Tuesday 19 October 2010

Join the Yungaburra folk at the annual music festival

Local ageless muso, Tony Hillier, writing on Entertainment Cairns, encourages Cairns folk to venture across the divide this weekend for the annual folk festival at Yungaburra.

While locals will doubtless still refer to it as the Yungaburra folk festival, the Far North’s premier acoustic music event, coming up on the weekend of October 22-24, is now officially known as the Tablelands Folk Festival.

But, as Will Shakespeare rightly queried via one of his blockbusters, what’s in a name? More pertinent, perhaps, is the fact that the festival is celebrating its 30th renewal this year, which is no mean feat. By your columnist’s estimation that puts it close behind the National Folk Festival and the Port Fairy Folk Festival in terms of longevity, and makes it the longest-running event of its kind in Queensland.

While the festival also has a new director and program director this year, traditionalists fearing change need not fret. Jason Donnelly and Summer Bland have stayed pretty true to the tried and tested format of balancing old and new, which means that there’ll be something for everyone — from tiny tots to grandmas and granddads — with gigs ranging from intimate affairs and workshops to wild dance sessions.

Have your tastebuds tickled at the festival’s official website, where all the acts performing are listed in alphabetical order. Admission cost and other information.

The McMenamins
Some nationally known local singer-songwriters making return appearances at the 2010 festival include Carinda Christie, Raymond James (Molloy), and Andy “Sugarcane” Collins. The last-named’s association with Yungaburra extends right back to the festival’s infancy.

Mena Creek-born and raised Roz Pappalardo, who cut her teeth at the festival with the Women in Docs duo, will be re-united with her Wayward Gentlemen band from south east Queensland this time. Roz is currently co-starring in the musical The Impossible Dream, which is scheduled to run at Cairns’ Shangri-La Hotel until January.

ARIA Award nominees Kamerunga — a band casting glances at the thriving European festival scene — will be returning to the event where it all started for them. The Aussie folk revisionists will have the honour of leading into the closing ceremony at The Pavilion on the Sunday.

Also back again by popular demand is the gravel-voiced, piano-playing bluesman Pugsley Buzzard, whose funky New Orleans grooves and barrelhouse blues have been such a hit these past two years.

Those looking for a Latin flavour can look forward to Chilean diva Carmen Salvador, who mixes native and folkloric South American music with modern sounds and instrumentation. I Viaggiatori, led by the redoubtable Kavisha Mazzella, put the emphasis on old-time Italian folk music. Their film show in the Community Hall on the Friday night will be a highlight. Kavisha will also be performing a solo show.

Guitar buffs are well catered for, as always. Brisbane’s Alesa Lajana will be drawing on traditional music from all over the world. Bob Elliston will be performing on 6 string, 12 string and resonator guitars in an old-time finger picking style. Brisbane guitar whiz Gerard Mapstone will be playing a mixture of Spanish flamenco, gypsy jazz and classical music, with the dexterous Shenzo Gregorio, one of the country’s finest multi-instrumentalists. The McMenamins, a local brother-sister duo who are giving Angus & Julia Stone a run for their money on the national front, features Simon McMenamin’s exemplary mandolin and fiddle playing and vocal harmonies in support of his sister Fleur’s pristine vocals.

Any preview of the Yungaburra — oops, Tablelands — folk festival would be incomplete without mention of the annual bush dance. With the irrepressible Hillbilly Goats providing the calls and tunes this year, dancers will be stripping the willow and no doubt everything else within cooee!

The festival will also be hosting a characteristically wide range of skills workshops, covering areas such as songwriting, choir singing, Chilean folk music, fingerstyle guitar, flamenco guitar, drumming & percussion, comedy, theatre, fire-twirling and the music industry. Special tickets are available to attend single workshops if you don’t wish to attend the whole festival.


Leigh Dall'Osto said...

I will be there......again!! Every year since it's inception I have travelled to the Tablelands for a weekend of hugely entertaining fun and this year will be no exception. This year will be the first in my memory without any family members performing though, so that will change the focus slightly for us...I guess it means we will get to see even more new artists than previous years.

KitchenSlut said...

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet." - Juliet

Perhaps the relevance of Tony Hillier's Shakespearean quote is the fact that he felt obliged to make it at all? I wish this iconic festival success however the name change itself is quite perverse! Why?

There was a recent exchange here on Cairnsblog re toursim marketing in Queensland where the esteemed essence put in a valuable few cents on the constant changes in marketing campaigns which destroy existing brand value. Here it is again! Why?

When I think of iconic music festivals I think of Woodford and Byron Bay! There was Yungaburra and now there is .... tablelands? It could be in South Africa as much as here for all the name evokes? It sounds cheap and parochial even if it isn't?!

I imagine a comparison with a premium brand food where for some reason it is decided to just label it Home Brand because hey .... the name doesn't matter!

Yungaburra itself, whether it be book fairs, markets, folk festivals or whatever should be a premium niche in our region and promoted as such. Whoever is repoonsible for this delusional change is clearly paid too much (even if they are a volunteer)and should be taken out and shot before they do more damage!

Oh, and Tony, Juliet is lamenting that unltimately the name does matter even when it shouldn't!?

Anonymous said...

Last time I checked, the top of the Great Dividing Range was west of Yungaburra :-)