2023’s list of now famous performers.
The full 2024 lineup will be announced in January but stay tuned for some early info on who will be playing next year.
Hailing from Albury/Wodonga, this Indie Singer-Songwriter, will take you on a journey through heartache and out the other side. A new twist on the old classic, let this one man, percussive guitar show, tell you a story about life, music, love and beyond.
Award winning singer-songwriter, Ailsa, has a piercingly beautiful voice and an old world sound that pairs well with knitted cardigans, long car rides and a place by the fire on a frosty day. Inspired by the natural world and the diverse music scene that surrounds her, she draws heavily from Celtic and contemporary folk music.
Asha has always sung. From age 11 Asha was singing Jazz at a music Academy in wangaratta, touring throughout Australia. By 14 she had formed her first band ‘The Inner Vision’, recording an EP and touring in the UK. This included ‘The Fleece’ in Bristol as part of the Dreamfields. By 2020 Asha decided to focus on her solo project and released her Debut single ‘Burnt Toast and Marmalade’ winning several awards with a 4 star review from Dave Ruby Howe on Triple J Unearthed.
Blue Moon Marquee
Blue Moon Marquee (CAN), perform original compositions influenced by anything that swings, jumps or grooves. Carving a path through blues, jazz, jump jive, folk, country, swing and Indigenous soul, their sound defies categorisation. It stomps and struts through the wilds, conjuring a blend where Howlin’ Wolf tangos with Django, Ernest Tubb shoots firecrackers with Cab Calloway, and Memphis Minnie throws dice with Screamin’ Jay Hawkins.
Her live performances have been described as endearing; her 2017 debut album, raw and real. Candice McLeod is a modern-folk songstress, with ten years of road-life up her sleeve. Quickly stitching herself within the fabric of Yackandandah’s community three years ago, she continues to grow as a soulful weaver of vulnerability and strength through song.
This renowned songwriter intertwines bold guitar with poignant and poetic lyrics to create music that’s both fragile and life affirming. With a disarming stage presence, her songs document real life situations and experiences with a brave, personal and candid honesty. Her latest album ‘Inner North’, was described as “An impressive work of song writing mastery” (The Music Below USA) and was nominated in The Age Music Victoria Awards for Best Folk/Roots Album.
In 2021, Chris Cavill released Lionheart; a heart-warming album dedicated to his father following a 28-year battle with Multiple Sclerosis. The album was a huge success, racking up over 100,000 global streams. His most recent release is a cover of Neil Young’s ‘Old Man’, and features his 8-year old son.
Beguiling, intense, driven folk songs expertly accompanied by guitar and banjo, Dani Larkin’s(IRE) songs voyage through stories drawn from mythology and folklore, ruminations on love and relationships, and experiences of wildness, loss, love and mystery, steered with a gentle strength and engagingly calm conviction. Pipped by Double J, RTE Radio 1, BBC Radio 2 and Folk Radio UK as a rising star on the Irish folk and alternative scene, 2021/2022 has been a breakthrough year for this emerging alt-folk artist, with the release of her debut album Notes For A Maiden Warrior.
The story goes that the young Australian singer, songwriter and one-of-a-kind guitar virtuoso first picked up his instrument of choice as a five-year-old following in the footsteps of a musical father. He began writing songs at 12, training classically throughout his teens and performing solo wherever he could, honing his craft and developing what would become the dynamite live show that he is renowned for today. At 18 he left school, turned professional and hit the road. In early 2020 as the COVID pandemic ground all touring to a halt, Daniel returned to Australia from his base in Nashville, writing music and further honing his craft with a swag of new songs and a complete new live show. For fans of guitar, songs or just artistic expression at it’s finest his show is a must see.
Dave Wright & the Midnight Ramblers
Formed in 2017, The Midnight Ramblers are Dave’s side project and satisfy his love of bluegrass, folk, country, and americana. Featuring Midnight Electric members Rob Barber and Tim Cavanagh, plus Connor Ross- Hicks, the band delve deep into Dave’s vast catalogue and re-imagine some of his most popular songs into down home country and bluegrass stompers.
