Festivals come in all shapes and sizes, from the large spectaculars where thousands dance in front of huge stages with giant sound systems and dazzling light shows, to those like ours, smaller and more intimate, and where everyone who steps over through the gate makes their own unique contribution to creating the event.
We think our festival is very special.
What began 28 years ago as a street festival in the historic main street of Cobargo has grown into a joyful three-day celebration of folk and roots music, song, dance, craft and more in the relaxed Sapphire Coast hinterland of New South Wales. Proudly produced and presented by the Yuin Folk Club Inc since 1996, the Cobargo Folk Festival is wholly volunteer-run, independent and non-commercial. Any profits we make go to helping grow music and art in our beautiful region.
Our festival is a place where you can immerse yourself in a range of different experiences, camp and reconnect with family and friends, join other musos in a pick or a session, perhaps with a couple of performers, enjoy a drink and some great food. Along with our concerts and an enthralling First Nations program featuring the Yuin Elders’ Yarning Tent, we have workshops open to all, KIDBARGO! – our kids’ festival and The Crossing Youth Stage, where you might spot an emerging young artist with a shiny career ahead.
Authentic, original, creative, inspiring – come and join us in 2023. From our hearts to yours with love from a bunch of local folk who care.
The COBARGO UNITES! benefit concert planned for Sunday 3 May to raise funds for the Cobargo Community Bushfire Recovery Fund has been cancelled because of coronavirus restrictions on mass gatherings. This is a double blow for Cobargo following the cancellation of 2020 Cobargo Folk Festival following the devastating bushfire fire that swept through our village on New Year’s Eve 2019.
Lillian McVeity is a brilliant young singer/songwriter/guitarist. She delivers with sophistication that is well beyond her years. Lillian writes captivating lyrics and accompanies her vocals with exquisite guitar. Lillian also plays an eclectic mix of covers that she reinvents with tantalising style and splendor. She performs regularly on stages around the Sapphire Coast and local music festivals, enchanting audiences at every gig.
Brothers Brían and Diarmuid Mac Gloinn grew up playing music together around their hometown of Carlow, a small town in the southeast of Ireland. After moving to Dublin in 2012, they quickly became a staple of the live music and session scene in Ireland, playing their own original songs as well as folk songs from Ireland, Scotland, England. Their new album, the Hare’s Lament is being compared to the exquisite harmonies and musical intricacies of the legendary Planxty.
Equally at home with folk, gospel and rock music, Will Kimbrough is an Alabama native living in Nashville, he zig zags the world singing songs and playing guitars, often solo, but also in many other collaborations, including with Emmy Lou Harris, Rodney Crowell and Jimmy Buffett. When not touring Will spends his days writing songs, producing artists, recording music in a studio, being creative with band members and spending time with his family.
Élisabeth Moquin, Thierry Clouette and Élisabeth Giroux offer a very dynamic and modern vision of Québec traditional music. The musical arrangements are shaded with influences of folk, progressive rock and classical music interpreted on fiddle, Irish bouzouki and cello. Élisabeth Moquin adds special colour through her masterful step dancing. Their original compositions and unusual arrangements of traditional tunes combine with rich vocal harmonies, musical drive, instrumental virtuosity and remarkable on-stage complicity. É.T.É transforms the traditional kitchen party into an entertaining and lively performance. É.T.É won Émergence of the Grands prix Desjardins de la culture de Lanaudière 2017 in 2017.
And another Cobargo favourite, Mike Martin is perhaps best known for his passion for traditional Australian bush music its’ roots and history. So for many, the release of his debut album will come as a revelation… The Strelley Project is a finely crafted set of Mike’s songs performed by a bunch of consummate musicians …. Individually they are superb .. collectively they take the songs to a new level.
The Sweet Valentinos create music inspired by the beautiful songs of Michael Hanlon. Their music is an exciting fusion of melodies and rhythms inspired by the eclectic and diverse musical influences of the individual band members. Melodies seasoned with percussion, double bass, melodica, violin, guitars and the jangle of a piano. Ragged rural rhythms and dreamy beatnik undertones. Their music is a wide open field on a summer afternoon.
Master Australian musician Lindsay Martin brings sensitive strings and velvet vocals, while New Zealand’s songstress Victoria Vigenser delivers driving rhythms and lyric with a truly magnificent voice. Musical twins and mavericks besides, their hooky originals and crazy stories will have you enthralled.
Canadian Roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories are Cara Luft (Wailin’ Jennys) and JD Edwards. With soaring, interwoven vocals on various combinations of stomping clawhammer banjo, guitar and harmonica, and a stage banter striking a unique balance between slapstick and sermon, these veteran singer-songwriters have a way of making time disappear, rooms shrink, and audiences feel as they are right there on the stage with the band. Singing along is encouraged
Winner of the 2019 Folk Victoria Graham Squance Memorial Award for her contribution to Folk Music, Suzette Herft has a sublime voice, heartfelt, soulful, original songs, a joyful sunny countenance and natural charm and grace to touch your soul. “Suzette owns the essence of the Baez repertoire with a poise, charm, confidence and ease that carries hapless listeners away on that dreaming trip when music transcends time and place. This is the gift of a very skilled folk singer.” Jamie McKew (Former Festival Director, Port Fairy Folk Festival)
All the way from Co. Clare, Ireland, the prodigiously gifted Susan O’Neill’s soulful & husky-voiced performances are truly something to behold. With a striking attitude, guitar, harmonica, trumpet and a loop pedal, Susan delivers a timeless and powerful blend of the old soul with a new edge.
Taiko means drum in Japanese. Stonewave Taiko means Bega Valley’s own taiko group. Experience the explosive, high energy, earthy rhythms of Stonewave Taiko in this special performance featuring local Cobargo Stonewave Taiko players.
