Last year exceeded organiser’s expectations. For a relatively new event, Gold Coast Folk Festival had around 4000 people show up to its home ground at Country Paradise Parklands. “It was such a good vibe and everyone we spoke to raved about the quality of the performances,” Rob Saunders, one of the event organisers told Blank.
It was only the second time the festival had taken place at the Nerang location and Saunders said they ironed out most of the bugs.
“We have managed to create a close, intimate feel without much interference from each of the three stages,” he said. “This year the performance will be staggered a little so you can easily go from one venue to the other and not miss anything.”
He says 2015 will also see a be a bit more variety in the food stalls and markets as well as some great buskers.
“You can expect spontaneous jam sessions, particularly from the bluegrass players. We will also be running a few instrument workshops (guitar, uke, banjo), which were really popular last year,” he added.
Rob says he is particularly stoked about scoring Perch Creek on the lineup who will be visiting from Melbourne. The five-piece, originally from Mullum, have a strong local following.
“The Perchies are a favourite at all the folk festivals up and down the East coast,” Rob said. “Since moving south, they have been touring internationally and they are just about to set off to Canada.” There’s also talk of launching their new album at their Gold Coast show.
Rob also tells me that The Lamplights have been added to the bill and that interest from bands across GC and Brisbane as well as northern NSW has been strong on the back of the success of last year’s event.
“Consequently, we have some exceptionally good local acts booked, including Felicity Lawless, Kara Jack and Jills, Black Rabbit George (Tijuana Cartel), Quatro and Owl Valley Bluegrass,” Rob said. There’s also Brisbane-based Women in Docs and Ewan Mackenzie who is one of Australia’s best gypsy jazz players, and from northern NSW Mat Brooker, Thrillbilly Stomp and the Barkers Vale Brothers.
Rob is quick to add that the event has a strong focus on the folk experience.
“This festival is not your average concert in the park,” he said. “It’s up close and intimate. You get to mix with the artists. There are workshops, jam sessions and the idea is to engage the audience as well as entertain. There is something for everyone here.
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Gold Coast Folk Festival is a finalist in the 2015 GC Music Awards’ Music Event of the Year category and Rob and his wife Jackie Saunders are finalists in the Music Champion of the Year category.
Tickets at goldcoastfolkfestival.com.au. If you buy a ticket online you go in the draw to wing a new Maton S60 guitar. Get to it, folks.