I asked Chris Ellis from the band High & Lonesome to give me some feedback on the Guildford Banjo Jamboree this year, which I hope to attend next year. Thanks Chris.
Here’s what he wrote.
It’s a great little festival with everything happening within 100 yards of the main crossroads in the town of Guildford, in the Goldfield’s region of the Victorian central highlands. Fantastically supportive local community who all seem to turn out and make it all happen logistically.
Most folks camp on the oval (no toilet block or hot showers yet!) where it was -5 degrees just before dawn Sunday morning. You can get a hot shower at Vaughan Mineral Springs about 12 km out of town.
Domenico’s Hotel provides meals, drinks, 3 inside session spaces, a beer garden and verandah seating on two sides. A few doors up is the Old Music Hall for workshops and whiteboard concerts, next door to the instrument shop.
The Town Hall provides toilets, a concert and dance space and a Curry Van. The General store provides food, coffee and some minimal supplies. The CFA provide a hotplate breakfast and fire pots around the town for warmth. The old Coathouse has a restaurant and wines. A couple of craft stores and that’s about it for the facilities.
Perhaps a couple of hundred enthusiasts congregate together and celebrate music involving all kinds of banjos, from jugband, blues, old-timey, through to rebettica, country and bluegrass. Many well-known characters and usual suspects can be found there, along with many talented up and coming youngsters.
As friendly a gathering of folk as you’ll find anywhere on earth. If you can’t get enough banjo at the Banjoree you didn’t try hard enough.
High & Lonesome