STARTIJENN (energy in Breton) draws the necessary energy out of its roots to create a powerful, efficient, and contemporary sound. Since its creation in 1997, when the founding members were only 13 years old, the group gave itself a mission: To shake-up festivals and concerts in Brittany, France, and worldwide. The five-piece band fuses traditional instruments with a rhythm section offering very lively Breton music through original compositions. The band feeds of the excitement and enthusiasm of their audiences. Bring your dancing shoes.
Skorba presents the magnificence of the history of the Maltentese Islands in beautifully composed and played songs and thrilling visual images. Lutes, cello, voices, wind instruments and percussion combine in a glorious mosaic of music inspired by the Renaissance period, the Mediterranean and the Ottoman Empire.
Hot festival favourites, Shortis and Simpson are a Canberra-based cabaret act that specialise in shows related to history and politics. Their shows are noted for their humour and poignancy, deep research, vocal versatility, brilliant songwriting, and surprising information.
The Passionate Fools (Wendy Jackson and Peter Hisco), who have made Cobargo their home, have recently been having too much musical fun with the ‘Executive Team’ of Zena Armstrong and Peter Logue. Peter’s keyboard / accordion and Zena’s percussion / whistles added to the already dynamic mix of Wendy and Peter’s soaring vocals and multitude of acoustic instruments has created an exciting 4 piece band that is sure to have you swinging… and smiling. Add to this, our special guest, Dave O’Neill, and you have a magical combination of like-minded musicians ready to give you a special treat!
O’Neill’s Folly are late musical bloomers, singing and playing Celtic and Americana music on guitar, mandolin, fiddle and banjo. They sing songs of love, death and history in multi-textured arrangements that lift both the band and the listener. Come be entertained, surprised and even inspired by their infectious enthusiasm and shared joy of life and music.
Winner of 2018 Folk and Roots Album of the Year (The Age Music Victoria Awards) and named for one of the top 10 Songs of 2018 (The Australian Newspaper), Michael Waugh gives a profound new voice to the Australian experience. His insightful storytelling cuts to the heart of everyday life. It is honest, emotionally brave and compelling in its beauty. He has been likened to the iconic Australian singer songwriters Mick Thomas, Paul Kelly and John Williamson. Michael performs with Rich Davis and Craig Kelly (of Rich Davis and the Low Road). Tight three piece, double bass, guitars and three-part harmony.
Mica Lynnah is a locally based dance teacher, artist, and performer. She has trained in many styles of dance and movement within Australia and abroad, and her work is informed and influenced by various forms of contemporary and world dance. Mica has been teaching for over 10 years, and continues to enjoy collaborating on various dance and theatre projects in the ACT and NSW. She is well known on the South Coast for roving performance troupe The Haniyami and her Kate Bush tribute group Great Bush.
Maypole with Molly interactive dance sessions encourage children and adults to dance around the maypole or play percussion. Dancers will learn how to make a Barber’s Pole, a colourful Weaving Pattern and a Spider’s Web with maypole ribbons. Formed in 2009, they have provided kids’ dance sessions at folk festivals at the National, Kangaroo Valley, Major’s Creek, Cobargo, Numeralla, Illawarra, Port Fairy, St Albans and Tilba. Founder and accordionist, Erika Cleaver (Molly) has been an accompanist and leader of several folk dance groups and is an experienced early childhood teacher who loves sharing music and dance with kids.
Martin is renowned as not only a marvellous satirist but also as a wonderful poet, musician, singer and author. He regularly performs at every major folk music festival and folk venue in the country. His appearances and performances at the prestigious National Folk Festival are legendary and he always fills the largest venues of that huge festival to overflowing. A wonderful night of sparkling comedy and great entertainment
House of Song is a one-woman show which charts Marcia Howard’s 30 years as a singer/songwriter including her years as a member of the iconic Australian band, Goanna. Over the 90-minute performance, Marcia will share the inspirations that have consistently informed her song writing and performing – her Irish roots and her love and respect for the Indigenous Australian perspectives on life and place. The songs that Marcia has written for House of Song are melodic and captivating. They explore our relationships with politics, family and place. Marcia’s story is compelling. She grew up in a house of musicians; a large, multi-talented family who provided music for their community.Marcia Howard is an original, compelling and charismatic songwriter and performer. She hopes that by sharing her deep love of song, she will help people embrace their own unique sound and voice.
Maggie Carty, banjo player and singer from the West of Ireland moved to Australia in 2017 and has been performing widely here at festivals including Port Fairy Folk Festival, National Folk Festival, National Celtic Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival and venues across VIC and NSW. Now Melbourne based she has joined forces with Máirtín Staunton (Flute/Vocals), Ado Barker (Fiddle), Gerry McKeague (Guitar, Vocals) and Thomas Botting (Double Bass) to form the Maggie Carty band. The group perform a mix of traditional Irish tunes and folk song with three-part harmonies and jazz undertones. On stage the group have a natural ease with each other, and their enjoyment and sense of fun is palpable and infectious!
Luke Plumb and Kate Burke share a love for 1970s Irish folk revival music, having obsessively absorbed the music of the era – in particular Planxty’s revolutionary treatments of traditional songs. Luke spent many years playing with Scottish acid croft pioneers Shooglenifty, and Kate has long collaborated with Ruth Hazleton and Trouble in the Kitchen. Since then they have each toured with legendary Irish musician Andy Irvine.
New to Cobargo and with a ‘strong yet gentle voice, an art for weaving beauty and truth into the words of each song, Khristian Mizzi reaches the hearts of audiences. His songs elegantly articulate many contemporary issues Australia are facing today. His award winning songs leave listeners feeling they have experienced something truly special. Poetic lyrics, meandering melodies and ‘a voice like a warm hug’, along with a unique picking style, Mizzi is a complete artist and is renowned for his intimate performances and thoughtful songs throughout Australia. .
