THOUSANDS of music lovers braved the heat on the weekend and soaked up all that the Folkie had to offer.
The 37th Port Fairy Folk Festival lived up to the hype, with buskers and street performers entertaining hundreds on Sackville Street.
Big name acts Tim Finn, Xavier Rudd, Kate Miller-Heidke, Shaun Kirk and Glen Hansard didn’t disappoint and local artists Tank Dilemma, Tom Richardson Project and Shane Howard were popular.
Festival director Jamie McKew said the festival ran like a dream
“The feedback from punters and artists has been great,”he said.
“The London Klezmer Quartet said it’s the most organised festival they’ve ever been to and they’ve been to festivals all around the world.
“It just shows we have a fantastic, committed committee and volunteers who love doing what they’re doing and seeing it a success.”
Last year there were problems with mobile phone reception but Mr McKew said there had been few issues this time.
“There was one hiccup, one band missed a gig due to illness but they’re back on deck now,” he said.
“It’s all pretty shipshape.”
Mr McKew said it was difficult to put a number on the financial boost that the festival brought to Port Fairy.
“It’s the equivalent to 50 full-time jobs,” he said.
“The real measure is the cultural impact a festival event like this has.
“People talk about the gross domestic happiness index. The community draws strength by it.
“It’s a small town and district all working together to make one of the biggest and most successful events in the state.
“The south-west feels part of this. It’s theirs.
“We started off with a couple of hundred people under a tree and a band on a truck.
“We’ve come from four bands on a truck to 600 artists at 22 venues around the town.
“It’s taken on a life of its own. Whatever that is it’s a wild ride.
“I’m just relieved when it works.”
Mr McKew said he would see as many acts and performers as he could, from children’s face painting to Tim Finn.
“Tuba Skinny, Red Molly and the Nymphs, they were all great,” he said.
Performer Jonathon Acorn, from Auckland, looked after traffic control.
Asked if it worked, as dozens ignored him, Mr Acorn said of course it did.
“It’s reverse psychology,” he said.
It was Mr Acorn’s fourth attendance and he said it was the number one festival for him. “It’s my favourite,” he said.
“The people are so great. At first I thought it was going to be punky punky but it’s funky funky.”
But for those who didn’t have a ticket for the main event there was more than enough happening in the streets for entertainment.
Hamilton friends Sonia Kaur and Indra Mari soaked up the atmosphere at the Railway Stage listening to the funky sounds from The Cactus Channel.
“There’s great music and a great atmosphere,” Ms Kaur said.
Tim Michelle, aka Timothy Terror, was a hit with children when he juggled a chainsaw, knife and grenade.
Originally from Toronto, it was the street performer’s third visit.
Port Fairy police have been delighted with the behaviour of those attending the festival.
Leading Senior Constable Greg Creek said yesterday that only one person had been locked up during the first two nights of the festival for being drunk.
“We had one drunk on Saturday night but generally people have been very well behaved. Police are delighted,” he said.
“Other than the single-vehicle car accident on Friday night there have been no other incidents of a serious nature,” he said.