Sunday, April 16, 2006

Folk Festival Roundup

I got 'the call' from Mumsy & Dadsy a lil after 10, saying they were ready for me to come over and take me to the festival - I went with them once about five years ago where I'd seen the pre-fame The Waifs and a very entertaining Rory McLeod and promised myself that I'd come back again - but usually the ticket price ($70!) and the whole Easter Weekend thing meant that I couldn't always get around to it. This weekend, however, a lack of The Hun meant I was looking for other entertainment and The Parents let me know they were headed out and invited me along.

We arrived at about 11am and left at about 9pm, and here are the events of the day (I did take my camera, but pics are far and few between, mostly due to my -1337 camera and skills):

- Arrive at the gates roun 11.30 where Dadsy says he'll pay for half of my entry fee, Mumsy says 'Just give me $10' and my production of only a fiddy means that they paid for it all!

- Pop into the Mallee to see Allez-Gator playing whilst an 'older' couple teach the general masses how to dance. Much hillarity ensues - let's jus say the majority of the ppl there do not have the best dancing co-ordination and that the awkwardness of being one of the last ppl left without a partner does not decrease with age BUT they all looked like they were having a great time.

- Walked around to see what there was to see in stalls and food and saw a bit of Pat Ryan and Ken Howard in the Budawang (the big one up the back where the CIT students were learning to do cameras and sound). They sang old folk tunes (I'm really bad with remembering the details such as WHERE they were from, but it WAS overseas and I'm thinking of England, so we'll go with that for the time being). She had a lovely warbly voice and they were both really friendly, as was the younger girl accompanying them.

- Stop past Seaman Dan in the Troubadour - an eldish looking Torres Straight Islander who was very commanding in his performance - in that he would sit and sing and command the dude on the far left 'Harmonica!' or to the guy sitting to his left 'Solo now!'. He told a story about when he was younger he was given a little pony and didn't know what to call it, so he was named My Little Pony and got a song written about him. You could tell that it was decades and decades old but it was nice - talking about his pony getting his hair brushed and whatnot. We also walked past him a lil later with his gang, so that was my claim to fame for the day.

- Dropped into the Union Concert back in the Budawang- ehm, yeah. The place was absolutely packed and was opened by Kate Lundy - making it the most political thing I've been involved in. We stuck around for the opening and then a Scotsman started to play - When he was talking to the audience he was great, but then his songs were very 'Whatever happened to 1-2-3 what are fighting for' (that's a direct quote) and he was a lot about how people used to want to make a difference, but now they're just factcats working for the man... it wouldn't have been as bad, except that his style of accompanying himself was a little confusing - the guitar didn't seem to match the music in any way and would be in an odd timing - it was like his playing and singing were completely different - we left after the third song.

- Walked past these ppl on the way to get something to eat:

At first, I thought they were men, a la Little Britain, but they weren't. IN FACT I saw them in the Sunday Times the nex morning and they are one of the performers for the day. The paper was talking them up, but all they did was walk towards the lentil burger place and repeatedly sing 'Won't you take me to Folky tone?' which got a bit annoying. I liked it better when I thought they were men...

- Had a Kransky and those little Dutch pancakes for lunch! Yummo!

- Saw some Morris Dancers (I'm still not sure what they're all about except that Blackadder doesn't really like them...):

- Tried to get a cheeky photo of this young man - you can see he's not THAT impressed about it. My plan of waiting until the crowds parted to get a clear shot wasn't that succesful in that obviously he would see me once the crowds parted:
I just wanted to get the pic to show you how I would play guitar (yeah, yeah, I know he's a slide guitarist with CD's and all, but I like to know that if my career doesn't quite cut if for me, there's a place I can go to make some music my way!).

- Saw Bluegrass Parkway in the Fitzroy (near the what's in the tent? tent where you can pay $2 to go in and find out...) - this was one of the two acts the parents most wanted to see. It was four men and a woman who would dress old styles and sing around one mic, playing guitars and a big bass. They also brought out a woman who specialised in 'dancing the boards' and came out in an old dress and did some board dancing to a song a two. Dadsy pointed out that this must be a very niche market - waking up one day and deciding to specialise in dressing up old and tippy-tappying on some wood. They also brought out a young lad playing the mandolin named David Long - he was a bit of awright. They were pretty good, I guess I don't really know enough about the style to fully appreciate it. BUT they did also have a groupie - a lady who jumped up and writhed around in front of them for a while.

