National Folk Festival Welcomes Over 180 Artists to its 53rd Year This Easter

Feb 20, 2019

Australia’s longest running major folk festival, the National, has announced its 2019 lineup of more than 180 acts over 5 huge days at Exhibition Park in Canberra this Easter.

The best and brightest in folk from around the globe will converge on the nation’s capital, Canberra, 18-22 April, with world-class performers hand-picked from 14 countries including Japan, Portugal and Italy and a strong local component to boot.

“The 2019 lineup is so diverse with acts spanning the full gamut of folk, from contemporary and trad to bluegrass, celtic, country, blues, dance and even a pop infusion – we have it all!” said National Folk Festival director, Pam Merrigan.

The impressive line up welcomes an exclusive debut from Scottish duo Ross Couper and Tom Oakes, USA’s award-winning Kittel and Co. for their only East Coast show and Japanese folk trio, John John Festival returning to Australia after a very successful debut in 2017 and inimitable troubadour, Irish Mythen (Canada).

“We’re equally excited about the incredible quality of Australian artists on offer too. Whether you’re a die-hard folkie or trying it out for the first time, you will love getting your folk on at the National this year!” she said.

The National Folk Festival’s 53rd year will continue its tradition of championing homegrown talent with appearances from Redgum’s John Schumann, Goanna Band’s Shane Howard and The Red Rockin’ Dirt Band who draw on the politically charged folk roots of the 70’s and 80’s and award-winning country singer, Fanny Lumsden to looping pedal and Harp playing pop songstress Elksa and James Van Cooper the edgy, Americana/country singer. Shortis and Simpson, will be premiering  ‘Happy Little Copyrights’, a thought-provoking show about the art of song borrowing, a rare appearance by The Fagans, one of Australia’s first and favourite folk families; as well as a performance from contemporary folk-pop trio Little Quirks, who recently supported The Preatures and are quickly establishing themselves as ‘ones to watch’.

The emerging trio, Little Quirks say folk festivals are “so important for young people to experience.”

“Folk is for all ages,” said 18-year-old guitarist and singer, Abbey Toole, ”It’s one of the rawest and most real styles of music where you can hear very personal stories you can relate to in songs.”

“There’s just something different about folk that we know other young people will love if they give it a chance.”

National Folk Festival will also see Canada’s The Once and our own John Flanagan wrap up the ever popular Festival of Small Halls Autumn regional tour.

With more than 750 shows throughout 20 venues over its five days, a kids festival, themed bars, food and market stalls, roving entertainment and an engaging, multi-discipline arts program, it’s easy to see why the National Folk Festival is the longest running event of its kind and Australia’s home and heart of folk.

National Folk Festival is held over the Easter long weekend, 18-22 April 2019 in Exhibition Park, Canberra.