Kerryn Fields’ thoughtful and powerful songs, baritone brilliance and unassuming string-plucking virtuosity leave audiences transfixed, crying, hysterically laughing and dipping their fingers into all the layers of the universe – after which they lick them in public, because this life is kind of delicious.
Now based in sunny Scotland, indie folk & blues songsmith, Jenny Biddle, returns to Australia to launch her 7th album! Feisty guitarist, poignant lyricist and recovering chocoholic, catch this seasoned performer and her witty stage banter while she’s back in Oz!
Scottish duo, The Jellyman’s Daughter, lands squarely in the middle of an intriguing crossroads between Bluegrass, Post- Rock, Folk and Soul.Mixing their unique vocal harmonies with wild and visceral cello, driving guitar and sweet mandolin, Emily & Graham write their songs together with a focus on something new. Our Festival is a proud supporter of the 2020 “Year of Scotland” in Australia.
Jan ‘Yarn’ Wositzky was a Scots-Czech emigrant kid who came in 1956 and finished up discovering Australia, its songs and stories. Beginning in 1971 as a Bushwackers founder, Jan combines career with adventures and brings the fruits of his travels to audiences in shows that segue from music and song to storytelling and theatre, accompanying himself with 5-string banjo, harmonica, bodhran, bones and spoons. Always coming up with something new and surprising to add the national story, he conveys it all with a laid back style, loads of laughs and subtle politics – all strung together with a good yarn (pun intended).
Jackson State are a fast emerging Far South Coast band that play an eclectic farm-fresh blend of soul infused R&B and funky roots music with generous overtones of folky Hickster. The musings of Steve Jackson on guitar supported by legendary Cobargo icon Damon Davies on double bass and the amazing Jon “Trapper’ Trevena on percussion. With 30 years playing behind him Steve Jackson is the new boy on the ‘Candelo music scene block’ but is supported by two of Australia’s finest musicians, another musical gem from the deep south, not to be missed.
Ivy Lucille is a wild, theatrical songstress based in Melbourne. Drawing from the depths of the Great Mother Earth to the Spiritual Sky, Ivy has cultivated her own distinct sound through exploring the human psyche, spirituality and a broad spectrum of musical styles. Ivy has captivated audiences far and wide with her crazy cabaret and through her powerful, emotive compositions. Her songs tell stories of other worlds, weaving ethereal, operatic vocals and old worldly piano. Join Ivy as she takes you on a heart felt journey through the valleys and peaks of theatrical mystique, unleashing the powers that be.
Making another welcome return to our festival are Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse. Winner; Best Indigenous Act – 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2018 – West Australian Music Industry (WAMi) Awards, as well as WA of the year for 2017 and 2018 WA Women’s hall of fame. This is a rare act that connects deeply with audiences through guitar brilliance and breathtaking voice. You know when it happens, that magical moment when a hush falls over the room; and it’s even more special when it’s in a rare language. Gina is one of less than 400 speakers left of Noongar language. With the blessings of elders and community, Gina and Guy will take you on an incredible, unforgettable journey you will not get anywhere else.
Fran’s passion is to share her enthusiasm for dance so that others can feel the joy that it brings to mind, body and soul. She’s been a long term supporter of our festival, co-organises our dance program and also plays a key role in organising the annual Numeralla Folk Festival.
Great to see young artists graduate from our Crossing Youth Stage onto the main Festival program. Felicity Dowd is a Singer Songwriter from Bega, NSW. In 2018, she was accepted into and graduated from the Junior CMAA Academy of Country Music. In the 2019 Tamworth Songwriters Salute Awards, two of her originals, “Road Called Life” and “Never Going Home” were recognised among the top 5 finalists in the youth category. Felicity is a storyteller, who loves to play with words and inspire emotion in other people through her music.
Eleanor McEvoy is one of Ireland’s most revered singer-songwriters and is making her first visit to our Festival. Originally a session musician, Eleanor has been a staple of contemporary Irish folk music since the release of the ‘A Woman’s Heart’ compilation album in 1992, which featured her title track ‘Only A Woman’s Heart’. The album is the most successful Irish album of all time.
Members of our program team spotted these guys doing a blackboard gig at the National Folk Festival last year. Doc & The Delegates are a street music string band from Newcastle Australia. In the band’s short life, their virtuosic and energetic live performances have brought joy to raucous audiences, at festivals, bars, and on street corners up and down the coast. Their first release ‘Real To Reel’ is a live session album that captures the intangible joy of skilled musicians together in the same room, around a mic, straight to tape, recording how it used to be done. Everything from straight ahead bluegrass to Cuban son, classical and punk.
Of interest to all musicians and others, Dave teaches the Alexander Technique and has performed as guitarist and banjo player in many bands, including Lolo Lovina, and Tapestries of Sound. Constant playing led to discomfort in his arms, It wasn’t until he discovered the Alexander Technique realised he’d been the cause of his own problems. He loves to help others discover how to move with ease and avoid injury.
Ahoy me hearties! Canberra Shanty Club is a community singing group that runs traditional singing sessions in Canberra. They love a good sea shanty, but will sing almost anything with a chorus. All singing levels welcome. We’ll teach you everything you need to know to chant up a storm. If you can stamp and shout and show some passion we want YOU for shanty club!
There’s nothing CJ Shaw can’t do! The folk all rounder, award winner and ABC Radio regular is the can-do performer of any event. With incredible word play, intricate finger picking, soulful harmonica and a regular does of Australian humour, CJ Shaw’s performances stay with the audience for years to come.
