2019 Performers


19-Twenty have been whipping up a frenzy on the festival scene. They are electric – an infectious riff and groove-based blue-billy-grass-rockin'-roots band. The 19-Twenty lads have been performing their high energy sonic party nationally, headlining sell-out shows and festivals in all states and territories.

Amazing Drumming Monkeys

The Amazing Drumming Monkeys have been wowing audiences around Australia and overseas for the past 14 years! Their show combines a unique blend of puppetry, live drumming grooves, comedy, and heartwarming themes, to deliver a fun filled interactive show for the whole family. The show has cute and funny monkeys for the kids, great drumming for the adults, variety segments for all ages, and a message for the world.

Andrew Galan

Andrew Galan is an internationally published poet and co-producer of Canberra-based poetry slam BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! at Smith's Alternative. Known for his gutsy and satirical writing style, Galan’s latest work, For All the Veronicas (The Dog Who Staid), won the 2017 ACT Writing and Publishing Award for its conversational tone, disrupted rhythms and clear influence from performance poetry. He has featured at Red Dirt and Queensland Poetry festivals, Chicago’s Uptown Poetry Slam and Woodford.


BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! IS YOUR POETRY SLAM IN THE NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVAL! And we want you on stage to perform, in the audience to yell and cheer and in the audience as one of five judges! Be there for THE BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! CANBERRA NATIONAL ANTHEM! FOR THE BAD!SLAM!NO!BISCUIT! CANBERRA NATIONAL MASCOT! Be there for the first prizes and the ducks! For The Master of Conflict! The Sacrificial Poet! and most of all BE THERE FOR THE POETRY!

Ballpoint Penguins

The Penguins are going out with a splash and this will be your last chance to join the colony at the National before they become extinct. Marking the start of their 12 month farewell tour these festival favourites will show you why they are the best a cappella comic trio in the country with well crafted lyrics, soaring harmonies and a keen eye for the absurd. Catch them while they're still 'tinct.

Black Mountain String Band

The Black Mountain String Band is a celebration of string band music in all its forms. They combine multiple fiddles and banjos along with guitar and double bass to draw from the well of tradition while adding timeless original material. They cleverly arrange their material in a seamless presentation that will delight aficionados and new audiences alike. The band is Donal Baylor, Jacqueline Bradley, Matt Nightingale and Pablo Shopen.

Bluegrass Parkway

'Truly authentic' is the first idea that springs to mind when people see this incredibly experienced band strut their stuff. Bluegrass Parkway always has a great time on stage, leaving their audiences singing and laughing. Their single mic approach to traditional bluegrass is always a must-see ant any festival!

Brothers OnFire

From a scarily young age the Holden boys have been playing with fire. From their home in Candelo in the Bega Valley, Jesse and Sammy have honed their skills in the circus arts to form Brothers OnFire. Their unique style weaves circus skills into street theatre and will appeal to all ages with its light-hearted exploration of the issues of their generation. It's a hot act!

Candice McLeod

After six years on the road, Candice McLeod still maintains no fixed address. Once described as ‘Australian Soul’ listeners can expect raw, power-driven vocals with soulful folk undertones. Her debut album, 'Travellin’ Shoes', was launched in Alice Springs in October 2017, followed by a 6-month independent album tour from the NT to Tasmania’s Cygnet Folk Festival and back again.

Darol Anger and the Republic of Strings (USA)

The Republic of Strings recruits a new generation of brilliant players along with acknowledged masters for a survey of the international string scene. Darol Anger’s unique vision comes into full play with densely orchestrated arrangements of music from around the world along with new originals. Fiddler, composer, producer and educator, Darol Anger is at home in a number of musical genres, some of which he helped to invent.

David Hallett

Nimbin's award-winning poet olympian David Hallett has performed since the 1970s in outback schools and festivals, from the Sydney Opera House to the beat cafes of New York. His entertaining carousel of traditional and original poems jumps from page to stage, from the satiric to the comedic to lively social commentary on politics, the environment, love, shopping and our maddening digital world.

Dead Maggies, The

From folk clubs of Scotland, to punk warehouses of Indonesia, and the Australian festival circuit (Falls, Spiegeltent, Port Fairy, National Folk Festival). The Dead Maggies (Hobart) have been spreading tales of Van Dieman’s Land’s dark and oppressive history, in the form of lively folk-punk music.

Dorsal Finns, The

Dusting snow off their shoulders from a recent visit to Sweden, this trio of fiddle/nyckelharpa/cello plays traditional Scandinavian dance music fit for trolls and Nordic gods.