With his unique finger style and soulful earthy vocals, Dean Haitani draws inspiration from roots music, and his love of funk and old school R&B. An accomplished guitarist/singer/songwriter, stylistically, Dean’s music is Roots Music- a melting pot of funky rhythms, jazzy influenced progressions, folk subtleties, country flavours & blues grit. Dean has toured extensively throughout the US, Europe and Australia.
Emily Barker(UK) is an award-winning singer-songwriter, best known as the writer and performer of the theme to the BBC’s hugely successful crime drama Wallander starring Kenneth Branagh. She has released music as a solo artist as well as with various bands and collaborations including The Red Clay Halo, Frank Turner, Vena Portae, Marry Waterson and Applewood Road (with whom she released a remarkable album of original songs recorded live around a single microphone, dubbed “flawless” by The Sunday Times) and has written for film, including composing the soundtrack for Jake Gavin’s lauded debut feature Hector starring Peter Mullan and Keith Allen.
Folk singer and songwriter Floyd Thursby, has years of songs and stories to share, whether busking in the streets of Iran, playing in nursing homes, or performing for the Prime Minister of Vietnam. ‘To Those In Flames’ (2019) ALBUM OF THE WEEK: The Age. SHORTLISTED 2021 Music Victoria Awards.
Forgotten Land are a 4 piece local band from Yackandandah and surrounds. Gem King (vocals/guitar), sings from the heart about her life experiences. She is backed up by her husband Dave with his rhythmic beats & legendary friends Deb & Rowan, who play beautiful melodic tunes on the double bass, cello and flute.
“Fred Smith is simply the best folk/country musician working in this country. Beyond writing some of the finest songs about Australians at war, he has created a repertoire that is wry, literate, witty, powerfully emotional and insightful”. (Bruce Elder, SMH). Fred and band will be playing songs from his back catalogue and new material from the evacuation of Kabul.
Gordon Mullen delivers a masterclass on the ukulele, weaving intricate pickings through songs by Bruce Cockburn, Muse, Midnight Oil and Nordic classics. Coming off a standing ovation at his previous festival appearance, Mullen will bookend these artists on keyboard with originals including a call to action on climate change, refugee care and the tender recognition of the outback woman who loses all to drought and disease. Not to be missed.
There’s a buzz about Great Aunt – theirs is a joyous and eclectic approach to making music. Together, songwriter/instrumentalists Megan Bird and Chelsea Allen, draw inspiration from the traditions of old-time, bluegrass and gospel music, and their diverse backgrounds in punk and jazz, to craft modern musical stories. The duo has delighted audiences at some of Australia’s finest music and arts festivals with tales of joy and grief, whiskey and wine, gratitude and purpose-seeking.
Gretta Ziller’s sound may bear the hallmarks of classic Americana but its essence is far more diverse. The Melbourne songstresses roots span jazz, blues, rock, pop and classical and that eclectcism is reflected in her songwriting and performances. Her 2017 album “Queen of Boomtown” received critical acclaim including Golden Guitar nominations. Her sophomore album “Judas Tree” has gained Gretta her second nomination for the Australian Music Prize and a 3rd finalist place in the APRA Professional Development Award.
Hannah is a dynamic singer-songwriter who has emerged from the Victorian folk scene. Now 21 years old, Hannah combines stunningly unique song writing and thoroughly engaging and entertaining performances. She has the rare ability to connect with audience members young and old, weaves images with her lyrics, stories and music.
Jarrod Shaw possesses a passion and appreciation for blues music that becomes obvious from the moment the first note sounds. He delivers a soulful blues show, performed with conviction. He blends his unique guitar approach lying somewhere between piedmont fingerstyle and the blues of the delta, with wailing blues harp and a powerful voice often described as belying his years.
Jayda is a young singer-songwriter from the Yarra Valley. Her songwriting has emerged from folk beginnings but has taken a modern turn. She is a multi-award winning songwriter, having won two national song writing competitions by the age of 15. Jayda Jean is touring her debut EP “Through Your Eyes” which can be streamed everywhere.
