Fri 1 March - Sun 3 March 2024

Special Presentations and Themed Concerts

“Too Many Bloody Songs About Shearers By Far!” – Chloe & Jason Roweth (with Bill Browne)
SAT 11am Magpie

Australia’s great wealth of shearing songs is well recognised. The Roweths present the pick of the crop in all its bountiful variety, inspired by the recent discovery by Mark Gregory of some very early publications in various Australian newspapers (now available on Trove, a National Library of Australia website). There are swaggering songs from the late 1800’s / early 1900’s, (some rare, some well known), rousing singalongs, classic poems, bittersweet ballads, and even the murder of a “Mad Shed Rep.” (thanks Rob Willis!). The show features the recently uncovered earliest known version of Click Go The Shears from the Bacchus Marsh Express, dated 1891! Bring your voices!

“The Faceless 4 “: A Musical/Play written by Mike Martin and directed by David Stocker
SUN 11am Mumbulla

Gai (Mahamati) is a professor of Economics and Law who has been given the task of researching the Constitution and to advise on the outcomes for an update to the 21st century. By fate she finds herself entwined in social media activism. John (Marty Lyons) a research scientist on environmental issues finds Polly’s (Frances Tonks) computer skills, a Computer Programmer, very helpful in promoting his research. Dave (Mike Martin) a street musician, represents the public, the people who care. Pedro (Pete Smith) owns the Café – the venue for thought, reflection and great coffee.

In reality, our political system – otherwise known as liberal democracy – represents a 19th century political construct. This is primarily because parties continue to try to project themselves around 19th century cleavages of class, geography and ideology. These divides have increasingly little relation to the complex, rapidly changing political voices and identities of a social media-driven, globalised citizenry. The result is a growing distrust and disconnect from the political party system. It is time to think seriously and strategically about ways to renovate our democratic system so it can again develop policy outcomes that address the pressing challenges of the 21st century. Is it time for change? A society based on caring is far better than a society based on greed.

“From Cotton to Rock” – Damon Davies & Peter Howe
SAT 5pm Magpie

A school show adapted for festival audiences presented by Damon Davies and Peter Howe, essentially tracing the story of the African/American contribution to Western music. Storyteller, Peter Howe, has teamed up with bluesman, Damon Davies, to relate a story that begins in Africa hundreds of years ago and ends with fifties Rock’n’Roll. Music performed by Damon and Peter gives an insight into the cultural forces that helped shape modern popular music. It’s a story full of humour, pathos and triumph, told in words, song, drama and dance.

“I Died Laughing” – Jonathan Bob Lynn
SAT 3pm Yuin

We Irish would like to think that we can laugh in the face of death. It’s more likely that we snigger behind its back. Shaw says of us that “our wits can’t thicken in that soft, moist air” – yeah, Ireland’s constant drizzle of rain ensures that we are forever soft in the head. So, reality is never faced and is put on the back burner as we bubble over with the merriment of living.

“Journey of a Song” – Ballyhooley
SUN 1pm Magpie

A particular interest of members of Ballyhooley is how songs have changed and evolved with emigration and travelling back and forth between continents. In this workshop they showcase several songs & tunes, with a performance of the different variations of the music, highlighting and discussing the changes that come about when a song travels.

“Entertainment in Cobargo During WWI” – Presented by Fiona Firth & friends
SUN 2pm Yuin

During the First World War young men from Australia were asked to volunteer to serve with the Australian Forces overseas. At home in small country town halls across Australia, including Cobargo and Quaama, enlisted men were farewelled at concert parties organised in their honour. This performance will showcase musical items of the time moving from rousing patriotic marches of the early years of the war to the more sombre and reflective songs being sung in 1918. It will highlight the pressure young men were under to enlist and tell the stories of some of the men of the Cobargo and Quaama districts while they were serving overseas.

“Jack Sorensen: WA Fighting Poet” – Dingo’s Breakfast
SAT 1pm Mumbulla

Down a minor road at the back of the once booming railway town of Midland lies the grave of Western Australia’s Fighting Poet. A simple headstone bears the inscription . . .
Jack Sorensen 1907-1949 . . ‘Weaver of Dreams, Farewell’

So begins the fascinating story of the life and times of Jack Sorensen, Orchardist, Gun Shearer, Wool-Classer, Boxing Champion, Journalist, Soldier, Poet and Balladist. The Dingo’s Breakfast Oz Music & poetry Band tell of Jack’s life in narrative, verse and song. Born in the Kalgoorlie goldfields, this is the story of a man who taught himself to box, becoming a W.A. welterweight champion, fighting under the name of Johnny Brown, achieving this feat so as to be able to recite his ballads anywhere, anytime without having to face too many derogatory remarks from the more bone-headed & flint-hearted of his contemporaries. Mates would say “this bloke’s a poet, but look out, he can fight too”. From Kalgoorlie’s goldfields to the orchard in the foothills of Perth, the huge sheep runs of the North-West and the Melville Army Camp he travelled, penning his experiences and reflections until his most untimely demise.

