There are many visitors who return to Dorrigo every year for this Festival because of the great atmosphere, and the opportunity to jam with fantastic and sometimes famous musicians under a shady tree or round the campfire. Along with this huge cast of entertainers, there is a full workshop programme covering a wide range of techniques and instruments, catering for those just starting out on their musical journey, as well as the more seasoned performers.
The Bushwackersare Australia’s best known, best-loved bush band. Currently celebrating 40 years of music excellence, 75 band members, 20 studio albums, 4 books, countless tours, awards and enough stories to fill a dozen books. The Bushwackers will be working hard to bring a rollicking good time to this year’s Festival. Don’t miss them on Friday night when they open the Festival with the Grand Bush Dance or any of their other performances.
Bluegrass Parkway is definitely one of Australia’s finest Bluegrass line-ups. Performing around a single microphone, they have wowed Festival audiences across Australia and the USA with their authentic Bluegrass presentation, this year celebrating their 23rd Anniversary.
Bluegrass Parkway will be running a Bluegrass Harmony Workshop during the Festival among other workshops.
Top-class Bluegrass with a twist. Coolgrass make musical mischief with Bluegrass…no sacred cows for these boys! In addition to their own tongue in cheek songs, Coolgrass and their audience have fun with Mozart, The Beatles, Queen and more in a show that is both musical and visually zany. They take the classic Bluegrass line-up of banjo, guitar, mandolin and double bass then break the rules. Festival favourites in Australia and New Zealand.
Unique singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Ami Williamson is returning to Dorrigo by popular demand with her memorable and amazingly entertaining “One Woman Show” and a new album “Close to Home”. Ami has worked in many of the top venues and Festivals in Australia and abroad and has shared the stage with many International artists such as Kristina Olsen, Hans Tressink, Joan Carden, John Butler, The Angels, The Whitlams, Eric Bogle, Beccy Cole, Angry Anderson to name a few.
Hunter and Suzy Owens
Hunter and Suzy Owens‘ original repertoire draws upon the traditions of American Appalachian music to express their stories.
Hunter originally comes from Charlottesville, Virginia, USA although he has resided in Sydney since 1981. Suzy is a Sydney girl through and through. They have been song-writing together for the past 15 years and have recorded three CDs, two studio and one live, though their most recent one, “Heartsongs” was recorded in a live studio setting.
Barefoot Folk Orchestra
Known for their sounds of flute, fiddle, viola, cello and bass, The Barefoot Folk Orchestra play music ranging from Haydn and Mozart through arrangements of South American, Klezmer and folk tunes, to quirky original compositions and jazz classics. Brilliant musicians, the Festival is very privileged to have the group who don’t usually wander too far from home. The Barefoot Folk Orchestra is one not to miss.
The Lurkers are Homespun Folk and Bluegrass music with a message. Featuring protest songs with an Old-time Bluegrass twist. With double bass, banjo, guitar and three-part harmonies, it’s acoustic hillbilly punk about environmental evangelism, pirateering and DIY Armageddon.
Based in Sydney (Australia), The Lurkers are bringing songs of rebellion to a new generation.
Spot The Dog
You can’t keep a good dog down. Fourteen is a good age for any dog, so when front-line Australian group Spot the Dog turned off the mic for the last time in 2004, music lovers were disappointed although conceded that the band had done its bit. Spot the Dog’s distinctive style of Australian roots music draws on the deep music traditions of country, folk, rock and soul to create a sound that is earthy and sincere, with rich mellow vocal harmonies and mandolin, fiddle, keyboards, bass, guitars and drums.
Original acoustic roots music, Innes Campbell and Present Company are four keen musicians, three of whom are Australian Bluegrass champions, with a passion to produce a unique sound. This sound is created with bass fiddle, violin, mandolin, banjo, guitar and four voices which are blended, old style, through the single microphone that the boys dance around. Their heroes range from Bill Monroe to The Strokes and from Old Time Bluegrass to Contemporary Acoustic Music.
The band were recently chosen to play at the closing concert of the National Folk Festival, Canberra which is a massive reflection of their brilliance. Having recently released their new CD, Present Company are currently touring Scotland for the first time.
Dear Orphans’ music embraces the simplicity of life while connecting with the bare the bones of the human condition. The band comprises singer-songwriters Nick Payne and Lyn Taylor, along with Mike Kirkley on pedal steel, “a big influence on our sound” according to Nick. Dear Orphans are also sometimes accompanied by clawhammer banjoist, Richard Galluzzi.
