Good Folk in Queanbeyan replaces the National Folk Festival in 2021 | The Canberra Times

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Queanbeyan has swooped on an opportunity to host a scaled-down Folk Festival after organisers were forced to cancel the usual Canberra event for the second year in a row. National Folk Festival organisers have partnered with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Council to lock in a “concert series” of 22 different events across two days and three different venues in April. The Folk Festival, which began in 1967, was cancelled last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Organisers decided to cancel the 2021 event as well. Festival managing director Helen Roben said the replacement event was not a festival but a “concert series where we will have 22 concerts in two days across three different venues”. Each concert will be individually ticketed. She said the concerts, which will be presented in line with COVID-19 safety measures, “really do cover a broad range of folk – it’s folk for all ages”. The headline act will be 2021 Golden Guitar Awards Female Artist of the Year country-folk artist Fanny Lumsden. Roben said, “There are old time Folk Festival favourites like Scroggin, Den Hanrahan and the Rum Runners and Mikelangelo and the Black Sea Gentlemen.” Also performing will be emerging folk artist Timothy James Bowen. “He was a finalist on The Voice last year.” Canberra folk-pop-blues artist Kim Yang will perform as a soloist and with her trio and Queanbeyan rap poet Omar Musa will also be featured. While rap poetry might seem incongruous in a folk festival, Roben said, “Folk is about quality storytelling. Rap is Omar’s medium – he’s still telling stories.” These and other artists will be performing at the Queanbeyan Performing Arts Centre, the Royal Hotel and the Queanbeyan Bicentennial Hall, within walking distance of each other. In addition, there will be a free two-day session venue held at Queanbeyan social club Campbell & George which is open to any performer. “Folk musicians get to play folk tunes – they could be first-timers or old-timers.” Roben said that although times have been tough for the festival, “We’ve been very fortunate in terms of government support with JobKeeper.” Over the past couple of months she and others worked with the Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council to create Good Folk, providing work and income for artists as well as sound and lighting designers, among others. The festival’s 2021 focus was to foster and support regional talent, reinvigorate community engagement and celebrate folk music and musical expression. However, there was also the pleasure of experiencing live performance. “We’re hoping to have some fun.” Good Folk is on at multiple venues in Queanbeyan on April 3 and 4, 2021. Tickets will be on sale from 12pm on Friday. nationalfolkfestival.com.au.

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