When: March 28 to April 1, 2013
The National Folk Festival, Canberra (April) was not always held in Canberra, but was first launched in Melbourne in 1967 by the Victorian Folk Music Club, the Monash Traditional Music Society, and the Burwood Teachers Folk Club in collaboration with renowned artists Martin Wyndham Reed and Glen Tomasetti. This folk festival took inspiration from the Newport Folk Festival in theUnited States(not unlike other Australian major festivals that took their cues from foreign festivals). A few years after it was launced and up to 1991, the festival ‘toured’ the country as each city took turns in hosting the events:Sydney,Adelaide,Brisbane, Freemantle, Alice Springs,Perth, Kurunda, Maleny andCanberraeach had a shot at playing host to the National Folk Festival. But because of the festival’s increasing popularity not only from regional guests but also from international visitors, the Folk Festival has been hosted inCanberrasince 1992, with more slots for participation open to artists of the featured state for that year.
About the Event
The National Folk Festival is a celebration of Australia’s tradition during the time of its founding (as a penal colony for the British crown). The Exhibition Park in Canberra will light up from March 28 to April 1, 2013 to become a colorful mosaic of clustered villages where visitors can get a glimpse of the traditions and mores of early Australians, their descendants, and their interactions with the aborigines.
The concept of cultural preservation is highlighted in the “Tradition Bearers’ demonstrations where a long list of workshops have been lined up for a wide range of art disciplines: children and families get to participate in craft- and gift-making, traditional camping (camping grounds can accommodate up to 5,000 people), more than 100 concerts, storytelling and poetry, music instrument repairing, and aboriginal performances in music and dance. Nightly, visitors can participate in Scottish, Irish and Australian Colonial balls, as well as Latin dances like tango and flamenco.
The nation’s capital,Canberra, is a sight unto itself. On any given day, it is abuzz with tourists and travelers of all types, so dress for this (crowded) event. There will at least be 200 acts and workshops to attend and enjoy, so keep an open mind when you flit from one event to the next, and from one venue to another. There is an alcohol ban in the morning, which is subsequently lifted at noon. The National Folk Festival,Canberra(April) is an excellent opportunity for the backpacker to enjoy the capital without having to worry about accommodation. Just bring your own lodgings and camp alongside locals to soak in the vibe of the festival without busting your budget.
The National Folk Festival presents Australian heritage in a seldom seen light: a throwback in time whenAustraliawas a foundering nation of British outcasts and aborigines trying to live together in harmony.