East Row Rabble

East Row Rabble delivers a slick mix of funk, blues, soul and reggae with upbeat party horn lines that will get your feet shuffling and your booty shaking. Addressing a mixture of world issues and daily curiosities, front man Ben Drysdale’s songs explore the many varied and often conflicting elements of any situation with honesty, hope and a little cheekiness.

Exciting! Mcgillicuddies, The

The Exciting! Mcgillicuddies is Australian music with a Celtic beat at its best! Lead by Mick Slocum, the charismatic former member of the legendary Bushwhackers and supported by master guitarist, songwriter and vocalist Damian Peck, in early 2018 the band expanded to include the delectable singer/songwriter/violinist Renee Bufton and internationally recognised saxophonist Paul Van Ross. It is a band of spirited, experienced musical Australians – the perfect combination that ensures a good time is had by all!

Freya Josephine Hollick

Freya Josephine Hollick, is the 'old world' country songbird from the Victorian goldfields. She sings of lowdown and dirties of high times and golden mansions and the bursting and the burning of the heart. With a voice that floats between Maybelle Carter, Dolly Parton and Skip James she has performed at Nannup, Boogie, Gumball, Broadbeach Country Music Festival, Gympie Muster, Queenscliff Music Festival, Kyneton Music Festival, Out on the Weekend and the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival.


Gawurra Gaykamangu is a Yolngu performing artist hailing from Milingimbi (Yurrwi) North East Arnhem Land. Gawurra won the NT Song of the Year in the Pop category four NIMA Awards and received national recognition throughout the music industry and mainstream media including ARIA nomination and 4.5-star review in Rolling Stone magazine. Gawurra has established himself as a 'must see' live act gathering a mainstream following and captivating his audiences.

Geoffrey W Graham

Geoffrey is a raconteur and theatrical communicator. He has a real knack for weaving music, verse and theatre into emotional performances. He is originally from the bush – and, as they say "you can take the man out of the bush but..." People will attest that Geoffrey is full of it.

Green Mohair Suits

A quartet of expressive songwriters who take their four-part harmonies as seriously as they take their good times, Green Mohair Suits hold a reputation for inspired showmanship and performances as brash as they are emotive. Occupying a musical landscape somewhere between Hank Williams and The Flying Burrito Brothers, Green Mohair Suits bask in the glow of 'Garage Grass'. Fans should expect happy-sad songs or sad-happy songs in a harmonious blur of delight.


Loosen your suspenders, tighten your shoelaces and get ready to flap your extremities. Greška is a five-piece neo-gypsy/klezmer ensemble not unlike a chipotle and cocaine kebab: you’re not sure where it’s from, but it sure knocks you off your tits. A torn canvas of Romanian gypsy dons a filthy smear of western metal, jazz-funk and classical-arrangement.

Guyy & the Fox

Soaring violin, epic instrumentals and powerful performances are the foundations of the award winning act – Guyy & the Fox. The duo is known for their exhilarating and mesmerising show and this year the duo adds a third dimension to their act – Taiko drummer Harry Cramer brings with him the sound of Japanese war drums and a third beating heart to Guyy & the Fox.

Homelands Tour, The (CAN/AUS)

"People of the land connecting through music across oceans". The Homelands Tour follows the night sky, journeying along plains, down rivers and across oceans bringing established and young First Nations artists together on their Homelands and out onto the main stages at Festivals around the world. Featuring songwriters-in-the-round and a genre-fused and campfire-fuelled finale with Glenn Skuthorpe (Aus), Thelma Cheechoo, Vern Cheechoo (Can) and the entire touring party.

Irish Joe Lynch

Joe is the ultimate raconteur, with a direct connection to that rare and beautiful ancient Celtic art. You will laugh out loud one moment and journey away on a dream the next. A mesmerizing show not to be missed.

Irish Mythen (Can)

Irish is a true entertainer who is known for her gripping live performances. She is the storyteller who will grasp your attention and who will bring you on an incredible and emotional journey – as well as the comedian with a joie de vivre who’ll have you laughing from the very beginning until long after she’s left the bandstand.

Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky

Bridging music, story and theatre, Jan is a consummate performer of Australian song and story – original and traditional. With an impressive list of credits dating back to co-founding The Bushwackers in 1971, Jan's shows are an alternative take on our national story, especially on black-white history. Playing claw-hammer style 5-string banjo, harmonica, bodhran, spoons and rhythm bones, his quirky, humorous and poignant performances are invariably strung together with a great yarn (pun intended).