With his honey-on-gravel voice and mesmerising fingerstyle guitar, John Smith has built a reputation as one of the UK’s finest guitarists and songwriters. John’s intimate take on love, loss and the journey we make, combined with his innovative guitar work, have won him a loyal following around the globe. “The future of Folk Music” – John Renbourn.
From Melbourne’s back alley bars to Australias major Festivals (Gympie Muster, Echuca Winter Blues, Tamworth CMF) – Award winning Julian James is loved by folk and blues audiences all over Australia, with his whiskey drenched sound as much at home in 2021 as it would have been blaring out of the wireless in 1921.
Kevin is a passionate singer songwriter who has been working on his craft for over many years. Kevin has recently recorded an EP of songs that are topical including Climate change – ‘Ode to Mother Earth’; First Nation Reconciliation – ‘The Tide Has Changed’. Others tell stories of ‘Small Country Towns’; ‘Seasons’ and most recent song about our ANZACs.
Niamh Regan is a critically acclaimed songwriter from county Galway, Ireland. Her debut album Hemet announced her arrival as one of the most distinctive songwriters in Ireland today. Earning nominations for both the RTE Folk Awards’ and the Choice Awards’ Album of the Year. Regan honed her craft as a songwriter by travelling between Ireland and California, writing about her experiences along the way. As a result, her songs seamlessly weave the intimacy of the Irish lyrical tradition with the expansive breadth of American songwriters such as Karen Dalton, Stevie Nicks, and Joni Mitchell, but the resulting sound is entirely her own.
Owen is alternative blues and soulful cosmic rock at its best. Inspired by the tempo of the ocean, Owen’s sound is best described as smouldering guitar work running from bluesy riffs and soulful finger-picking to lap steel guitar solos using a shot glass slide and gritty caramel vocals.
Pete cut his teeth with the Ploughboys in Melbourne in the mid 90’s and went on to tour as fiddle player and comic with Slim Dusty from 1998 to 2002 as the last musician Slim hired for his Travelling Country Band. His show today is a blend of his comedy, country/bluegrass songs and energetic fiddle playing. He is joined this time by Aron McLean on upright bass and Jeff Mercer on electric guitar. Jeff also toured with Slim and it was on the road that Pete and Jeff became musical brothers. Aron has been gigging with Pete for over ten years. The combination of these three on stage pretty much means “good time had by all”!
Get ready for electrifying, hip-shakin, vintage rock soul with Melbourne’s high-flying Riflebirds. The bands unique guitar and keyboard driven sound – performed with passion and energy – has earned Riflebirds a reputation as one of the finest live acts around. With their fourth and most adventurous album “Keep It Together” out recently, the band is making its Yackandandah festival debut.
A Saoirse performance will delight the audience with a little bit of everything Celtic, from heartfelt ballads, original songs and stories, to lively jigs and reels, with even an Irish step dance or two! With excellent musicianship and harmonies that will take your breath away, a concert promises to entertain; to warm hearts, and leave toes tapping for more!
Smith and Jones
Smith & Jones are a Bathurst based duo, made up of keyboard player/vocalist Abby Smith, and guitarist/vocalist Sophie Jones. Their work is centred around the intersection of womanhood and identity within regional areas, with a dedication to artistic leadership, community engagement and creative integrity. Their new work was recorded live in the studio, echoing their heart warming and powerful live shows.
The Beez yodellin´, thigh slappin’, lederhosen wettin´ dancefest of German flavoured music featuring Deta C. Rayner (accordion, vocals) and Rob Rayner (guitar, vocals). Thrill to comic classics from Rammstein to Kraftwerk; tear off that dirndl and shake a Teutonic Tailfeather to Nena´s 99 Red Balloons, jive to Germafied Oz Rock Classics from Oils to Icehouse but, most of all, be entertained- that´s an order!
