30 July 2009

Letter about the Folk Festival

We spotted this letter in the local paper (Williamstown Advertiser) from James Howard - good on you Jim, thanks for the support! (Click on the letter to see a larger version.)

26 July 2009

Roddy Read Songwriting Award

Since we have quite a few songwriters around the club, this might be of interest.

One of the events associated with the Maldon Folk Festival is the Roddy Read Songwriting Award.

Entries close on 11 September.

Interested? See the Maldon Folk Festival website for details.

21 July 2009

Newport - NAIDOC and the Buddhists of Sunshine

The 'Newport Convention' bush dance band represented the NFFC at a highly
multicultural event last weekend. An Aussie bush dance was arranged (in
place of the ball held in previous years) for NAIDOC week. And it was held
at a Buddhist temple in Braybrook!

The band consisted of Neil Jolly (guitar, vocals, dance caller), Maryanne
Charles (guitar and vocals), Greg O'Leary(fiddle and mixing desk), Bruce
Williams (mandolin) and Steve Martin (double bass). We walked into the hall
past bushes which were trimmed into the shape of deer grazing on the lawn.
The organizer, Helen Rzesniowliecki (from iramoo.org) and the temple's AV
expert, Tony, quickly made us feel welcome. Thanks, the band were well
looked after.

The hall had an impressive sound system which Tony tapped us into, and he
helped us out by controlling the dance floor sound from his huge mixing
desk, and working the stage and hall lighting during the dance. What a

The hall looked great with paper lanterns festooned above the dance floor,
contributing to the multi-cultural flavour of the evening.

Neil and the band quickly got things warmed up with some songs and then Greg
explained how aboriginal musicians at Cape Barren Island had shaped a couple
of the Bush Orchestra tunes - which we then duly ripped into.

It was time for the dancing to get going, with Neil going up and down from
the stage, teaching the steps, getting the shy ones to join in, and calling
the dances.

The crowd took a couple of breaks for supper of turkish bread and dips (for
an extra dash of multiculturalism) and then muffins and slices for dessert,
all washed down with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

By the end of the evening the crowd had learned the barn dance, heel and toe
polka, circassian circle ('kangaroos and emus') and Blaydon races. The night
finished off with the Chicken Dance and the Troika (why leave the Russians
out of it?) just for a bit of fun.

It was great to see the smaller kids at the edge of the stage fascinated by
the instruments, and asking about them in the breaks. And one comment from
an adult that 'you don't hear that kind of music anymore'.

Steve Martin

ps. The Quang Minh Temple has a market each Sunday - well worth a look.

17 July 2009

Newport LIbrary at the Folk Festival

The Newport Library made us welcome in their space on Saturday morning. Dharma and I rarely get the change to work together and when we do we have a ball.
We discovered each other at the NFFC some years ago and quickly discovered a mutual passion for working with small people. So here we are at the Folk Festival singing and telling stories to no one above knee height.

WORDS, WORDS, WORDS, at the Newport Folk Festival

4 July, the Newport Bowling CLub was the venue for WORDS, WORDS, WORDS. THis open mic event was organised by the Storytelling Guild, (Vic) for the Newport FOlk Festival. Throwing caution to the wind, I MC'd the show with the help of Michael Reynolds and SImon Kerr - poet and teh man behind Passionate TOngues at the Bruncwick Hotel (who is also a photographer). For this I am thankful as I accidentally deleted all my pics from the day.
THe enthusiasm for events like this is overwhelming and I am in no doubt that we have WORDS again in 2010.
Our guests recited and sang - Lawson, original works, invited us to join the John SHaw Neilson Society, they tolk fairytales and chanted Aussie bush verse - we had it all!.
Special thanks to Stephen Whiteside for rearrangin his life to take a spot at the mic, JJ, Imelda, Claudette, Josie, Jim, Wnedy and Helen and Kala. SImon Kerr for his songs and Viv WIles, Mary Jane Wylie, James Howard, Matteo, Anthony Carey, Dave Davies and Lish

Jackie Kerin

09 July 2009

Newport Folk Festival - Many Thank Yous

The Folk Festival was a really good weekend of music dance and lots and lots of fun. We didn't get much sun, but we got lots and lots of music and many people reckoned it was well worth the effort to come over the Newport to enjoy what was on offer.

