The National Folk Festival Board has today made the very challenging and important decision that the 2021 National Folk Festival will not go ahead.
In March this year the pandemic changed the festival and events landscape and the National Folk Festival was among the first major events in Australia to cancel in response. After significant research and planning towards a 2021 Festival, it has become apparent this will also be impossible.
This decision will no doubt have a devastating effect on festival participants and performers, but organisers feel that the community and their safety is the highest priority. Continuing restrictions around large gatherings in a multiple day Festival environment and the unpredictable nature of events mean organisers have reached a point at which a decision must be made.
The nature of The National Festival, which brings people together from across the country, its immersive festival site and program all mean that they’re unable to put on the kind of vibrant, participatory event that is a hallmark of the National Folk Festival.
The festival board will continue to explore alternate events and activities for 2021 that will enable the festival community to perform, share and develop folk traditions.
The board and staff are very grateful for the past months of collaboration, support and development with our key stakeholders; in particular the ACT government and the team at EPIC. We’ll continue to work with EPIC and the ACT Government to create new events and see the National return in all its glory in 2022.
We sincerely thank our generous community for their ongoing support particularly our participants, volunteers, partners and friends who have given so much to the Festival throughout our history. Because of your generosity, time and commitment we are able to continue our work bringing the community together for future National Folk Festivals.
We also thank the Festival team for their commitment and resilience since our cancellation in March and in working hard to ensure the future viability of the Festival. The spirit of folk lives on and we look forward with hope to bring folk together in new ways over the next year, and to the Festival’s return in 2022 – Dr Jacqueline Bradley, president, National Folk Festival.