The Burning Hell
The Burning Hell is the ongoing musical project of songwriter Mathias Kom (guitar) and Ariel Sharratt (saxophone, bass, drums), based in Prince Edward Island, Canada, and joined for their Australian tour in 2023 by Maria Peddle from Newfoundland (violin, saxophone, keys, bass, drums). Their densely populated genre-shifting songs are packed with an abundance of literary, historical, cultural, and pop-cultural forebears, stories and hooks. They move with heavy rhyme and a light step, incorporating a frequent fixation on apocalypse and ruin into work that celebrates participation in a surprising and even occasionally beautiful world. Which is to say they’re good dance partners and they want to dance with you.
The Go Set
Twenty years down the line and The Go Set still sound as fierce and as vital as the first day they set foot on a stage. The Geelong-based band has always squeezed out the sparks from the place where rock’n’roll collides with the spirit of Celtic folk. “I have Irish and Scottish heritage through my grandparents on both sides and that was the kind of music I heard at home, Keenan says. As a little kid, I listened to those traditional songs with my nan on an old record player. Then when I was discovering bands and heard The Pogues, it all made sense.” The ghosts of those who have come before are never too far away in the songs of The Go Set, and the album’s title tune is one of their finest on the topic. Dust off the dancing shoes and be ready.
The Humbuckin Pickups
The Humbuckin’ Pickups will bring their “Roots Drenched Folk” sound to venues all across Australia in 2023 to support their newly announced third album “Just Like Winter”. The 2021 Troubadour Foundation Award and Maldon Minstrel winning outfit, build on their first two offerings with a record that is filled with imagery of rural and regional Australia, and the band’s distinctive string accompaniment. Wielding guitars, dobros, banjos, double bass and mandolins the quartet will draw you in with their love of storytelling through music, their humour and their four-part harmony.
The Maes (sisters Maggie & Elsie Rigby) grew up the children of folk musicians, immersed in folk festivals, choir rehearsals and campfire sessions. Since 2014, they’ve been touring full time, playing some of the world’s most prestigious roots music festivals, including the Telluride Bluegrass Festival and Edmonton Folk Festival. “Quite simply, breathtaking” – Rhythms Magazine.
The family that plays together, stays together… and in the nutty world of The Pigs, family (and beer, and bluegrass) is all that matters… and did I mention… you’re family too. In these troubling times you can count on The Pigs… They have not blurred their backgrounds, stockpiled dunny paper or learned anything remotely. T-Bone, Stretch, Cousin Shamus, Cousin Bert & Cousin Montz last name PIG, like to have fun and their music speaks to that… but also pokes much deeper… life, love, heartache, Robot Goats even. Expect to be shocked by their dress & hear their many hits – even that one about Moisturiser.
In 1994, a collection of like-minded musicians first graced the stage at Maldon Folk Festival. The Ploughboys went on to perform at major festivals throughout Australia and OS and became one of Australia’s preeminent Celtic bands. This years performance, sees the reunion of the original Ploughboys line up featuring Damian Howard, Allan O’Connell, Pete Denahy, Dominic McAlinden and John Edgar.
The Royal High Jinx
Melbourne’s mesmerising contemporary world music band The Royal High Jinx, burst onto Australian festival stages with originality, virtuosity & theatricality. Their songs & tunes are inspired by European traditions, peppered with Gypsy Jazz, Latin Balkan & Swing grooves with a pinch of Folk Cabaret. Described as the “Balkan Abba” for their catchy songs & glamorous show, enjoy their musical celebration.
The Water Runners
Take one part bluegrass, one part folk and a dollop of country. Mix in great storytelling, tight harmonies, and an engaging stage show, and you have The Water Runners! Voted best band in the 2020 Australian National Busking Championships and ‘People’s Choice’ finalists in the 2021 Australian Folk Music Awards. Their 2021 album, ‘Further Down the Road’, was produced by the award-winning Matt Fell. Their original songs, tell of local tales and stories of love, loss, and life. Come on the journey.
