Veteran guitarist Charles named Folkie's top artist

AFTER years of dedication to music and the Port Fairy Folk Festival, artist Nick Charles has been named this year’s festival Artist of the Year.

The Port Fairy Folk Music Festival Maton Artist of the Year award recognises an individual who has made a significant contribution to the folk music community and industry.

Festival director Jamie McKew said the blues and roots guitarist was a humble and worthy winner of the award, given to an outstanding act who had attended the festival for many years.

“They are usually revered by their peers and contribute a huge amount to music and Nick Charles is one of those guys,” McKew said.

“His light has been shining for a long time and we’ve been waiting for the right year to give him the big gong.”

Melbourne-based Charles has travelled the world for more than 25 years playing festivals and concerts.

“He’s a wonderful guitar player, he teaches people, mentors people and tours overseas regularly. He’s a genuine full-time travelling folk musician,” McKew said.

McKew said Charles was surprised and proud to be named Artist of the Year.

“I got another wonderful guitar player, Michael Fix, to get him on the (telephone) line. Nick was at a café and just about choked on his coffee he was so surprised.

“It would have never crossed his mind. He said he was delighted, really really stoked.”

McKew said it was important to recognise artists like Charles because it was hard to stand out in the Australian music scene.

“He’s been playing at Port Fairy for many years and he’s always been helping us out with the big guitar-themed concerts.”

This year’s Maton guitar concert is titled Planet Guitar. Charles will be presented with his award prior to the event on Saturday at 2.15pm at Stage Three.

This is the 19th year Maton Guitars has sponsored the award. Charles will receive a new ECW80C Heritage guitar, based on Maton’s iconic CW80 models from the ’70s and ’80s.

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