With a unique blend of Original and Traditional bluegrass and roots music, Fat Wombat create a driving sound with strong harmonies and instrumentation. Featuring Mick Moffitt, Jenny Shimmin, Cate McCarthy and Jon Wilby, between them they have decades of experience playing at festivals all over Australia. Blending their talents to create exciting music from the Appalachian Mountain traditions, mixed with a more contemporary theme.
Big Bug Trio
Melbourne bluegrass stalwart Pete Fidler has joined forces with NSW expats Dan Watkins and Kat Mear for a trio like no other: Dobro, guitar and fiddle. With a folk-grass ethic, precocious picking and sweet harmonies to boot, you’ll get a big kick out of the Big Bugs.
The Perch Creek Family Jug Band
Brought up busking til the wee hours on the rowdy streets of Brisbane and the Gold Coast as children, the Perch Creek Family Jug Band learned to use their voices and multi-instrumental talents to pull a crowd and keep them there. Now nearly grown up, they have fine tuned their 5 part harmonies and unique style for their original and traditional repertoire that roves from bluegrass, old-time jazz, and country blues to whatever else they happen to fancy.
Ewan MacKenzie Duo
Ewan MacKenzie & Oliver Steffen play Jazz Manouche guitar in the style of the French Gypsy guitarist Django Reinhardt. Ewan has performed around the country as well as abroard, regarded as one of Australia’s premier Django stylists. Their music ranges from Django compositions to Jazz standards, to their own original material.
If Paul Simon and Joni Mitchell had a love child, she would have sounded like Susanna Carman. Her live performance hints at a bit of Fleetwood Mac via Dixie Chicks skip, mixing lilting acoustic guitar, violin and smooth, soothing vocals with a gift for storytelling that slides into your affections. Susanna is currently in the US performing a series of shows promoting the release of her second album, Circus Girl. This year at the festival, Susanna is looking forward to participating in the festival and at the Youth Tent.
My-T-Fine String Band
Rod and Judy Jones have had the My-T-Fine String Band in various incarnations for almost 30 years, playing bluegrass and traditional country music. They have played at numerous dances and concerts at the Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Society in Sydney. My-T-Fine have been regular performers at the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee Festival in Weston, West Virginia since 1986, and have appeared on the ABC, The USA “Today” Show. Also in a special on the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, West Virginia Public Radio, Judy won the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention Clawhammer Banjo Championship. They will be sure to get your toes tapping and your feet dancing.
Gary Brown is a legend on the Dobro guitar and a subtle accompanist in many a line-up from Tamworth and Harrietteville to Nashville and Austin, Texas; and he’s toured with many overseas artists both in Australia and abroad. At the Dorrigo Festival Gary Brown will be playing with Hunter and Suzy Owens and adding his tasty Dobro tones to the mix. Gary will also be conducting beginner and advanced workshops in Dobro and slide guitar techniques.
With his rich and powerful voice, Evan Mathieson accompanies his easy listening finger picking style on either the autoharp or guitar. He believes there are two sorts of music…good or bad…so he performs a diverse selection of great songs in many different styles. Having had a 40 year love affair with the autoharp both as a skilled hand builder of the instrument, as well as a talented and enthusiastic player, Evan especially excels in good-fun, fast pickin’ jam sessions!.
Chloe & Silas
Chloe Hall & Silas Palmer met at Wintermoon Festival, a favourite of many Australian musicians, in Queensland’s North. During a festival jam, they started a musical conversation that continued into the night, and kept going after the festival tents had been taken down. After months of exchanging ideas long distance, Silas flew to meet Chloe in Europe, where they played their first official show together in Paris. Since then, they have continued to capture the space and beauty of that first performance – two voices blending, guitar and fiddle intertwining, melodies soaring above – bringing the stories in Chloe’s songs to life.
Recently named Young Instrumentalist of the Year at the National Folk Festival held in Canberra 2011, Stephen O’Hern is one of Australia’s leading virtuoso guitarists at just 18 years of age. Following from 12 years of classical training, Stephen has mastered a variety of styles such as percussive finger style, Celtic and flat/hybrid picking to name a few.
If you like catchy tunes with acoustic guitar, mandolin, fiddle, banjo and harmonica, you’ll love Balyana. Balyana features Rob and Jackie Saunders on guitar, mandolin and fiddle plus Tim (Seagrass) Saunders on banjo. The Saunders brothers live at opposite ends of the East Coast but whenever they get together, their 30 years of jamming from Cygnet to Townsville shines through. Balyana means home. The name originates from North Queensland where Rob and Jackie spent much of their younger years. The band draws inspiration from artists such as Paul Kelly, Neil Young, Slim Dusty and songs about the simple things in life, rural towns, the ocean and open spaces.
