This is the last in my series of National Folk Festival (the Nash) posts.  The title of this post is taken from Canberra poet, Josh Inman’s poem, ‘I Am a Folk Festival‘, that I heard him perform at the Nash last weekend.  Josh said that the moment he steps through the gate he gets a shiver, a sense of freedom.  This perfectly sums up the way I feel about the Nash.  Josh said ordinary people live ordinary lives.  But the Nash is extraordinary.  It makes everything seem possible.  We can be extraordinary.  So, he would rather be a folk festival.  That really spoke to me.  I can be a folk festival too.  Is that too corny?  I guess you had to be there.

The Nash is often over-shadowed by the sexier Byron Bay Blues Fest on the north coast of New South Wales, which is held over the same weekend.  But I think this Canberra festival holds its own against the Blues Fest, and even against the festival of all festivals, Woodford.  It’s more intimate.  It’s family.

Everyone can participate in art activities.  You can even help build a boat. artpanels


Wood working.woodword

Join a harp jam.harps

Join a group to learn songs in Australian Sign Language and perform them for an enthusiastic audience (this was one of the most heart-warming sessions I saw all weekend).Auslan

Dance, dance, dance – including the Tango, Belly-Dancing, Swing, Flamenco, dances from the Balkans, Morris dancing, and more.Tassiedance


And of course, sing, sing, sing.  Enjoy folk music from around the world.  Balkanski Bus (below) plays music from across the Balkans, proving the power of music to bring everyone together.balkanski2.jpg

Kids have their own festival within a festival.  But the Amazing Drumming Monkeys are for everyone.  I wouldn’t miss it.3monkies.jpg

Audience participation in the various circus acts is compulsory.  Here is one of the members of Circus Firemen (yes, they do have a calendar).circus3

Get your gear on.  peace.jpg



And finally, a little R&R.randr.jpgSigh.  I am a folk festival.  Are you?


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17 thoughts on “I Am a Folk Festival

  1. There’s something about a folk festival, perhaps it is inclusive and community, that is so appealing. And We Danced brought back some lovely memories! Thanks for sharing.

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  2. That does look a very family friendly festival, I think the Byron blues fest has become way too commercial and our blues on Broadbeach has lost the vibe (I think, but then maybe I’m getting old!!!) now the crowds have discovered it.

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  3. So many beautiful pictures of an outstanding event! Wish I could have been there!! I never knew that so many people still play the harp – that´s amazing! And I would have loved watching the woodworkers at their craft! Thanks for sharing these lovely impressions!

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  4. Looks like the folk festival is a lot of fun. I like the juxtaposition of the kid’s art and the harp: the art being so very “now” and usually ephemeral and harps having a long history with music that dates back centuries.

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