See photos on Picasa.

The RSL was jumping the whole weekend. I went in at 11pm on both Friday and Saturday and the place was full. Not a bad achievement given that Simon Leverton and the Black Forest Rogues got things going at 11 am on Saturday (thanks Simon) and Anthony Carey started things up midday on Sunday (thanks Anthony). Don Gula and Amelia Nada organised all the music, kept the show moving, invited Gerry Hale and his 2 bands (Uncle Bill, Innocent Bystanders) to play on the same terms as everyone else (for free), and they were still standing and smiling on Sunday night at the wind down session. Fantastic, and Don and Amelia are already on to the marketing of next year's event. With this sort of enthusiasm for live music the festival will continue to grow and grow. Thanks Don and Amelia – you have made a huge contribution to the festival and also to developing Newport as a cultural hub. Top stuff!

The Newport Bowls Club also proved to be a top venue. This year we had the opening session there, and then we were back for Saturday from 12 - 7.30. It has good acoustics, lots of space and, like the RSL, the drinks are at a very reasonable price. Thanks to Valmai Lewis and her committee for making us so welcome. Of course the performance items were the key to the venues success and I would like to thank Christine McDonald for organising the welcome session on Friday night, Jackie Kerin, Carla Nelson and team devising and organising the WORDS, WORDS, WORDS session (people came from all over Melbourne), to Gail Horsley for organising the Uke session and bringing Melbourne Ukulele Kollective over to Newport (even bigger and brighter than last year!) to Rob Durbridge for creating and running the 'Songs of Love and Resistance' session (one hour clearly wasn't enough and we will make sure it is a 2 hour session next year), and to Rob Broatch and Brendan Shearson for organising and playing in the Gyspy Django session (and of course to the other players - Steve Martin, Greg O'Leary, and Mark Donnelly - what a lovely way to relax at the end of a long festival day. To finish off the evening we enjoyed the music of Red Cat - many thanks Mike, Rob and Kerri for your entertaining and enjoyable performance to close the session. Many thanks also to all of the unnamed people who made sure that the tea and coffee were available, the dishes were done, and the sessions flowed easily and on-time. 'Many hands make light work' was certainly the case at the Bowling CLub and we are most grateful that people saw jobs to do and did them without being asked.

The Substation is an iconic building of Newport and it is a delight to see it being used as a community arts centre. We are very fortunate to have the Substation Market on the same day as the festival as this brings in its own crowd. A special thanks must go to Christine McDonald and Leonie Kervin for creating an exhibition of photographs of the Folk Club downstairs. These were a lovely selection of photos from the folk club's resident photographer (many thanks Kevin Dunne) and everyone who saw them enjoyed looking at the pics. What was not obvious was that Christine and Leonie spent hours and hours (working till 5am one morning) selecting, printing, mounting and hanging these pics. Next time you see them give these girls a hug - it was a huge effort and typified the spirit of the festival. Well done, and very professional.
The music in the Substation linked the various art forms on display and it was lovely to have such a variety of music and styles on show. Thanks for The Barber Shop Chorus (Danny O'Connell, Greg O'Leary, Bruce Williams, Alistair McCallum, Rob Durbridge, Ted Smith, Rob Richmond), Jill Dawson and Friends, Ted Smith, Jules Hutcheson, Suzette Herft, Gerry Co (Gerry Nelson, Barry Stillman and Tiffany Ball), Briar and the Rose (Maryanne and Neil), Russell Barret and Stump Jump (Steve Martin and MS) and the Willy Philly (Wilva & Anton Teese, Wilva, Barry & Tess Righetti, Nigel, ). Almost continuous music from 10 am - 4pm was a marvellous organisational achievement and we must thank Christine McDonald for keeping the show flowing and on time, and thank you to Greg Hammond for doing such a marvellous job with the PA - the sound floated throughout the building and it was just lovely.

