GALLERY: Hot time in the ol' town as Folkie crowds stay cool

PORT Fairy Folk Festival has again been marked by packed-out performances and good-natured crowd behavior labeled by police as the best in a decade. 

Busker Wylie J sings and plays his five-string guitar as part of the free street entertainment at the Port Fairy Folk Festival yesterday.

Busker Wylie J sings and plays his five-string guitar as part of the free street entertainment at the Port Fairy Folk Festival yesterday.

An estimated 25,000 people descended on the township during the long weekend for sold-out program events and a host of street concerts. 

Festival president Bruce Leishman said 11,000 tickets had been snapped up in the final weeks leading up to the festival’s 38th year. 

But changes are on the way — organisers are looking to add proper seating to all stages and reduce booking headaches. 

“We’ve tried to seat a lot more of the venues with permanent seating. We’ll look at that in the next couple of weeks and go full seating if we can,” he said. 

“One of the hassles we have at the moment is people trying to reserve their spots, particularly in stage three and stage one (the main stages). 

We want our 40th to be squeaky clean.” 

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He acknowledged fewer big names in this year’s line-up, citing costs and problems in finding accommodation for the headliners. 

“The bigger names now days are a cost factor. They are demanding more money,” Mr Leishman said. 

“The artists themselves may not be available. 

“We did try for Paul Kelly and Neil Finn but they had other things booked up.” 

Mr Leishman also conceded fewer people had hit the town’s main street for the markets and music at Railway Place and the Village Green. 

“I’ve heard that and the weather is a big part. If it gets really hot they’re going to go down the beach.” 

One festivalgoer was happier than most about the weekend. 

Port Fairy resident and Premier Denis Napthine walked through the festival yesterday afternoon. 

Wearing a festival T-shirt and hat, Dr Napthine used the weekend to celebrate a year in the top job. 

“It is a great to celebrate a year as pPremier of the state to come back home to Port Fairy and come to the best music festival in the world,” Dr Napthine said. 

“It has a year-round effect but it all also acts as a trigger for the Spring Music weekend on the long weekend in June.” 

Police were also pleased, saying crowd behaviour was the best in a decade. 

“It’s been fantastic,” Sergeant Mick Wolfe of Port Fairy police said. 

“There’s been a few penalty notices issued for alcohol, but there’s probably been six for behaviour offences involving alcohol. 

“So far it’s the best I’ve worked at. This would be my tenth year. 

“It took a while to turn it but I think people realised the nature and the character of the event.” 

No drink-drivers were detected on Saturday night while nothing was reported stolen. 

“There was nothing reported, which was amazing,” Sergeant Wolfe said. 

Irish musician Damian Dempsey performs, briefly, during day three at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Irish musician Damian Dempsey performs, briefly, during day three at the Port Fairy Folk Festival.

A photo of Barney McKenna from The Dubliners taped to Damian Dempsey's guitar.

A photo of Barney McKenna from The Dubliners taped to Damian Dempsey's guitar.

Ash Grunwald performs on day three.

Ash Grunwald performs on day three.

Ash Grunwald performs on day three.

Ash Grunwald performs on day three.

Kym Warner and Carl Miner, from The Greencards, warm up outside of the Shebeen Bar.

Kym Warner and Carl Miner, from The Greencards, warm up outside of the Shebeen Bar.

Archie Roach performs at the Folkie

Archie Roach performs at the Folkie

Archie Roach performs at the Folkie

Archie Roach performs at the Folkie

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine soaks up the festival atmosphere with 11-year-old Maudie Reading and 11-year-old Juliet Page.

Victorian Premier Denis Napthine soaks up the festival atmosphere with 11-year-old Maudie Reading and 11-year-old Juliet Page.

Caleb Venn (left) and Caitlyn Essler from Tate St Primary School, Geelong teach Premier Denis Napthine to play the Marimba.

Caleb Venn (left) and Caitlyn Essler from Tate St Primary School, Geelong teach Premier Denis Napthine to play the Marimba.

Premier Napthine shares a moment with wife Peggy backstage.

Premier Napthine shares a moment with wife Peggy backstage.

 Street performer Russell "Mr Qwirk"Gray puts on a show on Sackville Street.

Street performer Russell "Mr Qwirk"Gray puts on a show on Sackville Street.

 Street performer Russell "Mr Qwirk"Gray puts on a show on Sackville Street.

Street performer Russell "Mr Qwirk"Gray puts on a show on Sackville Street.

Crowds soak up the "Folkie Fringe" in Sackville Street.

Crowds soak up the "Folkie Fringe" in Sackville Street.

Lachie Payne, 7, from Port Fairy meets Marquisa Dór.

Lachie Payne, 7, from Port Fairy meets Marquisa Dór.

Patrons soak up the atmosphere.

Patrons soak up the atmosphere.

A festival patron finds a novel way to stay cool, as the temperature reached 33 degrees.

A festival patron finds a novel way to stay cool, as the temperature reached 33 degrees.

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Warrnambool musician Tom Richardson performs

Donna Simpson.

Donna Simpson.

Mama Kin.

Mama Kin.

Performer Celia Pavey.

Performer Celia Pavey.

 Margaret Roadknight.

Margaret Roadknight.

Grace Barbe.

Grace Barbe.

Jane Thompson.

Jane Thompson.