Lead by the indefatigable Ray Mulligan, these morning sessions are hugely popular. Bring along your instrument to play tunes at a reasonable pace. The session is intended for people who can play an instrument in the company of others. Written music is supplied for those who want it. The handout will be used for these sessions as well as for the Slow Sessions run earlier in the day.
Dance the night away to the hottest band this side of the Murrumbidgee. The Burnt Roast Band are a fine collection of seasoned musicians arising from the ashes of the Canberra chapter of British Masterchef. (AKA the Old Empire Band) They strive to present their English dance music ”well done” or perhaps even with some crackling tunes.The band loves to session and regularly gathers around the Pot Belly Stove in Belconnen (which means they have some great English tunes to share).
World renowned guitar virtuoso Bruce Mathiske captivates with his musically evocative celebration of this vibrant and diverse instrument. Mathiske has travelled the world and those travels have influenced his music significantly, as he is inspired by global styles and flavours, rhythms and sounds.
You will be taken on a journey with infectious rhythms and fiery fretwork to delicate melodies that blend beautifully with the orchestral tones of percussionist Adam Manning.
Long time Cobargo favourites, it is fitting to have this duo back for our 25 th anniversary. Well-known as Stringfiddle in Heritage and Scottish dance circles, Bob and Jane enjoy extending their repertoire into other aspects of traditional music, from reflective beauty to wild excitement, they bring empathy and rapport to the interplay of fiddle and piano.
Formerly singer with Opera Australia, Ami Williamson has earned herself an enviable reputation as one of Australia’s leading Folk Singer/Songwriters impressing none other than Judy Collins who nominated her her favourite Australian act. “Forceful, funny, powerful and poetic, Ami Williamson is a Folk Singer/Songwriter like none other! I cried, I laughed, then both at the same time; one woman show at its best” – (SMH). Ami is the daughter of True Blue John Williamson.
A powerful show of stunning contemporary Māori music, dance, instruments, language, stories and costumes. The queen of live loops is back in force after a break from touring and this new show is her best yet”. Songlines Magazine 2019. A fierce all-female Māori world-roots production showcasing the virtues of Indigenous feminine power and inspiring cultural identity. Ancient chants, intricate harmonies, traditional & contemporary instruments, beats & bass, by internationally renowned “Queen of Loops”, Mihirangi. Lyrics celebrating Indigenous values, lore and customs. Featuring contemporary Māori dancers, women’s haka, Māori weaponry and martial arts, an inclusive, informative and inspiring cultural performance.
Virtuosic, original and exciting, Malumba’s genre-defying music will take you on a sonic journey while making your toes tap and your heart soar. With hints of Klezmer melodies, gypsy jazz harmonies, Celtic instruments and African rhythms, Malumba’s sound are unique and hugely versatile.
Blending together the sounds of Australia’s top folk and jazz musicians ensures performances are exciting and full of improvisation. Another locally-based festival favourite.
Melissa Crabtree is a world traveling, river running, award winning singer/songwriter/guitarist who crafts original music rooted in her love for the wild, majestic lands of the American West. She has toured extensively throughout North America and has performed in a wide variety of locations, both familiar and unusual, as a result of her parallel life as a river, ocean and back country guide.
Melissa has released five CDs and EPs since 2002. She toured the U.S. in a van powered by vegetable oil; she has performed at numerous top-drawer music festivals and has shared stages with the likes of Eliza Gilkyson, Joan Osborne, Greg Brown and Ani Difranco.
Dayan Kai is a classically trained multi-instrumentalist, singer/songwriter, vocalist, and producer with a lifelong dedication to music. Equally versed in jazz, blues, world, Americana, bluegrass, folk and rock, Dayan demonstrates a depth of musicality that bridges cultural and musical worlds.
Mica Lynnah is a locally based dance teacher, artist, and performer. She has trained in many styles of dance and movement within Australia and abroad, and her work is informed and influenced by various forms of contemporary and world dance.
Mica has been teaching for over 10 years, and continues to enjoy collaborating on various dance and theatre projects in the ACT and NSW. She is well known on the South Coast for her roving performance troupe The Haniyami and her Kate Bush tribute group Great Bush.
26 year old Corey Legge plays heartfelt acoustic folk, rock, and alt-country, drawing influence from growing up on the beautiful Far South Coast of NSW. Now based in Wollongong, Corey’s original music is reminiscent of James Taylor, with intricate fingerpicking, and smooth vocal melodies that will get stuck in your head for days.
The guitarist/singer-songwriter recently received a prestigious ‘Young Regional Artist Scholarship’ and Yuin Folk Club grant, which allowed Corey to record his debut solo album in New Zealand with world renowned producer Ben Edwards (Julia Jacklin, Marlon Williams).
The album will be officially launched at the festival.
Robbie Bundle and the Road Worn Healers
He describes his music as “eclectic on many levels” and through the looking class of Black Australia, he changes the perspective on how see at everyday things we might think are mundane.
Robbie’s newest songs are a testament to his conviction that there are so many stories out there which, if told, would change the world as we presently see it.
Robbie has played and collaborated on many musical projects and performed with and alongside many singer songwriters including Archie Roach, Bart Willoughby, Kutcha Edwards, Dave Arden, Shane Howard, Dave Steele, Neil Murray, to name a few.
He also mentors many emerging artists that are now navigating their way on the musical train.
Margaret and Bob Fagan hail from the Blue Mountains and began their musical journey together in Canberra in the late 1960s. They are firm favourites at major festivals around Australia, both as a duo and as members of ‘The Fagans’.
Their strong blend of politically-edged traditional and contemporary songs combined with lyrical ballads and great choruses is guaranteed to lift your spirits. Through a repertoire rooted firmly in the folk tradition, Margaret’s pure voice and Bob’s superb guitar playing ensure their popularity here and overseas. This year they will be launching their new duo CD, Landmarks on the Journey.
