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.

Candice McLeod

After 6 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.

Dorsal Finns, The

Dusting snow off their shoulders from a recent visit to Sweden, a trio of fiddle/nyckelharpa/cello play 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 – Australian music with a Celtic beat at it's 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 recognized saxophonist Paul Van Ross. 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, 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 & Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival.

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.

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 3rd 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 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.


Vagabond Jimmy Bay has been traveling 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. Utilising guitar, harmonica and his suitcase kick-drum.

Ken Yates (Can)

Winner of two Canadian Folk Music Awards in 2017, for Songwriter of the Year and Emerging Artist of the Year, Ken Yates has steadily grown a reputation as one Canada’s brightest rising stars. Born and raised in London, Ontario, he's embraced the troubadour life, and spends much of his time on the road sharing unforgettable melodies, emotionally charged storytelling and intricate finger-picking guitar wherever he goes.

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.

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. Coupled with songs in both Gaelic and English that undergo the same musical mixology.

Marios Papadeas Ensemble, The (GRC/Aus)

Mario was born in Athens & from the tender age of 4 he began his musical studies & has since become one of the undeniable mastours of the Santouri with a vast repertoire delving into Smyrneika early rembetika & nisiotika. He’s appeared on multiple TV programs & performed at festivals in Australia, Paris, London, Vienna, Switzerland & Iran to name a few. He is joined by local musicians Pascal Latra (Habibis Vox), Paddy Montgomery & Byron.

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.

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.

Riccardo Tesi & BANDITALIANA (ITL)

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 stylistic key features of the group founded in 1992 by the composer and diatonic accordion player Riccardo Tesi.

Tiffany Eckhardt

Award winning songwriter, Tiffany Eckhardt, has written and recorded nine successful independent releases, and releases her 10th album 'Found' this year. After moving to Tasmania four years ago, this 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. Heartwarming performances to lift the human spirit.