No sign of slowing down as 'the national' turns 45
Australia's National Folk Festival turns 45 this year - but far from slowing down, this popular event is celebrating the prime of its life with exciting new venues, dynamic young performers and a renewed focus on education and participation.
Managing Director Sebastian Flynn said the milestone birthday provides an opportunity to reflect upon past achievements, but more importantly, to consolidate the National Folk Festival's future direction of driving cultural participation and education.
"In much the same way as people gain a clearer sense of self as they mature, the Festival also - on reaching 'a certain age' - has developed a strong sense of its identity," said Mr Flynn.
"The National plays an important role in celebrating both the Australian culture and character, as well as encouraging participation in more diverse cultural pursuits that extend our own natural creativity," he said.
"Our theme this year is 'Explore your own folklore' and it's about encouraging people to discover and do, rather than just watch - to be a participant in these cultural pursuits, not just a spectator,
"So you can come to watch some of the finest performers in the world to inspire you, but you can also take part in an informal session, sign up for any one of a huge range of workshops and classes, visit market stalls, see displays , films and forums, and much more," said Mr Flynn.
"It's about finding a way to tell your own unique story," he said.
"We're really issuing a call to all Australians, of whatever original cultural background, to find their own form of human expression - whether in music, song, dance, spoken word, film, art or craft," said Mr Flynn.
The National Folk Festival is the longest-running event of its kind in Australia, and one of the most successful since receiving the 2009 Qantas Australian Tourism Award in the Festivals and Events category.
With almost 200 different acts, over 90 market stalls and more than 50 solid hours of entertainment across more than 23 venues, it's no wonder the Festival attracts over 55,000 loyal patrons each year (60% of which come from interstate and overseas).
New this year are a number of cleverly themed bars and venues including the The Bellissimo for continental fare and European music, The Scrumpy with the atmosphere of an English pub, Busk Stops for impromptu performance by younger artists, and The Bohemia Bar for world music and boutique beers.
These join established favourites including the iconic Sessions Bar, Stockman's Camp, The Majestic Festival Fringe venue and the dedicated Children's and Family Festival where you'll find balloon artists, puppet shows and the Kids Kafe.
The inaugural ANZAC Day concert, 'For The Fallen' will be held this year to follow the Dawn Service at the Australian War Memorial on Easter Monday/ANZAC Day, Monday 25 April; while
An historic Irish music concert called 'Sinners, Saints and Settlers' will also be held to celebrate the National Museum of Australia's 2011 exhibition 'The Irish in Australia'.
A limited number of tickets to the National Folk Festival are on sale now at substantially discounted 'early-bird' prices, but these are only available until 28 February unless sold out prior.
For more information visit www.folkfestival.asn.au