Join storyteller and songwriter Annie Bryant on a magical journey through the garden, around the farm and into the bush beyond, with stories and songs from her five much-loved seasonal albums of audio tales and songs for children.
Annie and her Storytent have spent the last five years travelling up and down the east coast of Australia delighting young and old hearts alike with her enchanting voice and nature-inspired stories.
The simple act of singing can evoke joy and connection. It bridges the differences between people and creates a sense of unity. This is the core idea behind the Timor Leste Belun Malu Choirs Project, a musical cultural exchange program between the Bega Valley and the Natarbora region of Timor Leste where in Tetun , Belun Malu means “friendship“.
This Belun Malu Choir is from all over South East NSW from Kiah to Bermagui. Conducted by David Francis, it has been purposely formed to travel to, and perform in Timor Leste in July 2019. Another Belun Malu Choir from Timor Leste will come to Australia in the autumn of 2020.
Melanie has been described by the Sydney Morning Herald as having a voice of ‘the utmost delicateness’, as a ‘songwriting gem’ by The Australian.
Based in Candelo in southern NSW, Melanie has recorded Eleven albums and EPs including her latest solo album, ‘Song to Sing on a Saturday Night’ and this August’s release duo album ‘The World Has A Gentle Soul’ with Steve Appel.
Melanie’s critically acclaimed album The Cloud Appreciation Society was long-listed for the 2013 Australian Music Prize, Quatre Chemins for the 2015 Australian Music Prize, and she was nominated for an APRA award in 2011. She has toured with Glen Hansard and The Frames, Jason Mraz, Bernard Fanning, Lou Rhodes, Slaid Cleaves and Sarah Blasko among others, as well as touring extensively on her own in Australia and Europe.
Melanie recorded an album in French, which was funded by the highly successful Pozible campaign and gave Melanie a six-month residency in France, writing songs with poet Alain Rivet and pop icon Helena Noguerra.
Melanie has also written songs with Wendy Matthews and Catherine Britt, and for film and television.
Gabadoo is a Djirringanj man from the Yuin Nation, born and raised in Bermagui NSW. He has been creating hip hop, R & B and urban funk music for over ten years, and is known for producing soul–infused beats and clear, dynamic vocals.
For Gabadoo, music is a way to express his feelings about his life, family and experiences. Making music has helped Gabadoo overcome some anxiety in the past, providing a creative outlet and a way to escape the challenges of everyday life.
A father of four, Gabadoo loves spending time with his young family.
Gabadoo started listening to hip hop artist Easy E from N.W.A when he was a kid, and that inspired him to try making his own music. He loves the old school hip hop vibe and is also a reggae rapper/singer, inspired by his idol, Bob Marley.
Gabadoo has been performing up and down the NSW east coast since 2016, and hopes to carve out a successful career as a performer, earn respect for making great music and make his family proud.
In 2015 The Figmentz performed their Ska / Funk show at Cobargo and in 2017 they brought their Soul Show to the festival . This year will be the best of both with the original lineup of Andy O’Donnell (guitar, vocals), John Drews (Hammond, keys), Ken Vatcher (drums / vocals) and Dave Crowden (bass / vocals) , along with the stunning vocals of Stacey Mills, as well as the fabulous Sapphire Horns Georgi Hargraves (tenor), Helen Gill (trumpet) and Oscar Gill (baritone). Songs by Jimmy Cliff , Aretha Franklin , Otis Redding as well as original Figmentz.
Chelsy Atkins is a Yamaji Widi woman from the Mid-Coast of Western Australia.
From a family of seven Chelsy grew up in the bush near Tamworth. Her father and first inspiration is acclaimed didgeridoo virtuoso, Mark Atkins – story-teller, song writer, composer and painter. Being exposed to this artistic brilliance and culture has influenced Chelsy’s unique sound of Indigenous folk – rockin’ – pop. Her captivating, melodic songs weave tales of life and truth, enhanced by her hypnotic guitar playing and a powerful voice that bends and flicks like the sounds of a didgeridoo.
Headed by Zimbabwen musicians Felix Machiridza and Ben Mutondazi, Zambezi Sounds bring their sweet and spiritual Nyami Mbira and talking bass of the Zambezi River to Cobargo. Backed by Chilean percussionist Sinuhe Pachecco, Tom Sherringham on melodic guitar and Andrew Howard on drumkit. Their repertoire includes a hypnotic and highly danceable mixture of contemporary and traditional African rhythms, classic reggae, stories and songs.
With a history of one EP and a debut album released by the time she was 19, Vendulka is an artist you may want to keep on your radar. Travelling the world with nothing but her guitar and an open heart, she shares her experiences through haunting melodies and soulful lyrics. Don’t miss your chance to see her before she sets off on her next adventure!
Hailing from the Sierra foothills of Northern California husband and wife songwriting duo The Rayos. Elena, violinist from age 5, has enough on her plate, keeping Saul, country blues guitar/singer, in line while they dine, make love, play music, garden on their small apple farm, and run their analog recording studio Ancient Wave Studios. Let them sing you one of their original songs of love and politics — back porch blues meets world beat.
The Novellas are a six-piece band from the Bega Valley with songs inspired by contemporary fiction from Australia and beyond. Sparse & atmospheric, The Novella’s paint in song the evocations of the printed word & celebrate the emotional power of storytelling. Noted Australian actors Patrick Dickson & Tracy Mann have joined the Novellas on stage reading excerpts from the books that have inspired the songs. The Novella’s are Myoung Jae Yi on guitar and vocals, Cellestine Janiola on vocals, Andrew Gray on piano, Anna Martin on drums, Josh Becker on bass, and Georgina Hargraves on oboe & sax.