The Weeping Willows
CMAA ‘Golden Guitar’, Australian Folk Music and Music Victoria award winners, The Weeping Willows (Laura Coates and Andrew Wrigglesworth) are a couple of old souls, steeped in Bluegrass tradition and draped in Gothic Americana imagery. They regale their audiences with stories of sunshine and romance, God and The Devil, murder and decay. That kind of description might make them sound like some carefully contrived concept-act but there’s something truly different about The Weeping Willows: they really mean it…
Tim McMillan And Rachel Snow
Fingerstyle percussive guitar meets masterful violin accompaniment and a magical blend of vocals as Tim McMillan & Rachel Snow twirl their musical influences together to create a riveting potion of Celtic rock, folk, metal, classical & jazz. Hailing from the same school in Melbourne and now based in Berlin, the duo have performed together for nearly 20 years.
Born of campfires and beach houses, Tinman bring a feast of harmony and rhythm that pours from the stage. Without realising, you may feel the need to sing even if you don’t know the words. Or just watch the melodies disappear into the cool night air. Come alongside these story-tellers and magic weavers and be transported for a while.
Conjuring a unique but universal language from that most ubiquitous of instruments, the acoustic guitar, Tony McManus has both extended and transcended the parameters of contemporary Celtic music. Ranked by peers and predecessors alike alongside the guitar world’s all-time greats, his fiendishly dexterous, dazzlingly original playing draws on traditions from the entire Celtic diaspora – Scotland, Ireland, Brittany, Galicia, Asturias, Cape Breton, Quebec – along with still further-ranging flavours, such as jazz and east European music. Long applauded for his uncanny ability to transpose the delicate, complex ornamentation characteristic of traditional bagpipe or fiddle tunes – even the phrasing of a Gaelic song – onto his own six strings, McManus is increasingly being acknowledged also as a pioneering figure in bridging the realms of Celtic music and other guitar genres.
Livewire violinist Alana Hunt shreds through furious csardases, Hungarian restaurant serenades and Transylvanian village folklore chased by Kirri Bachler (double bass), and Sofia Chapman (accordion).
Vardos have roamed extensively through Eastern Europe learning from Rroma (Gypsy) musicians, released 6 albums, toured Australia and internationally and appeared in film and television.
Wallabindi is a proud Wardandi Bibbulman Noongar singer/songwriter hailing from Boorloo, Western Australia. She is an incredibly versatile artist, touring both nationally and internationally for 20 years. As a descendant of several Stolen Generations, Wallabindi is passionate about keeping her culture strong and alive through her music. She will be weaving powerful stories, truth telling and reflections throughout her performances, accompanied by her talented co-writer and long time collaborator Richard Gorter on guitar. They will also be previewing songs from their debut EP, Wallabindi Dreaming.
While and Matthews
The undisputed queens of British folk duos continue to come up with the goods. “1st class songs delivered with to die for harmonies, immaculate musicianship & melodies that lodge themselves in your brain.” The Guardian. Chris While (vocals, guitar, banjo, dulcimer, bodhran, percussion) and Julie Matthews (vocals, piano, guitar, mandolin and bouzouki), are renowned for their seamless harmonies and affinity for each other on stage. They are stunning singers, songwriters, musicians and performers, whose energy and commitment to their craft and their audience is boundless.
Widows of the Parish
Soul wrenching harmonies, incredible arrangements and great energy. The Widows’ sound is an intoxicating mix of bluegrass, Americana, gospel, and blues. Their gigs include fresh arrangements of both obscure gems and standards from different eras. Gorgeous harmonies from these talented female vocalists will have you alternately stomping your feet or crooning along with them.
Zamponistas: Australia’s premier Bolivian Roving Panpipe Band (not much competition!). Their act is unique. The haunting tones of the Andean panpipes and a heartbeat of percussion create a swirling, syncopated, high energy chorus of sound, the sounds of the Inca realm. Dressed in bright ponchos, they weave in and out of crowds, twisting, turning, spinning – totally engaging audiences and bystanders alike! Some call it guerrilla music, some call it pop-up music. They bring joy and delight wherever they play.