Monday 15 February 

Folk music meets innovation! The National Folk Festival has today announced the appointment of five time ARIA award winning artist Katie Noonan, as their new Artistic Director.

One of Australia’s most high profile musicians, Katie Noonan, has been announced as the National Folk Festival’s new artistic Director. She has two decades of experience as a musician, producer and record label owner, artistic director and advocate for the arts in Australia and joins the National Folk Festival after four years as Artistic Director at the Queensland Music Festival.

The Festival’s Managing Director Helen Roben said, “the National Folk Festival is thrilled that Katie will be leading our artistic vision moving forward. We have no doubt that her breadth of experience and unwavering passion for the arts will shape the festival's evolution, helping to grow the National Folk Festivals reputation as one of the best folk festivals in Australia”.

Katie Noonan is widely known nationally and internationally for her excellence in creative programming, through her roles as Music Director of the Commonwealth Games and Artistic Director of the Queensland Music Festival. 

Her collaborative production with contemporary circus group Circa, Love-Song-Circus, was a two time Fringe Award Winner in Adelaide. Noonan has also engaged in multidisciplinary collaborations with Australian electronic producers Flight Facilities, Perth hip-hop artist Drapht, Australian poet and cartoonist Michael Leunig, and UK’s acclaimed Brodsky Quartet.

Noonan has been a mentor and supporter for many young artists and women in the arts. This commitment to furthering the future of Australian artists was recognised in 2019 when she was awarded the Australian Women in Music Creative Leadership award and the prestigious APRA AMCOS State Arts Luminary Award.

“Music for me is a lifelong lesson, a generous act of giving and a means to change the world” says Noonan. 

“In 1967 the NFF was established in order to create ‘a focal point and meeting place for the exchange of songs, styles and ideas’.  Five decades after this dream was realised, I am honoured to be the new caretaker of this vision.”

“For me - music is home, it is a safe place where everyone is welcome. It is a tool to explore our identity, to ask questions and to better ourselves as humans. 

“The folk music of today’s Australia is a multifaceted, multicultural and vibrant tapestry of colours and sounds. I look forward to weaving this tapestry into something rich and beautiful with you all - a tapestry that makes us all feel welcome and at home - in our Nation’s capital.”

“The appointment is a significant one for the National Folk Festival”, says Roben. “There’s a need for the Festival to expand its footprint and bring more people into the folk community.” 

“Our mission goes beyond simply presenting these folk activities to our audiences. We need to start finding ways to make folk appealing and also permanent in the lives of young people.

“It’s the way in which this knowledge is passed on and transformed through practice, through listening and through exchange. We’re confident that Katie will find ways to nurture these traditions that are core to the National Folk Festival, while bringing in her own artistic vision and strategy, that will help promote and share folk culture, to bring diverse, new audiences to the festival.”

“As the world continues to go through a time of rapid change, folk traditions are becoming more important than ever, to help us better understand, remember and celebrate the world around us. We need to ensure the sustainability of the National Folk Festival into the future, and the continued growth of our community.”

Noonan will present her first festival in 2022, after the global pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 and 2021 festivals.