21st Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival better than ever

Festival patrons enjoying the vibrant and collaborative musical setting.

THE town of Dorrigo is buzzing after hosting the 21st Folk and Bluegrass Festival.

The three-day event featured concerts, workshops, dances, children’s events and jamming, with musicians travelling from as far as New Zealand, Canada and the US.

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The Old Time Music School, which has been going for five years, ran during the week prior, with overseas tutors and locals teaching specialised classes for banjo, fiddle, upright bass, guitar and voice.

One of the major events for the Bellingen Shire each year, Director Bridget Rees couldn’t be happier this year’s

“We had some rain which was most welcomed and everything was such a good quality such as the marquees and the performances, that nobody minded a little bit of rain,” Bridget told NOTA.

“All the venues were well filled and the acts well supported and the workshops well attended.

“People from everywhere mingled in the food court and the kids had fun in the circus tent.

“Everywhere was beautifully busy,” said Bridget.

The Festival comes highly recommended by visiting overseas bands who urge others to apply to play in Dorrigo.

“We love our musicians as they are part of our family, and a lot have come back numerous times in different band configurations,” said Bridget.

“It’s also important for the overseas artists who come here, because then they tour and their skills/instrumentation are available for more people.

“All the artists are on one level – they are here to learn from those artists who have been in the industry for a lot longer and have more skill.

“It’s just lovely to see them all intermingling,” said Bridget.

The Festival is different from many similar events in that the venue is alcohol, drug and smoke free.

“That makes a significant difference, because it allows families to feel that they can bring their kids to it and they can take them into a concert and there’s not going to be a ‘yahooer’ at the back,” Bridget said.

“Also the venues are decorated beautifully as you can never have enough bunting and that allows a creative element for the community to participate in that.”

Bridget is already beginning to plan next year’s event.

“It’s put Dorrigo on the map, we’ve got people all over the world talking about Bluegrass, talking about Dorrigo, talking about the Festival.

“There have been amazing tunes and songs written about Dorrigo which are played all over the world.

“One has just been released by a Canadian called Andrew Collins – ‘Return to Dorrigo’ – which could be a hint from him that he wants to return!” Bridget said.


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