The Michael Menager Trio was born at Cobargo Folk Festival 2017. Sam Martin (guitar) and Michael Menager (vocals, guitar) signed for the festival as a duo. But at Sam’s last minute invitation, Dan Efraemson (violin) – from Malumba, a World Music band that Sam also plays in – jumped up on stage. And so it began. Michael’s lyrics cut along a philosophical edge, his rhythms and melodies cut across the spectrum of bluegrass, folk and blues, and his stories cut across the inner landscape of a poet and traveller. And Martin & Efraemson’s improvisations weave a framework for it all.
In this theatrical song cycle, “Voyage”, four of Australia’s leading folk musicians recount the stories of the young women immigrants who voyaged from Gravesend to Sydney heading to a new life in Australia in the 1830’s. The original songs are based on the reseacrh of Liz Rushen, drawn from eyewitness accounts and source material of the time, and bring a fresh female perspective to the experiences of these young women. This is a compelling revisiting of a little-known aspect of recent Australian history. Performed by Penny Larkins (Vocals), Penelope Swales (whistles and vocals), Jamie Molloy (concertina and vocals) and Helen Begley (Guitars and Vocals) it is history at its most poignant and it’s never sounded so good!
Twice winners of Scotland’s Traditional Music ‘Live Act of the Year’ Award (2016 and 2011), SKERRYVORE tour their unique fusion of folk, trad, rock and Americana worldwide. This appearance at Cobargo is their first ever perfomance in Australia. Their typically high energy set will be a mix of tunes and songs, a party waiting to happen. “Skerryvore have crafted a world beating fusion, which takes pride in their Scottish heritage and above all else is a pure joy to listen to.” FOLK RADIO UK
Inspired by her American roots, Shelby Grace is fast becoming a versatile and accomplished singer and guitarist. Hailing from the NSW Snowy Mountains, Shelby recently graduated from the CMAA Academy of Country Music. She was awarded Peoples’ Choice runner up in the 2017 Australian National Busking Championships and overall runner up at the 2016 Australian National Busking Championships. Shelby’s recent performances include Tamworth Country Music Festival, The Peak Festival, Cobargo Folk Festival and Floriade.
Sacred Cow’s repertoire is a genre-jumping, up-beat collection of songs from the ‘colourful’ life of songwriter, Sarah Cowan. Embracing social commentary and political activism, Sarah’s weapon of choice is an open-tuned, percussive guitar utilised to shoot down ignorance, challenge taboos and inspire empathy. Joined by Jeremy Kemp on funky bass and viola Brasilliera, and Jo Baxter shaking it up with percussion and stunning harmonies sacred cow acoustic are set to reinspire audiences and fellow musicians alike.
Robyn Sykes is not your average rhyming poet. A flick of her pen makes words twist, tuck and double-somersault with pike. Poems prance. Ditties dance. ‘I love to entertain’, the multi-award-winning poet says. ‘And I love telling stories. I’m delighted to be part of the Cobargo Folk Festival.’ The Australian Champion bush poet learnt to say ‘Banjo Paterson’ before she said ‘Mum’ or ‘Dad’… well not quite, but you get the idea. Buckle up for the ride as Robyn takes her audiences on a high-impact tour through life in modern Australia.
For nearly four decades, American fingerstyle guitar wizard Richard Gilewitz has fascinated listeners with 6 and 12-string finger gymnastics while spinning enchanting yarns of a seasoned raconteur. His concert performances around the world spill over with unexpected turns of the funnies, thought-provoking takes on life on the road, and tunes that propel the audience on a magical journey of sight and sound. His signature playing style delivers a technical diversity of banjo style patterns and classical arpeggios with a rhythmic percussive approach, exploring the history of guitar with sounds of folk to Americana, the blues to the classical, ragtime to pop, and somewhere in between.
The Quaama Singers will “pop up” at various times and places around the Festival grounds on Saturday between 10.00 am and 2.00 pm. There’s also a stage performance on Sunday between 4.00 and 6.00 pm. Come and sing along to crowd favourites, beautiful chants and fabulous circle songs. No festival is complete without a rousing go at The Lion Sleeps Tonight and this is where you’ll find it!
Paverty Bush Band is Canberra’s premier bush band. Paverty started in 1970 as Franklyn B Paverty and the Platt Valley Crooners. With a strong instrumental line up including fiddle, banjo, flute, lagerphone and feet tambourines they get toes tapping and folk up and dancing. Paverty plays Australian folk music – an eclectic mix of traditional and original songs, ballads and tunes with country, blues, rock, bluegrass, skiffle and jug band influences.
Some could say it is foolish to think playing music is the most important goal in life – but this is the passion that drives Peter Hisco and Wendy Jackson, recent and welcome additions to the Cobargo music scene. Sometimes it seems foolish to try and play too many instruments at one gig -but being sensible can be boring. With sublime vocals that blend seamlessly and extensive instrumental skills on an array of stringed instruments – guitar, double bass, fiddle, mandolin, banjo and ukulele – the Passionate Fools will lift you up and warm your soul with music inspired by a broad range of styles from swing to blues to bluegrass.
Peter Otton is a multi-award winning local artist whose work is represented at NSW Government House. Tim Metcalf is a multi-award winning poet. Both men are long-term residents of the Bega Valley Shire.
Cielle Montgomery and James Church are ‘Montgomery Church’ – a blend of acoustic folk, Americana and bluegrass influences, grown and distilled in the Snowy Mountain ranges of country New South Wales. With their organic union of dobro, guitar, harmony vocals, and elegant songwriting, this captivating duo are enthralling in their dynamic intimacy and embrace all that is subtle, spacious, and sensitive.
