This year’s National Folk Festival celebrates 30 years of the event taking place in Ngunnawal Country in Canberra, and it’s shaping up to be a phenomenal occasion.
In her first year as Artistic Director, Katie Noonan is thrilled the festival can take place and celebrate this incredible milestone.
For it to have lasted and grown so long (the festival began life as the Port Phillip District Folk Music Festival in Melbourne on February 11 and 12, 1967), the Folk Festival has, and still has, an incredible meaning and distinct from the community. .
“It’s community run, it’s completely independent – not a central government funded entity – it’s really a reflection of its people and its times, that’s what folk music is all about,” Katie said.
“To have a cohort of people come together in Melbourne in 1967 and write a constitution and start a festival and we’re still here 55 years later is an amazing show of community.”
Dive deeper into the 2022 National Folklore Festival lineup.
Particularly reunited after the past two years, surviving the tumultuous upheaval in the music industry (not to mention the community as a whole), there are plenty of reasons to celebrate.
“We’re all desperately missing that sense of community that only a festival can really provide, where you find your home, find your family, find your people,” Katie says.
“It’s at this big pilgrimage gathering that you do this. You see your friends that you maybe only see at the National each, they’re part of your big family of music makers, storytellers and in love with all things folkloric.”
Australian musical royalty, to say the least, is on the program this year. Uncle Archie Roach for one, and all the more significant as this will be his last gig on Ngunnawal Country.
“We are thrilled and honored to be the chosen space for him to perform his final concert in our nation’s capital,” Katie said, “which I think is fitting because it is the only capital that is in the First Nations language – Canberra, an Ngunnawal word meaning “meeting place”.
“I really wanted to signify our history – we started in 1967 and, as most people know, that was the year Australians voted in the referendum in Parliament to recognize our First Nations families. I wanted to signify by opening and closing the festival with First Nations royalties.
“Our opening concert is ‘Let Love Rule’, to the theme of the song of the same name by Uncle Archie, then we end with Uncle Sammy Butcher, with his son and daughter, from the legendary Warumpi Band.
“Then we raise the roof with Yothu Yindi singing for a treaty on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of this song on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of the festival [on Ngunnawal Country].
“There are a lot of beautiful synergy points that feel really special.”
With so much color and joy (you can hear it in Katie’s voice) in operation at this year’s event, it’s easy to predict the operation of the National Folk Festival over the next 30 years.
“I think the Festival is at an interesting stage where a lot of people who were there at the start are no longer with us,” says Katie, “and so part of my job is to really awaken and inspire young people to embrace the ideals of this festival.
“We have a lot of young artists playing, a point of difference, maybe. And really [we’re] wanting to enlarge the people’s church.
“I would say the festival has a pretty strong Anglo-Celtic slant in its early days because that was the more traditional definition of what is for colonial Australia – but today’s Australia is very different from Australia 1967.
“We’re a great multicultural experience that went well. We have a huge multicultural community to reflect, and that’s, I think, an important step in thinking about the future. That the festival reflects the Australia of today.
“The other main priority is to engage with the Ngunnawal elders, to work with them on the language and to make sure that there is a space for the young people to learn from these incredible elders, to learn from their wisdom, knowledge and grace.”
The National Folk Festival takes place at the Canberra Exhibition Center from April 14-18.
Programming of the National Folklore Festival 2022
40 degrees south
All of our exes live in Texas
All strings tied
Andrea Kirwin and the Yama-Nui Social Club
Australian Morris ring
Bangladeshi folk group
Great English session
big sky mountain
Joak Morris black dancers
black mountain rope
BMC Youth Bush Band
Bush Capital Strip
Bush Music Club Inc.
Bush Traditions Settler Music Sessions
Cabbage Tree Hats – a story
Canberra Contra Club
Canberra Shanty Club
Cape Byron Celtic Dance
Capital Tea Dueling Society
Cath Russell Children’s Music / How Many Homes
Celtic Pipe Club
Chloe and Jason Roweth
Couple tea dance with dented short pots
Dancers Without Borders
Divide the range dancers
eagle and wolf
Easter morning church service
Emma Donovan and the Putbacks
Fabulous fan dancers
Trio of Fagans
Bush Festival Orchestra
Launch of Australia’s first songbook for women
Canberra Flamenco Center
Folk Alliance Australia
Canberra folk dance
Gabrielle Journey Jones
Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse
Global Mosaic – A Global Showcase of Fusion Dance
Green Mohair Suits
Hermits of the Haystack Mountains
High Ace – Jeff Lang and Alison Ferrier
Irish Joe Lynch
Jim and Ingrid Rehle-Williams
Keith Wood and Pastrami on Ryebuck
Australian-Hungarian folk ensemble Kengugro
Music Kim Yang
Kristabelle and the Southern Jubilee Ringers
KUD Razigrana Makedonka
Lior & Domini – Hidden animal
Lucy Wise and Stephen Taberner
Luke Plumb and Khalida de Ridder
Mal Webb and Kylie Morrigan
Mally Moo Music 4 Minis
Maypole with Molly
Melbourne Colonial Dancers – Introduction to Australian Bush Dancing
Melbourne Songwriters Collective
Trio by Miriam Lieberman
Moir & Co.
Moonlight Jug Band
Old Time Tea Dance, led by Norm Ellis of Traditional Social Dancing
Paved bush strip
Penelope Swales and Stranded Assets
The Pico Puppet Palace
PNG Peroveta Canberra Singers
Queenie van de Zandt
Riley Lee and Cliona Molins
River Suite Orchestra
Roger Holmes and his beautiful assistants
Ruth Hazleton (with Luke Plumb and Fiona Steele)
Sarah and Silas
Together in their ways
Shake the choir from the tree
Shiny Bum Singers
Solid State Circus
Australian tradition songs
American Civil War Songs
Strange Time Chorus
String Violin with Kira Dowling
Surly Griffin Morris
Sydney English Country Dancers
The light of dawn
the funky fairy
The Good Girl Song Project
The Hauptmann Trio
The Heritage Ball, with the Victorian Heritage Dance Band
The Maggie Carty Group
The Mountain Dew Group
The frightening choir of men
The vegetable garden
The Water Runners
TSDAV Dance Composers Competition
Death Squad Ukulele
Uncle Archie Roach
Chorus of unexpected harmony
URoC the Ukulele Republic of Canberra
Circus Workshops Warehouse
Welcome Dance, with Melbourne Colonial Dancers
Well Hall English dancers
With One Voice Australia
Woodford Festival of Small Halls: featuring Jack Carty and Charm of Finches
Yan and Emily
Zulya and the children of the metro