Once the market was packed up Rob Broatch, Isaac Kervin, James Loveridge and Simon Dew got the PA's moving for the Bush Dance - thanks gents for doing the heavy lifting! This kicked off at 7.30 with some songs from Simon Leverton, Neil Jolly and Dave Isom throughout the night. The music for dancing was provided by our own Newport Bush Orchestra. Neil Jolly got people up and called the dances (great job Neil - thank you) and the Bush Orchestra was one heck of an orchestra numbering no less than 18 players who played the night with not a single sheet of music between them. Thank you to all of the players including Ronwyn Chesney, Alistair McCallum, Marilla Howkins, Rob Richmond, Dave Isom, Cathrine Tompkins, Greg Hammond, Chris Knoop, Bruce Williams, Wendy Love, Leonie Kervin, Lyn Shoobridge, Maryanne Charles, Steve Martin, Simon Dew, Simon Leverton, and our Canadian guest Jill Dawson. The music was great fun to dance to with a strong clear rhythm - it was a real credit to the Bush Orchestra and a special thanks must go to leader and teacher Greg O'Leary. Well done Greg for creating this unique cultural institution in Newport - more power to you! Another special thanks must go to our sound man on the night - Brendan O'Neill. Many thanks Brendan - the enjoyment on the dancers faces gave an indication of way in which you created a clear sound in a difficult soundspace - well done.

The Substation then came alive again on Sunday with The Choirs Festival- there was a big crowd (300+) in a big venue (the Substation) with lots of Choirs (9), lots of reverb even without the PA, and provided lots and lots of enjoyment - fantastic effort by Alan Davies for conceiving the idea, and then drawing so many people together and making the session a huge success. (I received a txt from my nearest and dearest YOU MUST GET OVER HERE! Which summed up the feedback I got about the gig). Well done, a big thank you to all of the choirs who supported the event and a thank you to Simon Kerr who MC'ed the event. And what next? (a Christmas Choirs Concert??)

Paine Reserve was again the venue for lots of music over the weekend. We didn’t get great weather but people came and played, and the audiences came out on both days, though not in such great numbers.
Thanks you to the Newport African Drummers for getting Saturday going with such strong rhythms out on Mason St. Many thanks to Peter Mile and the Hyde St Youth Band – what a great performance by this institution of the Western Suburbs who continue to produce and develop fine musicians. They got Paine Reserve swinging. Thanks to Nola Wilson and the children and parents of Newport Lakes Primary School – your set was absolutely lovely and quite polished. It wasn’t only the parents who thought you were great!

Then we had Gary Adams and the Adams Family Bands – Gary is very entertaining (and a little bit risqué) and those who came along for the show enjoyed Kylie’s #### and other Clip Clop Favourites. Thanks to the band of Steve Martin on Bass, Barry Stillman on Drums and Rob Broatch on the rockin’ electric guitar. Gary was followed by, a greatly contrasted with the sweet sounds of Parapluie – Tessa Clark and friends Bridget Meaghan and Angeline Armstrong – their own songs, three part harmony and plenty of confidence. They were followed by Georgina Stewart who played a solo set and then was accompanied by Bruce Williams and her dad for a couple of songs at the end. All is well with the world when young people are so skilled and enjoying sharing their music in public, and it augurs well for the future of the folk club. These young performers were followed by The Sisters Dahl with Rick Sidgwick, Alison Dew, Dharma and Llyn Shoobridge for a lovely set of old and newer tunes. Thanks to all of those performers.

Meanwhile back at the Senior Citizens Hall we had Russell Barrett and Anthea Davis who performed the Blue Balloon for the children, and also (at the Library) Jackie Kerin and Dharma told stories and sang songs to our youngest audience and their parents. These sessions really rounded out the program and ensured that we catered for all age groups and covered many of the art forms. Thanks Jackie, Dharma, Russell and Anthea for your energy and thank you to Rosemary Clark and the staff at the Newport Library for being such a supportive partner to the festival.