Mensch Monique! Cruise with compass in search of waves. Love a slow waltz down the boulevard. Get drunk on the storm and the calm before it. Peer down at the clouds from above and chew gum under water.. Mensch Monique! are the joie de vivre of Berlin/Kreuzberg Bohemia life on the land by the lake and the deepblue sea. Mensch Monique! are two voices, a guitar, and an acoustic bass. Mensch Monique are Jule Schroeder (ex The Beez) and Georg Sasspowski (Extreme Little Sleep).
Jodi Martin returns to Cobargo with a stunning new single, Love is Your Legacy. (and of course, a full show) Written in her hometown of Ceduna, this is Jodi at her raw and honest best. Following the momentum of her cheeky eco-single (Did Mother Nature Become a Criminal, co-written with Arlo Guthrie, the new single is an intimate journey through love and loss, steeped in the stillness and sparseness of the desert. Jodi is joined at Cobargo by her Candelo-based sister, Robyn Martin, to weave harmonies around songs that will leave a smile on your face and goosebumps on your skin.
With their debut album taking out three titles in the 2018 Australian Celtic Music Awards, Gone Molly are unique folk storytellers. Ghosting across ancient battlefields, through grimy London alleyways and down into the faerie dells, their rich lyrics and catchy choruses make for a compelling live show where audience participation is a must! Recently joined by talented multi-instrumentalist Lachlan Baldwin, this is an act you don’t want to miss.
Oh no! They’re back! Again! With their new show ‘Real Men Cry’, Glover & Sorensen are two blokes just having a chat with the audience about the realities of life. Sounds safe enough, eh? But with these two comedians onstage at the same time, bouncing off each other (verbally mostly, physically sometimes) it’s twice the laughs, twice the unexpected – and twice the trouble. It’s spontaneous fun (with some insightful bits). Each performance is different. Bring a helmet (and a tissue).
Here are some things the critics say about a man who first unveiled his talent at the Cobargo Folk Festival: “Daniel Champagne is a crossroads. Fusing the strong traditions of Blues, Folk and other roots art with pop showmanship and admirable lyrical ability. I firmly believe that he will become an ambassador for roots music in a time where it desperately needs representation. The word Prodigy seems to entirely fall short of this soft-spoken young man’s skills, he coaxes sounds and melodies out of his instrument that literally drop jaws.” The Calgary Herald, Canada” “Today I saw the future of Folk – Festival goers flocking in their thousands towards the main stage to witness a young musical phenomenon from Australia dish out an absolute show-stopper.” The Firefly Column, USA. Make sure you see him and make up your own mind.
“Spine-tingling” (Rhythms) and “extraordinary” (Fine Music FM), Chaika employ ethereal harmonies and myriad instruments to create textures inspired by Balkan vibrancy, Turkish markets, Celtic stories, and Eastern Europe’s stunning landscapes. Now releasing their third LP, Chaika’s members individually have written for and performed with truly diverse roster on stages all over the world, including Monsieur Camembert, Riley Lee, and The London Bulgarian Choir. “Enchanting” (The Australian) audiences from folk festivals to the world-class Sydney City Recital Hall, Chaika surprise and move listeners, journeying an unidentifiable era and landscape with music that sits firmly “outside the norm” (Timber & Steel).
No better way to start your day than joining Alan, Gavin, Moiré, Paula, Peter and Ray at the Slow Sessions. Over the years they have run dozens of sessions teaching traditional tunes, starting at the National Folk Festival in 2003, and now spreading their wings and strings to include a few festivals from St Albans to Cobargo. Whether you’re accomplished or a beginner, the focus is on fun and inclusion.
Well known as Stringfiddle in Heritage & Scottish Dance Circles, Bob and Jane enjoy extending their repertoire into other aspects of traditional music, from reflective beauty to wild excitement, bringing empathy and rapport to the interplay of fiddle and piano. And it wouldn’t be a Cobargo Folk Festival without Bob leading the sessions in the bar.
Making a return visit to Cobargo, The Black Mountain String Band is a celebration of string band music in all its forms. They combine fiddles and banjos along with guitar and double bass to draw from the well of tradition, while adding timeless sounding originals. Donal Baylor, Jacqueline Bradley, Matt Nightingale and Pablo Shopen- who’s father pioneered old time picking in Canberra with his band of the same name in the 1980s – cleverly arrange this wide range of material in a seamless presentation and will delight aficionados and new audiences alike..
Highly regarded in the Australian acoustic music scene for their vocal abilities, songwriting and musicianship, partners Ruth Hazleton (Vocals/Banjo/Guitar) and Bill Jackson (Vocals/Guitar/Harmonica) first joined forces in 2007. Individually and as a duo they have toured the UK, Ireland and the US and have recorded and released more than a dozen albums to wide critical acclaim internationally – Ruth as part of seminal Australian folk duo, Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton and Bill as a solo performer. The duo presents a combination of original songs and traditional songs from the Americana and folk music traditions
“This could be eight different bands from eight different corners of the world except it’s more like one fevered collective musical brain firing off ideas like skyrockets. Look, there’s one exploding above you right now,” wrote Bernard Zuel, in the Sydney Morning Herald. SMH. Mariachi, Balkan, New-Orleans swing, Spaghetti- Western, Cabaret, Film Score, Cumbia, Punk-Rock are all represented in this magnificent ensemble. Their recent LP, Home, received extensive radio support in Sydney including album of the week on Eastside Radio and airplay on community radio stations 2SER, FBi, ABC Radio National and RRR in Melbourne. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted.
