Home' The Chronicle : Canberra Chronicle 16-02-16 Contents Tuesday, February 16, 2016 - 4
Festival celebrates 50th anniversary
Black Mountain String band members Donal Baylor, Pablo Shopen, Jacqueline Bradley and Matt Nightingale
will launch the National Folk Festival at the National Library of Australia.
Photo: Elesa Kurtz
It's been 50 years since the National
Folk Festival was first held in
Canberra and its organisers have a few
special treats in store.
The festival, which will be held in
Exhibition Park over the Easter long
weekend, was official launched by the
ACT Chief Minister Andrew Barr last
Jacqueline Bradley, whose group
the Black Mountain String Band
performed at the launch, said the
festival was unlike no other as you
could easily converse with
I've been going to the folk festival
since I was five years old and I've
never missed a year since,'' she said.
I'm looking forward to sharing a
tune with some friends from out of
town and seeing the Canadian act the
Festival director Pam Merrigan said
the sense of occasion had drawn
acclaimed artists from across the globe
to make it one of the largest events in
It's a very special year for us as we
are celebrating our 50th anniversary so
we will be embracing some
performances that hark back to our
very first event,'' she said.
We have a lot of performers
coming from interstate because unlike
previous years when we focused on
one state or territory, we are featuring
More than 50,000 people attended
the festival last year and Ms Merrigan
believes this year's event is likely to
exceed that total.
She said the small team behind the
festival had worked to ensure Canberra
artists were well represented among
the 180 Australian acts.
Canberra is a fantastic place for
young and emerging artists because of
the universities and we've made sure
they will be mixing with the
international acts,'' she said.
Ms Merrigan was also confident the
festival would prove more popular that
previous years, with more than 50,000
tickets sold to the 2015 event.
We've been monitoring our ticket
sales and comparing them to previous
years and it's looking pretty positive so
far,'' she said.
The real test of course will be the
weather on the weekend which will
hopefully bring people out, but our
interstate ticket sales are tracking well
Ms Merrigan said the reputation of
the festival had grown steadily over the
past three to five years.
It was always recognised as a great
festival but I think the word has
gradually spread internationally and
now the agents for international acts
approach us saying the artists are keen
to come,'' she said.
The ACT's chief minister has lashed
out at the federal government using the
public service for pork-barrelling'',
while calling for an end to the
In a strongly worded letter to Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull, Andrew
Barr blasted job cuts at the CSIRO and
Australia's national institutions as well
as the decentralisation of three
Canberra based research
It is concerning that in the space of
a few days, our national institutions
have come under attack, government
research jobs have been ripped out of
Canberra and heads of departments are
threatening to move senior roles to
other cities,'' he said.
The letter came in reaction to
announced cuts of up to 350 jobs from
the CSIRO, while Agriculture and
Water Resources Minister Barnaby
Joyce flagged a tree change for the
Grains Research and Development
Corporation, the Rural Industries RDC
and the Fisheries Research and
Professionals Australia ACT
director David Smith accused the
deputy prime minster of complete
pork-barrelling'' by moving the
RIRDC to Wagga Wagga instead of
Staff cuts at Australia's national
institutions, including the National
Museum of Australia and National
Library, were signalled at a senate's
estimates hearing last Tuesday.
But Mr Barr said visitors to the
national institutions support jobs in
Canberra. If the Liberals drive these
visitors away because they don't value
our national institutions, they threaten
Canberra businesses,'' he said.
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