Newport Folk Festival
Winter is a popular time for festivals in Australia. In my neck of the woods there is a literary festival and a folk festival within two weeks of each other and being an author and a storyteller, I have been known to stick my nose into both. Community means a lot to me; it’s my where I find my strength and support; it’s where I test my ideas; it’s where I go when I feel broken and where I connect and collude with others who who have ideas and are sprouting flight feathers.
However it was the Newport Folk Festival that stretched my energies this year with singing (I’m a rather squeaky soprano in the Newport Community Choir), a children’s storytime with my friend Dharma, the pop-up Flock OZ, a show with Sarah, and I help organise and tell stories around the fire for the Saturday evening.
I’ll let the pictures do the talking but first...
To begin - Dharma’s family have been in the the book trade for decades; her dad co-foundered Readings, Melbourne’s premiere independent book store. Currently they have a business called JP Books. Although specialising in educational books, the front of the business is a gorgeous shop for children. Everlasting Books is an Alladin’s cave of titles for the very young through to young adult. For 10 years Dharma has hosted regular storytimes at Everlasting Books and as a result, she has the deepest and richest repertoire of stories and songs of anyone, anywhere! And we have a ball together every year at the Folk Festival.
For more years than I have fingers, I have, with the help of others, organised a storyteling evening in the old Newport Scout Hall, a retro gem that we all hope will live on forever. Draughty and probably leaky, it has a charm all of its own. A team of us, bake cakes, cook soup, light candles, stoke the fire and welcome festival goers to the hearth.
As well as all the storytelling and singing, the festival was happy for me to install the pop-up Flock OZ and prattle on about migratory shore birds and the importance of the local wetlands. A festival is the perfect place to engage community in this way.
So that’s Newport. Next festival is the Hamilton Woolly West Fest. Now this one is a hoot!