Jason Roweth

A natural storyteller, with a warm, engaging stage presence, Jason presents a vibrant combination of new and old Australian traditional songs, poems, yarns, and observations. With his poetry repertoire drawn from the great Australian writers – Henry Lawson, Banjo Paterson, Denis Kevans, John Dengate and others, Jason will take you on a journey, make you laugh, and make you really think.


Vagabond Jimmy Bay has been travelling Australia for the past four years in a beat-up Kombi. In that time this multi-instrumentalist originally hailing from outback South Australia has captured audiences far and wide with his storytelling style and mesmerising live performances using guitar, harmonica and his suitcase kick-drum.

Kim Yang

Kim is an acoustic songstress with a soothing ethereal voice that captures the attention of passers by. Born in Taiwan, Kim started her Australian music journey in 2016 with a ukulele and a guitar in the streets and cafes of Canberra. Joined by guitarist Steve Smith, Kim performs original songs speaking from her lived experiences as a daughter, a traveller, a partner, a friend and an insecure soul with mixed genres of folk, pop, blues and jazz.

Lucy Wise

Lucy Wise grew up in WA, performing in the Wise Family Band until she moved to Melbourne in 2009. She has since delighted audiences across Australia, NZ, USA and the UK with her soulful voice, and intricate ukulele, guitar and Appalachian dulcimer playing. Joined by Dan Witton (double bass) and Mischa Herman (accordion), Lucy will be performing songs about love, joy and sadness, friendship and the relationships people form with their environment.

Luke Plumb & Kate Burke

Masters of their craft, Luke Plumb (Shooglenifty, Andy Irvine) and Kate Burke (Trouble in the Kitchen, w/ Ruth Hazleton) combine their formidable instrumental and vocal skill with world class experience in traditional music arrangement to create a new traditional sound.

Maggie Somerville

Maggie Somerville has been writing songs and tunes for several decades. She has released two albums of original material, 'Roller-Coaster' in 2013 and 'Baloney' in 2018. In 2015, she released a joint album with Stephen Whiteside, 'The Two Bees', a collection of poems by C. J. Dennis, some of which Maggie set to music. She has also set a number of Mary Gilmore and John Shaw Neilson poems to music, which she plans to record.

Mànran (Scot)

Tagged as 'Celtic-rock', Mànran’s music has an eclectic mix of influences with a central ethos built around the band’s traditional Celtic roots. Fiery tunes from fiddle, accordion, flute, uillean and Highland bagpipes bind powerfully to a rhythm section awash with elements of funk, jazz and rock to create some of the most innovative and uplifting instrumental music around. Songs in both Gaelic and English undergo the same musical mixology.

Marios Papadeas Ensemble, The (GRC/Aus)

Mario was born in Athens and from the tender age of four he began his musical studies. He has become one of the undeniable mastours of the Santouri with a vast repertoire delving into Smyrneika early rembetika and nisiotika. He has appeared on multiple TV programs and performed at festivals in Australia, Paris, London, Vienna, Switzerland and Iran – to name a few. He is joined by local musicians Pascal Latra (Habibis Vox), Paddy Montgomery and Byron.

Martin Pearson

Martin is synonymous with a small, cliff-nesting bird but not a tree-weasel. He will continue to stubbornly call himself a Folkie, and will crash-tackle anyone who refers to him as 'eclectic'.

Megan Roweth

Megan began performing poetry when she was just six years old, and has loved doing so ever since. Now, aged 11, she has won multiple awards for her reciting, and recorded her first album of poetry. "Megan Roweth’s delivery of this collection of classic Australian poetry is brimming with wit and a depth of perception beyond her years." – Kim Kelly, Writer

Mr Beep and Ellie

Daryl Peebles (aka Mr Beep) is a playwright, poet, comedian, magician, ventriloquist, speaker and MC. Daryl regularly appears at events, festivals, conferences and conventions engaging audiences of all ages with his silly songs, stories and banter. Especially for the younger set, Daryl morphs into Mr Beep and, with his partner Ellie, presents a fun-filled show of magic, ventriloquism, music and madness. Ideal for children aged from four to ten.

Nancy Kerr & James Fagan (UK)

Outstanding UK-based partnership Nancy Kerr and James Fagan return as a duo, the format on which they built their career. Breath-taking instrumentation support two of the finest folk voices of a generation. Nancy (BBC Folk Singer of the Year 2015) has become best known as a poetic and hardhitting songwriter. Canberra-born James is a world-renowned bouzouki player. Together they are in their element and will launch their first ever live album at the National.

Penny Davies & Roger Ilott

After almost 40 years of writing playing recording and singing together Penny Davies & Roger Ilott create the kind of seamless musical persona as a duo that only a long and loving musical relationship can. Their evocative versions of Queensland poet Bill Scott's songs are classics of the genre.

