The Festival opens with the Welcome Ceilidh on Friday evening. Led by Vic Folk this year, this is a true ceilidh – some dances, some tunes, some songs, maybe a tale or two.
Also on Friday evening, we are screening a documentary following renowned Scottish fiddler, Alasdair Fraser, in his journey in search of personal self expression. Entitled The Groove is NOT Trivial this screening is the New Zealand premiere.
And, if that’s not enough, there is the Opening Invitation Concert in The Balladeer as well.
This year, the Festival Choir is being run by Celtic Ferret, a duo from Auckland who sing mainly traditional songs with lots of harmonies. There will be two choir practice sessions (one each on Saturday and Sunday) and a performance late on Sunday afternoon in the Balladeer.
The Copper Family, of Sussex in England, have been singing for many generations – unaccompanied and with a range of harmonies. Dave Barnes and friends (including the redoubtable Kev Mayes seen recently on Country Calendar) will be holding Songs from the Copper Family. Not a concert, not a workshop, just a companionable session where all can join in with choruses, or bits you know, to fill the room with sound.
This year we have a Beginners’ Jam for those of you who have always wanted to join in but were never quite certain how or what the “rules” are. Hosted by Janet Muggeridge, this is your opportunity to find your place in the jam circle.
Many folkies are involved in other creative activities as well. The Home brew appreciation session offers those who brew beer or cider a chance to share their latest creations. If you’re a brewer and would like to contribute, get cracking!
Saturday night’s Big Sing is something that has made the Festival special for a number of people for years – decades even. Hosted by Dave Barnes and the brewers, it’s an acapella experience – multi-layered harmonies around the room supported by sips of home brew (under 18s will NOT be served).
Sunday morning may bring sore throats and lack of sleep but it also brings the regular Folk Service. Led by Jonathan Berkahn, this is an opportunity to share a short, spiritual folkie experience.
The Songwriters’ Forum is another regular Festival event. This year it features guest artists Terence Blacker, Donna Dean, Dave Murphy, Janet Muggeridge and The Wooden Box Band and will be hosted by Paddy Burgin.
Over the last few years, the New Zealand Tradition Bearers session has become a feature of the Festival. Focusing on New Zealand songs both old and new, this year it is hosted by Kevin Ikin.