Serenation is an acoustic folk duo from Tasmania comprised of violinist Jhana Allan and piano-accordion player David Elliston.
Jhana was the violinist in Turkish-Macedonian folk band from Armidale ‘Turkish Delight’ and is now studying classical violin and honing her talent at the conservatorium of music in Hobart. David is self taught on the piano-accordion and is often seen busking along Salamanca place in Hobart as well as on stage with a myriad of other artists. Serenation play a broad arc of tunes and original compositions inspired from klesmer, tango, jazz, Balkan, Celtic and bluegrass traditions.
Sitting somewhere between folk, alternate country and a little bit of blues, Kelly Stoner is a contemporary storyteller. Inspired by the history of oral story telling through music, Kelly has spent many years shaping her songs into the form of moving poetry, each word and melody carefully crafted to tell a story.
She recorded her debut EP with Australian icon Bill Chambers then went on to play a host of shows with the Lost Dogs as well as the Chambers family band.
Shiny Top Strings
Shiny Top Strings are Richard Galluzzi and Maurie Llambias, two bald fellers playing old-time songs & tunes in the spirit of traditional fiddle and banjo duos. With Maurie on fiddle and Richard on clawhammer banjo as well as vocals, Shiny Top Strings have been playing their unique take on Folk and Bluegrass music regularly at Clubs and Festivals throughout Australia.
Stars Of Thursday
Stars of Thursday are an acoustic, slightly alternative, original music three piece band providing a refreshing new sound. Combining creative acoustic guitar parts with intricate drum rhythms on a djembe (traditional African drum) supported by funky bass lines covered in creative melodies and inventive lyrics. Two brothers, Tim Orchard and Jon Orchard along with Chris Richter have been working together to create the Stars of Thursday sound. A rich, energetic and quite unique taste of original music that appeals to a v very wide age group.
With a passion for Bluegrass, the Slickville Pickers spend many hours jamming amongst train sets, motorbikes, kids & dogs.Playing a mix of traditional, contemporary and original songs, featuring strong harmonies and many instrumentals. Starting out as a jam in the back shed – this engaging music has developed a life of it’s own that’s seen us performing at festivals, country shows, pubs, cafés & parties.
With a patchwork quilt of influences, spanning Celtic, Klezmer, reggae and folk styles, Fabric weaves a rich tapestry of vibrant sound. The lyrical talents of songwriter and lead vocalist Gull Herzberg are couched with angelic vocal harmonies, artful electric bass (Peter Gulliver), rocking guitars (Vince Jensen), soaring flutes (Jane Mosco), haunting cello (Jane Farrah) and dynamic percussion (Adam Kornhauser). Converging in the Bellingen Valley, the threads of Fabric have enjoyed their creative collaboration since 2005.
Scott Collins and the Mid-North
Scott Collins and the Mid-North are a new Bluegrass and Americana band that have just hit the festival scene. They play all original music including ‘Where I found my home’ as featured on World Wide Bluegrass radio, crowd favourite ‘Rosewood’ and the rip-roaring ‘Sunshining’. They are a breath of fresh air and will excite and impress you.
Marilyn and Frank Russell
An acoustic duo from the Central Coast, Frank and Marilyn Russell sing a range of Folk, Old Time Country and Hillbilly songs with some original material mixed in. Frank plays guitar, harmonica and double bass whilst Marilyn plays mandolin, fiddle and percussion. Frank and Marilyn are among the founding members of the Troubadour Folk Club on the Central Coast, which has been running since 1998. Both Frank and Marilyn are still on the managing committee of the Troubadour.
Russ Redford plays harmonica and sings…almost at the same time. Playing and singing for some 40 years, Russ Redford’s repertoire is a mixture of blues, a little traditional as well as Gospel. Russ will be leading a Harmonica Workshop at the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival.
Rob Imeson & The Family Tree
Rob Imeson & The Family Tree. Any man who takes his whole family on a road trip around Australia is going to end up with some fine songs to sing at the end of it. Already on the radar of the John Butler Seed and Triple J, Rob Imeson has his guitars packed for Dorrigo, as well as wife Amy, her father Paul, kids Joel, Molly, and Charlie and an assortment of acoustic guitars, flutes, harmonicas, tin whistles, ukuleles and some great harmonies.