Our pick of the Folkie

STAYING THE COURSE: The Black Sorrows, with Joe Camilleri out front, will play at the Port Fairy Folk Festival this weekend. They are among our must-see acts at the festival.
STAYING THE COURSE: The Black Sorrows, with Joe Camilleri out front, will play at the Port Fairy Folk Festival this weekend. They are among our must-see acts at the festival.

The 42nd instalment of the Port Fairy Folk Festival is about to arrive with the first act hitting the stage on Friday afternoon. We look at the some acts you just can’t miss in what is a star-studded line-up. 


THE musical journey of this talented performer has produced some significant milestones. These include winning Triple j unearthed, a victory that opened many doors in the music industry. She has played on the same bill as Paul Kelly, Ben Lee, Pete Murray and the Go-Betweens. She has also achieved international reach, claiming an award at the USA Independent Music Awards. As well as her solo shows on the Friday and Saturday of the Folkie, Koh will also take part in the Meet the Guests and Women Out Loud concerts. 


WHEN it comes to Australian bands that have stood the test of time, few sit higher than the Black Sorrows. With the inspirational Joe Camilleri out front, the Black Sorrows have consistently delivered the goods since they formed way back in 1983. Camilleri’s lofty standing in Australian music is evident by his elevation to the ARIA Hall of Fame in 2007. The Black Sorrows will play shows on stage one on Sunday and Monday. 


MADE up of  Paul McDermott, Tim Ferguson and Paul Livingston, this music-comedy trio are enjoying a memorable second coming. First formed in 1984, the Doug Anthony Allstars shot to stardom and stayed there until calling it a day in 1994. But an itch needed to be scratched and in 2013, the boys got the band back together. While it had been a break of almost two decades, time had not diluted their ability to win over an audience and before they knew it, the Doug Anthony Allstars were back playing to full houses across Australia. They even spread their wings internationally, making an impact at the 2016-17 Edinburgh Fringe Festivals. The Doug Anthony Allstars will be at The Shebeen for a breakfast with Derek Guille on Sunday and later that night will play an adults only concert on stage one. 


SOUTH-WEST acts the Southern Ocean Sea Band and the Tin Shed Singers will lead the Shanties at the Wharf session, which will take place at the wharf at King George Square on Saturday at 4pm. This part of the festival was started and overseen for many years by the late Danny Spooner and will no doubt serve to honour his outstanding contribution to the festival. 


IF you love the guitar, then the Port Fairy Folk Festival is definitely the place to be. On Saturday at 11.30am on stage two, The Guitarists concert will be held. This will be hosted by former festival artist of the year Nick Charles and will feature Harry Manx, Jeff Lang, Jimi Hocking, John Hudson and Julz Parker.


There have been plenty of special events at the 41 Port Fairy Folk Festivals that have passed but 2018 may just produce one to eclipse them all. The Fairy Tale of Port Fairy – The Pogues Songbook, will pay homage to the great Irish band and their iconic lead singer and songwriter Shane McGowan. It is a stellar line-up of artists and songs and includes Rebecca Barnard, Steve Poltz and the Southern Ocean Sea Band (Fairytale Of New York), Sásta (Irish Rover, Sally MacLennane) and The Teskey Brothers (Rainy Night In Soho). This tribute concert will be held at 10.30pm on stage three on Saturday night. Don't miss it.

Gordie MacKeeman and His Rhythm Boys

Gordie Mckeeman brings with him to Port Fairy what is perhaps one of the best nicknames at the festival. Mckeeman is affectionately known as ‘Crazy Legs’ thanks to what is described as his “frenetic loose-limbed step-dancing”.  

This Canadian fiddle player has forged a reputation for his exhilarating live performances and will play four shows over the weekend, two on Saturday and one on Sunday and Monday.


No one can ever accuse the Port Fairy Folk Festival as being dull. The Hillbilly Goats have a colourful look and an energy that brings to life old time blues and roots music.

The trio have been Golden Guitar finalists and have produced three albums of mountain music, with their own unique take. Oh and by the way, band member Bryce Wearne has a pretty cool mohawk going on. Hillbilly Goats will be in action on Fiddlers Green, The Shebeen and stage two.


A veteran of the Australian country music scene, Cassar-Daley is the perfect fit for the Folkie. He tells stories through his songs and will play to appreciative audiences who are keen to share the journey of those on stage. As well as his own shows, Cassar-Daley will also be part of the Exile: Songs & Tales of Irish Australia, performance.


This is a young performer making a name for her herself in a hurry. Clare is a celloist and singer-songwriter who moulds folk and classical music to create her own sound that has audiences not only discovering her but coming back for more and more. She has already been named the Folk Alliance Australia’s Young Artist of the Year and has claimed the Ros Hales Award for Women in Music.

She will play a variety of venues over the course of the festival including the Lighthouse Stage, Saint John’s Anglican Church, Wishart Gallery and the Lecture Hall.


This gives the audience the chance to get their own time on stage and join voices and take their festival experience to another level.