“Bert Lloyd: song collector in Britain and Australia” – Danny Spooner
SUN 12pm Yuin

A.L. Lloyd was probably the most important single influence on the folk song revival in England during the 60s and 70s and beyond but he has come in for a fair bit of criticism since his death. Danny will examine Bert Lloyd’s influence, sing many examples of the songs that he collected and discuss the controversy surrounding his work. Margaret and Bob Fagan will be making a guest appearance to sing some of the songs.

Tribute To Pete Seeger – The Silver Strings
SAT 3pm Magpie

Pete Seeger died in January 2014 at the age of 94. He is probably the most famous name in all of world folk music. He travelled extensively across the United States and around the world, playing, singing and collecting songs and tunes. He was very active in the civil rights movement, nuclear disarmament and environmental causes. He wrote songs about his experiences and performed and recorded extensively throughout his long life. The Silver Strings will perform a selection of his songs: songs which he collected and songs he liked, especially chorus songs with which the audience can sing along.

Blues and Blessings Concert
SUN 12pm Gulaga

Fiona Boyes, with husband, saxophonist Reverend Steve Clark (The Preacher) will bring the Blues and Blessings to Cobargo. Following similar collaborative shows at Port Fairy and to great acclaim at Cobargo Folk Festival in 2013, Fiona’s Hammond Trio, which includes Tim Neal on Hammond organ and Mark Grunden on drums, will combine with the Festival Choir, under the direction of the Dan Scollay and a number of special guests, including the fabulous Archie Roach.

In preparation for the show, Dan will conduct two choir workshops, which are open to anyone at the festival, on Saturday ay 1pm in the Yuin and Sunday at 10.45am in the Brolga. The Reverend Steve Clark, Tim and Mark will run the “New Orleans Walking Band” workshop at 11am in the Narira. All are welcome with percussion instruments provided or bring your own. It will finish with the massed band and choir walking into the Blues and Blessing concert.

Aunty Eileen Morgan Memorial Indigenous Concert
SAT 2pm Mumbulla

The Yuin Folk Club is proud to continue presenting this special concert featuring some wonderful indigenous performers. This year’s concert features Archie Roach and Shellie Morris, who are both performing thanks to our partnership with Four Winds and the support of Arts NSW. There will also be a number of local performers, including the Djaadjawan Dancers, Warren Foster, Ron Callaghan and a group of young indigenous musicians from Wallaga Lake, who have been preparing for the festival under the guidance of Grow The Music and with the support of South East Arts.

Eileen Morgan was a patron of the Yuin Folk Club and was involved in its early years. As a local Aboriginal Elder she gave permission for the club to use the Yuin name. Eileen was a wonderful painter and she donated the painting that was incorporated into the logo of the Yuin Folk Club. She also painted the Club’s beautiful banner, incorporating this motif. Make sure you have a look at this banner which forms the backdrop to the stage in the Yuin venue. Eileen died in 2011 and this annual concert is honour of her life and work.

Jim Lay Memorial Songwriters Concert
FRI 6pm Magpie

This concert commemorates Jim Lay and his craft of songwriting by presenting a number of talented songwriters, some established, some up-and-coming. Jim was one of our regular local performers over many years and a good friend of the Cobargo Folk Festival. He was a musician, songwriter, environmentalist and remote area firefighter with NPWS and, as a songwriter, wrote about all those things and more. We present this annual concert in Jim’s memory and we know he would be proud to support and promote fellow songwriters. This year we feature three Australian songwriters Heath Cullen, Tracey Bunn and Den Hanrahan.

20th Anniversary Concerts
SAT 12pm Mumbulla
SUN 10am Magpie

As we are celebrating our 20th Festival this year, we have included a couple of concerts featuring a few performers who have appeared on the programs in the earlier years of the festival. The first concert features Elizabeth Andalis (who was Festival Director for many years when the festival was in the village, pre 2004), Ralph & Fiona Cullen and Rhys Davies. The second concert features Damon Davies (difficult to imagine a Cobargo Folk Festival without Damon “Sweet Home Cobargo” Davies!), Luciano Baseggio & Friends, Dianne Rees, Peter Logue and Zena Armstrong and Candy & Conrad (Over The Moon). There are many other performers on the program this year – too numerous to mention by name here – who have been regular supporters of the festival over the years or who are making a welcome return. We salute you all.

Local History Walk with Fiona Firth
SAT 9.30am

Interested in Cobargo History? Come for a walk through Cobargo town with local historian Fiona Firth to hear stories of the personalities, places and buildings of Cobargo and district. Meet outside the Ticket Office at 9.30 on Saturday for a walk that will last one to one and a half hours. Phone or text 0416 661 715 for more information.