Potpourri of Poetry

Occasionally poets of varying species leave their tribes and come together to perform in their differing poetic styles. Come and hear this collection of poets together in peaceful coexistence.

Praashekh Quartet

Born in Pune, India, young sarod master Praashekh Borkar is regarded as one of India’s leading younger generation musicians. An outstanding sarod player and inventor of his own customised e-sarod, Praashekh hails form a sarod playing dynasty. In this quartet, Praashekh is joined by electrifying young tabla whiz, Sivakumar Balakrishnan, precociously talented Balinese bassist and recent jazz course graduate, Wayan Dana, and multi-reedman Mark Cain, a longtime leading figure in Western Australian world music.

Rhymer from Ryde, The

The Rhymer from Ryde lives for the stage and the 'adrenaline rush' that performing brings. Graeme's extensive repertoire of original, contemporary and traditional bush verse will entertain any audience regardless of their age and ensure they leave the venue with a smile of satisfaction on their face.

Riccardo Tesi & Banditaliana (Italy)

Banditaliana is one of the most renowned Italian groups on the world music international scene offering a magical fusion of Tuscan traditional forms and rites jazz nuances, along with songs of fresh sunny music with a Mediterranean scent and no boundaries. Original compositions, instrumental virtuosity, precious rhythmical joints and refined arrangements are the key stylistic features of the group founded in 1992 by the composer and diatonic accordion player, Riccardo Tesi.

Roguery and Brooke Friendly (USA)

Roguery is Dave Bartley (plucky strings), Jim Oakden (keyboard strings winds) and Shira Kammen (bowed strings, voice), together with Brooke Friendly (dance caller and choreographer). They have wowed and entertained dancers and audiences at festivals and dance events throughout the US and in Great Britain. Individually they have appeared on over 150 CDs, including six as a band. Shira is highly respected in international early music circles, and Brooke has published five books of original dances.

Rory McLeod (UK)

Rory is a one-man soulband, poet and storyteller, singing his own unique upbeat dance stories. He is a modern travelling troubadour using tap shoes, a cappella, harmonica, guitar, trombone, spoons, finger cymbals, bandorea, djembe and various percussion instruments! "McLeod is one of the most energetic, most generous performers I've seen." – Doug Spencer, ABC Radio.

Salmiakki Pelimannit

Salmiakki Pelimannit (Finnish for the Salty Licquorice Folk Musicians) has been performing the music of the Nordic countries for over 20 years. They have performed with Finnish, Swedish, Danish and Estonian dance groups and at festivals in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Australia. Over the years they have introduced many Australian musicians to the beautiful music of the Scandinavian countries.

Sandra Renew

Sandra's poetry includes a range of critique and commentary on issues such war, gun violence, questions of gender, refugees, gay and lesbian politics through exploration of the themes of border crossings and inclusion. Sandra has three chapbooks available through Ginninderra Press. In 2018 her poem 'Edit' was performed by Spineless Wonders in Sydney and in 2017 her poem 'Twenty Boats' was included in the poetry production of Under Sedation produced by Adele Chynoweth in Canberra.


Australia's 'sirens of satire' Sparrow-Folk are the only confirmed glam-folk band, a combination of hilarious wit and heavenly harmonies. The pair have taken their deliciously naughty music around the world. Don't miss a chance to share their nest, this duo is gut-bustingly hilarious.

Stephen Whiteside

Stephen Whiteside has been writing and performing poetry for many years. In 2015, his collection of poetry for children, The Billy That Died With Its Boots On, won 'Book of the Year' at the Australian Bush Laureate Awards. Stephen is a great admirer of the Australian poet C. J. Dennis, and President of the C. J Dennis Society. He has presented much of Dennis' work with the assistance of Geoffrey Graham and Maggie Somerville.

Tango Social Club of Canberra

Since the first tango was danced in Australia in 1913, this urban dance from Argentina has captivated audiences, musicians and dancers here. A century later and the Tango Social Club of Canberra is here to showcase the variety of dances and music that make up the world of tango today.

Tiffany Eckhardt

Award-winning songwriter Tiffany Eckhardt has written and recorded nine successful independent releases, and released her 10th album 'Found' in 2018. After moving to Tasmania four years ago, the album is mostly inspired by the natural environment, her animal friends and the human spirit. Global issues also creep into her songs. Tiffany plays with partner, guitarist Dave Steel, and Ross Smithard on fiddle and banjo. They are heartwarming performances to lift the human spirit.