This year the tea dance was a real success. Ted Smith again threw himself into the organisation, marketing and dancing and we got people from all over the place who knew the dances, knew what they wanted (what about a St Bernard’s Waltz?) and really enjoyed the session. The Newport Dance Orchestra was lead by Greg O’Leary and included Rhonwyn Chesney, Brendan Shearson, Jill Dawson, Terri Hamilton-Smith, Eamon Spillane, Steve Martin, Christine Hunter, Llyn Shoobridge. It was a really strong dance sound, the dancers were happy and so was Ted! Thanks to all the musos, thanks Ted and thanks to the Kitchen brigade lead by Alan Davies. Well done.

What else? The 2 step dancing session lead by Pria Schwall-Kearney were fantastic. A small but enthusiastic group got a taste for moving to the fiddle tunes (thanks Greg for the accompaniment) on both Saturday and Sunday. Thanks Pria for coming over to our festival. The line dancing session on Sunday was another big success with the Newport Line Dancers, lead by Janis Farrugia. Thanks Janis – we really appreciate you being a part of our festival. It is good fun, includes a whole other group of people and really gets the energy of the festival moving. Many thanks. Of course there was also the Choir Workshop – Alan Davies lead a group for singing in his very professional way. This session was the catalyst for the starting of the Newport Choir and we hope to see some more people move from the workshop to the choir this year. Thanks Alan for another vibrant session of song.

There was also an un-timetabled ukulele workshop on Sunday morning that proved to be a hit. Thank you Nancy Belyea for asking for and organizing the session and thanks to Rob Richmond and others who stepped up to make sure that it was a success. Thank you.
We also had a songwriters workshop lead by Bruce Williams in the Community Hall. This was another session that quietly went about its business slightly ‘off Broadway’ but tapped in to people’s desire to play and share their music. Thanks Bruce for organizing and running this session – it is fantastic for musos to have a venue to try out and share their original material.
We (almost) finished off the festival with the concert in the Senior Citizens Hall. It was a lovely variety of musical styles featuring fiddlers Jill Dawson and Pria Schwall-Kearney, Georgina Stewart, and Angeline, Bridget and Tessa from Parapluie. Thank you very much for your performances. The concert finished with our guest artist, Anthony Leonard and his band. We have already seen Anthony’s playing at last year’s festival and it was a delight to have him back with his band. Many thanks Anthony for such a great show and please pass on our thanks to the band – Wendy, Jenny and Dave.
While we are at the Senior Citizens, I would like to thank Ray Whitehead and all of the Senior Citizens for welcoming us into the Hall and making us again feel so welcome. It is a really good hall to perform in and we appreciate having the use of the hall for the weekend. Thank you Ray.

Of course the festival would not have gone ahead without the support of our sponsors. We are very grateful to the City of Hobsons Bay Council for their support as our major sponsor, and in particular we thank Janet Dawes and Hazel Finnie for their morale and in-kind support leading up to and during the festival itself. Thank you very much.
We also thank the Newport Traders Association who again provided financial support for the festival and organized the Traders Market on the Sunday. Thank you very much to Elliot Daniel and Therese McKenny-Campbell for your continued support of the festival and we look forward to working with you throughout the coming year.
We thank Wade Noonan and his office for supporting the festival and his ongoing support of the Folk Club throughout the year, especially with regards to printing (this enables us to play the same notes at the same times). Many thanks Wade.
We would also like to thank Outlets Cooperative in Newport, and in particular Therese McKenny-Campbell, for being such a strong supporter of the folk club. Therese provides advice, support, and all manner of things to make sure that the Newport Fiddle and Folk Club develops and prospers. Thank you Therese and we look forward to working with you in the years ahead.

A final thank you to a couple of people who worked constantly over the weekend
– Wendy Durbridge was on deck washing dishes, organizing food and doing what ever needed to be done – thanks Wendy.
- Chris Knoop took on a couple of big jobs (getting, storing, erecting, pulling down and returning the Council marquees). This was no small commitment and Chris was still always ready to give a hand where needed – thanks Chris
- Sue Davies managed the money, spent much of the weekend on the information tent and was a huge part of making sure that things went smoothly. A sterling effort Sue and we thank you very much.
- James Loveridge is an Events Management student who offered his services for the weekend. Arrived both days at 9.30 and worked all day on whatever needed to be done. Thanks James and I hope you enjoyed the experience.