- Caught the end of Les Smokin' Gitanes in the Troubadour - a kinda faux gypsy troupe who were actually quite good and entertaining! I'd like to see a full set of theirs nex time.

- The parents settled in with a bottle of wine and some dips and I went back to one of the Op Shoppy stalls and bought a work coat:
My first Op-Shop purchase - $30 from $35 and frilly pocket details. It has blacks, grey and browns in it, so I can wear it with my recently purchased fav shoes. I was initially after a tweed cape thing - jus as long as the coat with little slits for your hands to poke out of, but my man shoulders made it look terrible. Pretty dissapointing as I liked the pattern on the cape better, but this one will do fine, I'm sure.

- Stayed on the Troubadour for the next session and saw K'crasher - at first we were a little unsure - she was warming up with Monty Python's Philosophers song and it seemed a little tryhardish BUT when she got into it she was really good with her fair share of bad luck - she's a blind lady whose father was murdered (still unsolved) when she was nine. She had a really poignant voice and you could really feel it when she sung, so glad we got to see her.

- We stayed on at the Troubadour again to catch David Ross Macdonald - normally a percussionist/drummer, but doing the acoustic singer/songwriter thing a go. Again, we weren't sure after the warmup (Queen's 'I want to break free') but once he got into it, he was really good as well - he had a really touching song about his grandfathers walking stick and given the recent grandparent with a walking stick thing, it was really nice and could be properly appreciated.

- We were starting to get FREEZING but stayed on to catch a bit of Zhiva Voda in Troubadour, but I just can't say I really get Bulgarian music, and so we headed out for a bit...

- To buy ear hats! Dadsy kept going on about how 'It's one of those things that seems like a good idea at the time when everyone's doing it, but after this weekend you'll never wear it again...' but I'll be wearing mine again:
(That's it on the couch btw) - it was knitted by a real Nanna and it kept my head and ears nice and warm!

- Got some of that Lebanese Naan type bread with Spinach and Cheese in the middle - Frickin delicious!!!

- Headed out of the cold and into the Budawang to see The Wailin' Jennys. We were sitting there for like ten minutes while the Canadians fiddle-fart-arsed about on the stage, bitching and pouting at the sound dudes and gesticulating wildly for things to be fixed - they seemed sooo pretentious, so when they started I wanted to not like them - it only half worked. They would've been my fav performance there - three singer-songwrites that grouped together - they are all really talented and have amazing voices, it was really beautiful. IF ONLY THEY HADN'T PUT ME OFF WITH THEIR PRE-PERFORMANCE ANTICS! If they're back next year, they're a must see.

- Unfortch, we had to pop out after four or five songs to get into the Fitzroy for a good seat for Jigzag - The Parents other must see. A three piece with a bonus fourth piece, they're high energy and really draw you in. Pretty folky and apparantly started as a youth church group, they have a lot of passion and the main lady has a beautiful joyous voice. Def a must see - they finished with a great big jam of that surfy-track from the Pulp Fiction soundtrack - I know you know what I'm talking about!

- We stopped back past Allez-gator in The Mallee on our way out, and caught a portion of the find of the night - a gang of five youths - four girls and a guy playing the guitar and singing (in a rather nice operatic tone!) 'Blood is thicker and better than wine - Sodomy is not just for animals, human flesh is not just for cannibals - la la la la la la la la laaaaaaaaaa'. Odd.


Summary: If you can, go! It's a good laid-back day with an atmosphere you won't find elsewhere in Canberra - the price keeps the skanks and hooligans out and everyone's just chillin out. Greeash.


Erica said...

Right near my TAFE, there is a Lebanese bakery. They sell those spinich and cheese pies, as well as Lebanese pizza ridiculously cheap. It is my favourite food place in the whole wide world. If you ever come to Melbourne I will take you there!

Enny said...

Roight - I'm there!!!