ has been awarded Australian Celtic Album of the Year.

Three original studio albums have included multiple first place winners and finalists in APRA AMCOS awards, The Australian Celtic Awards and Blues & Roots Radio, songs from all three albums have made the Top 10 in The Australian Songwriters Association Awards.

Sadie & Jay have been performing as a duo in and beyond the Brisbane folk and festival scene. They’ve completed two UK tours and it’s great that they are now locals – adding Wellyfest to their appearances as overseas guests at the Hamilton Folk Festival last year.

The Flukes

The Flukes are a group of Wellington women who started playing ukulele together about 10 years ago. Since then they’ve played at community events, markets and parties, and developed a varied repertoire of cover songs and medleys.  You’ll be delighted and surprised at the range of styles – all performed with a mixture of humour, sensitivity, pathos and joy. They play largely un-amplified so expect to get close.

And there’s more still to come. Early bird tickets will go on sale in the next week or two – we’ll email again with a website link when we are about to open the ticket sales system.

for the Wellington Folk Festival Committee

Here it is…. the First Guest Announcement!!!

Hi everyone

Things are really coming together now and we are finalising arrangements with our festival guests. While the programme and full details are subject to change, we are excited to let you know some of the great and diverse performers we have planned for your pleasure over Labour Weekend. So – without further ado…….

Darren Watson

Darren Watson gained New Zealand-wide fame in the late eighties as the principal songwriter and front-man for rhythm n’ blues outfit Chicago Smoke Shop. The group of blues-mad Hutt Valley teenagers shared stages on NZ tours with international artists like Koko Taylor, The Robert Cray Band, George Thorogood, and The Fabulous Thunderbirds.

Since leaving Smoke Shop in the early 90’s Darren has cemented his reputation as the nation’s most original, contemporary blues voice. He’s released six blues-based albums and his latest album, 2018’s Too Many Millionaires  debuted at number three on the Official NZ Top 20 Album Chart and stayed in the charts for five weeks. The songs broaden the blues base and we are excited that these songs are totally relevant to the modern folk scene. Darren’s latest album, Getting Sober For The End Of The World, is due to be released on the 1st of October, 2020.


From Christchurch, Entrada are Tessa White (violin and mandolin) and Jonathan Le Cocq (guitar), playing a unique blend of music for violin, guitar and mandolin, rooted in the Celtic tradition but finding its own pathway through it. Jonathan’s background in early music – performing with national groups like NZBarok on historical instruments  – informs his approach to playing traditional music, and combines with Tessa’s youthful, virtuosic tune-playing for original and dynamic music making.


A Wellington based band who draw inspiration from traditional music from the Balkan region including gypsy and their own original music. They infuse new life into traditional folk songs and rebuild them in their own Mehana style. You will take a musical journey from melancholy of Roma violin laments to storming beats of Gypsy rumba, mixing with traditional Balkan rhythms as a blend of influences through time and space.

Barry and the Crumpets

A foot-stomping, barn-romping country dance extravagance. Playing old-time classics, breakneck bluegrass and swampy blues. All played toe-tapping fast and knee-slapping rowdy.
It all started in Wellington when three friends started jamming together with banjo, mandolin and cajon on a dark midwinter night in 2017. As the night wore on, the tunes got stompier, their friends danced faster and before they knew it a band was born. After 18 months of gigging around markets, bars and house parties in Wellington, a fiddler joined the fray. The band have since been honing their particular flavour of upbeat, old-fashioned mountain music and three-part harmonies with a smattering of celtic roots. Fresh from stomping performances at Acoustic Routes and the Wellington Bluegrass Society, the Crumpets will add local life and fun.

And there’s more to come. Get your breath before the next installment!
Early bird tickets will go on sale in mid August

for the Wellington Folk Festival Committee