Last but not least of course is the folk club committee – Alan Davies, Sue Davies, Christine McDonald, Neil Jolly, Alison Dew, Chris Langshaw and Rick Sidgwick. The Committee has been together for a couple of years and have now organized two festivals. In that time we have developed into a cohesive group that is able to work together, draw on each others strengths, and help develop the folk club into a stronger organisation that is able to manage our growth and the challenges that come with extra demands. Well done and thank you.

It’s almost a week since the festival and we have all had to digest the weekend. If you have any thoughts, feedback or suggestions for next year they would be really appreciated, particularly if they are couched in terms of ‘we could do this’ or ‘have you thought of this’. The committee did a fantastic job, helped out by all of the supporters listed above, and so any positive comments you have would be also gratefully accepted. We are already looking forward to next year, and ways in which the event can be more engaging and more fun. If you have any ideas, we will take them on board (particularly if you have the skills to move from ‘why doesn’t the committee do ….’ to ‘I am able to do ……….’ and I could make it work. This is how the WORDS WORDS WORDS and the CHOIR FESTIVAL emerged.

Let’s see where this takes us next year


08 July 2009

Newport Folk Festival @ the RSL (a note from Don Gula)

G'day all,
Again I'd like to thank the people that organized, facilitated, attended and/or helped out with the 2009 Newport Folk Festival and I'd especially like to thank all those musicians that performed at the Newport RSL during the festival:
Angus Wynd
Anthony Carey
Simon Leverton's "Black Forest Rogues"
Blackwaterside (Neil Jolly, Mary-Anne Charles, Greg Hammond & Steve Martin)
Brendan Shearson
Bruce Williams
Coolgrass(Angus Golding, Bruce Packard, Doug Wallace & Jim Golding)
Craig Smith
Darren Steele
Edward Nass
Fat Chance & the Bluegrass Playboys(Andrew Barcham, Blair Webb, David Aumann)
Greg Hammond
Graeme Fletcher
Gerry Hale's "Innocent Bystanders"(Kim Wheeler, Mim Varden, Gerry Hale, Max Allen & Shane Ryall)
Jim Golding
John Boothroyd
Kenny Joe Blake
Kevin Parsell
Little Miss Country & the Kick Ass Kowboys(Jan Dandridge, Angus Wynd, Brendan Shearson & Don Gula)
Mary-Anne Charles
Maureen Beggs
Michael Stewart
Mick Coate's Johnny Cash Sun Sessions(Mick Coates, Oliver Dear & Don Gula)
Rattling Strings(Karen Doyle, Alan Blyth & Steve Doyle)
Rob Durbridge
Rick Taylor
Simon Leverton
Suzette Herft & band(Suzette Herft, Chris Lazarro, Colin Macleod & Don Gula)
Tim Hannan
Gerry Hale's "Uncle Bill"(Kim Wheeler, Gerry Hale, John Gray, Max Allen)
Vanessa Craven
Won't Go Quietly (Flora Lord, Bob Lord & Don Gula)
the Wind-Up White-Board Jammers . . .Anthony Carey, Anthony Leonard, Bruce Williams, Chris Lazarro, Colin Macleod, Dan O'Connell, Georgina Stewart, Gerry Nelson, Greg O'Leary, Katherine Tomkins, Leonie Kervin, Lyn, Michael Stewart, Newport Fiddle & Folk Club, Rob Richmond, Simon Dew, Simon Leverton, Steve Doyle, Steve Martin, Suzette Herft, Ted Smith and those that I can't remember (sorry).
The 2nd Newport Folk Festival was absolutely fantastic! Great musicians, great listeners, everyone contributed and had a fabulous time. If you missed it then you'll have to wait until next year's Newport Folk Festival which should be even bigger and better (if that is possible).

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