The pulse of the town is quickening as Dorrigo prepares for the 18th Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival over the weekend of the 25th-27th October. Each year local, national and international acts descend on the town to strut their stuff, bringing this small hamlet to life. And this year promises to be the biggest yet. More than 50+ acts, including internationally acclaimed artists, will be drawn to this major event on the world’s ‘folk and bluegrass’ calendar.
International Headline Acts
International headline acts are a plenty this year. US National Mandolin Champion Jacob Jolliff and his band (pictured above) are a traditional bluegrass ensemble instrumentation-wise, but call on a huge number of outside influences to create a unique take on roots music.
American singer-songwriter and fiddler Rachel Baiman will be wooing the crowd with heart-felt tracks from her soon to be released EP ‘Thanksgiving’. The songs center around themes of Indigenous Rights, home and homelessness, and love in hard times.
The Andrew Collins Trio are at the epicentre of Canada’s acoustic/roots music scene. The trio showcase a dizzying number of styles and instruments on stage.
The American-based Missy Raines Trio is also a must-see act. Missy Raines is a bassist, singer, teacher, and songwriter. She has won seven International Bluegrass Music Awards for Bass Player of the Year.
Scottish duo The Jellyman’s Daughter have uniquely intertwined bluegrass, post-rock, folk and soul. They are renowned for mixing their unique vocal harmonies with wild and visceral cello, driving guitar and sweet mandolin.
Closer to home
Australia’s Monique Clare is an award-winning cellist and singer-songwriter. Monique is able to dance between intricate, rhythmic cello lines, compelling lyrics and heart-tugging harmonies. She will be joined by American fiddler Joe D’Esposito (The Railsplitters) in a mesmerising collaboration that draws on their diverse influences.
The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival has earned the reputation of inclusiveness. Each year they collaborate with local schools, creatives, environmentalists and businesses to provide so much more than just a weekend of very fine music. Local visual art community groups and the Dorrigo schools have produced artworks which will be displayed in multiple venues over the Festival weekend. Festival organisers facilitate musicians to give workshops for school age students, who are then provided the opportunity to perform at the festival.
The Festival has strived to be as environmentally friendly as possible. Single-use plastic water bottles, straws and aluminium cans are no longer available for sale. Food and drink stalls are encouraged to sell home-made lemonades and cordials in place of sweet drinks once sold in cans. The Festival also sells re-usable stainless-steel drink bottles from Cheeki. And a ‘Keep Cup’ board ensures all hot drinks are served in real coffee mugs.
This environmental consciousness is being taken one step further for 2019. This year the Festival is collaborating with the Dorrigo Landcare Group, Dandarrga Landcare. Landcare will be taking all biodegradable containers and cups and all food scraps created by the Festival and producing compost and mulch heaps, which they’ll then use to help feed their plants. While during the Festival, Landcare are running a workshop for the young ones where they’ll have the opportunity to transplant a native Dorrigo tree into a biodegradable cup, which they can take home and plant in their own garden/space.
Don’t miss the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival 2019
The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival can stand proud. The team of volunteers work year-round to bring their audiences the very best of traditional, contemporary and acoustic music. This much-cherished, family-friendly event is staged at the Dorrigo Showgrounds on Gumbaynggirr Country, a 5 minute drive from the Dorrigo National Park and Rainforest Centre at the top of the mountain.
For tickets Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival
“We find joy in seeing festival audiences and musicians connecting, jamming and enjoying what we can so happily and humbly provide. To us, the Festival is all about that connection and the celebration of it,” says Bridget Rees Festival Organiser. Well done!