Now Allan Stone is a poetry bloke, Otherwise known as Stonybroke. He’ll make you laugh and make you cry Or spin you yarns about pie in the sky. Raising awareness about Global pollution And how we all must be part of the solution and Three young lads, fresh out of luck Towed through the bush, by a big Mack truck A driver chap who gets into fights, First Nation people with sacred sites, There’s even a bloke who had a lamb, And Mulligan who blew out the lamp. So come along, get on yer bike When Stonybroke is on the mike
Baz has a long history of playing music of many genres in many parts of the world, from successful rock bands, to folk, blues and World music and has become something of a musical chameleon. All these influences come out in original songs and tunes and the music in Baz’s solo shows. Everything from piano boogie, to sparkling accordion features, to soulful ballads and songs that reveal his sense of humour; you never know what’s coming next!
The Western Flyers are one of the most exciting bands to glide on to the music scene in years! Their unique sound is a cross section of the Great American Songbook: classic western swing, hot jazz & swing standards, vintage country & cowboy songs, and electrifying old-time fiddle tunes. Dubbed “The Biggest Little Band in the Land”, the trio features archtop guitar-slinger Joey McKenzie, who brings his dynamic rhythm guitar style and smooth vocals to the band, along with Katie Glassman, 3-time National Swing Fiddle Champion and vintage-style singer extraordinaire, plus legendary double bass-player, Cary Black.
All the way from Co. Clare, Ireland, the prodigiously gifted Susan O’Neill’s soulful & husky-voiced performances are truly something to behold. Using guitar, harmonica, trumpet and a loop pedal, Susan delivers a timeless and powerful blend of the old & new. Her inspirational fusion of soulful folk & her own acclaimed original material makes for an entertaining & enchanting musical experience. Her performances at last year’s National Folk Festival are still being talked about.
Stiff Gins combine stunning harmonies and wicked senses humour to transport listeners to a world of joy, spirit and song. Their moniker is a reclamation of an offensive reference to Aboriginal women, a banner to guide their music in the direction of strength and pride. Three albums and countless breathtaking shows later, the name has become synonymous with musical excellence. Fresh off the stage from their epic visual theatre project Spirit of Things: Sound of Objects they are forging forward. In their nineteenth year they soar into their most intriguing music making yet with a new recording and sound design project in the works.
We don’t have enough space to list the achievements of Sharon Shannon, the button accordion player from Co Clare, Ireland. She has recorded and toured with a who’s who of the Irish and global music industry, including Bono, Adam Clayton, Sinead O’Connor, Jackson Browne, John Prine, Steve Earle, The RTE Concert Orchestra, The Chieftains, The Waterboys, Willie Nelson, Nigel Kennedy, Alison Krauss and Shane McGowan. Her 12 studio recorded albums to date have all been very different and groundbreaking, mixing traditional Irish with reggae, country, First Nation American, bluegrass, rap, dance, African, French Canadian. The genre-defying star has had multi-platinum album sales and has had several Number One albums, singles and DVDs in her home country. Sharon grew up in a rural community and is part of a family that all play musical instruments and traditional Irish music. However, her career took a massive upward trajectory when in the late 80s she was asked to join the seminal rock band The Waterboys. Her first show with that band, to an audience of 50,000, was the on main stage at perhaps the most well-known music festival on earth–Glastonbury. Here for the first time, in one concert, at Cobargo.
Who could forget their Eurovision and Sgt. Pepper shows at previous Cobargo Festivals. Shortis and Simpson are a cabaret duo who spend their time satirising politicians and bringing Australian history to life in shows that are humorous, poignant, informative and entertaining. And they’ve been doing it for a long time, clocking up nearly 100 years of experience between them. You can catch them at the festival in a few guises – doing satire, and taking a funny and moving look at the musical influences upon them and others.
Shane Howard is a prolific Australian songwriter, admired and respected for his integrity and commitment to music. His songs champion the cause of the common man, the environment and the injustices endured by Australia’s Aboriginal people. After 30 years of singing, writing and journeying the globe, from campfires to concert halls, he has consolidated his voice to become an important addition to the evolving folklore of modern song. Howard’s 13th solo album Deeper South redefines the boundaries of Australian folk music and reinvigorates it with poetic and musical mastery. The Shane Howard Trio features the mastery of Howard’s musical companions Ewen Baker (Fiddle. Mandolin) and John Hudson (Guitar, Dobro). The Deeper South show features songs full of music and poetry that are deep and dark, yet illuminated by great shafts of light. This is folk music, but not as we know it.
Prairie balladeer and veteran road warrior Scott Cook returns with a new intercontinental stringband, consisting of fellow Canadian Bramwell Park on banjo, and Aussie comrades Esther Henderson on fiddle and Liz Frencham on upright bass. These are sturdy, straight-talking songs, equal parts introspection and insurrection.” He sings his heart and soul, and in doing so lets light flood into your own… Truly one of Woody Guthrie’s children.” -RnR Magazine
Performing 150 shows a year worldwide, Nick is known internationally as “Australia’s virtuoso of acoustic roots and blues”. His 35 year career has seen him accumulate every conceivable accolade including Port Fairy Artist of the Year 2014, every blues award in Australia multiple times and twice winner of the Australian Song Contest. “The River Flows” was The Age Blues Album of the Year. He’s toured with John Hammond, Guy Clarke and Ralph McTell and performed more than 300 shows across North America. This is dazzling fingerpicking roots magic and a lifetime’s stories and songs from the world’s musical highways.
Known for his storytelling and powerful live shows – Luke O’Shea has a unique, yet classic Australian sound. A recipient of nine Golden Guitars & twice named the Australian Independent Artist of the Year – Luke carries on the ancient tradition of singing up the country in a very distinct and contemporary way and is a fitting heir to the bush troubadours of past. Drawing inspiration from the humorous and the heartbreaking, Luke O’Shea crafts and delivers his songs to connect with audiences on an unexpected deeper level.