Port Fairy Folk Festival a hit

The sun has shone brightly on day two of the 2018 Port Fairy Folk Festival with huge crowds streaming into the main arena at Southcombe Park.

Day two dawned with plenty of momentum after an opening night on Friday that left no doubt the iconic festival had lost none of its appeal.

The new look Shebeen tent, turned 90 degrees to provide more room and another entry and exit point for easier access, was a heaving epicentre with Australian rock legends Mental As Anything and the Melbourne Ska Orchestra producing stunning performances.

The Shebeen bar shift supervisor Peter O’Keeffe said trade was strong with the decision to bring together the Guinness and wine bars a popular one.

“It means people only have to go one place to get their drinks, it has certainly streamlined things,” Mr O’Keeffe said.

“The extra exit also worked well, at the end of the night people were able to get out quicker, the place only took 10 minutes to empty.”    

Mental As Anything were back on stage at the Shebeen at Saturday lunchtime while fellow high profile acts Troy Cassar-Daley, Rebecca Barnard and artists of the year Chris While and Julie Matthews were providing wall-to-wall star power.

And as isalways does, the Folkie introduced a swag of emerging artists.

Among those was singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly, who won over a big crowd at stage two with her razor-sharp lyrics, set to folk-rock tunes.

Donnelly, who hails from Western Australia, was thrilled to be part of the Folkie.

“When my manager signed me up the first gig he booked in was Port Fairy,” Donnelly said.

“He also manages John Butler and The Waifs, who are also from WA, and have played at Port Fairy before and loved it.

“I can see why they did, it’s a great festival and it has been lovely playing to an audience that is so attentive.

“I do tell stories through my songs so this festival is perfect for me.”

On Monday, Donnelly is heading off to the South South West Festival in Austin, Texas.

Another visitor who travelled a long way to be at Port Fairy was Michelle Herrera, who came from Sydney.

With her husband Alex, Ms Herrara operated her Soul Sandals stall, specialising in, not surprisingly, sandals.

It was the first time the couple had been to Port Fairy and was off the track they would normally tread.

“We usually go north for festivals, which makes sense because of sandals and warmer weather,” Ms Herrara said.

“We have friends that have been coming to Port Fairy for years and they convinced us to come down here.

“It’s been great, the nice weather has been handy as far as selling our sandals.”

The couple did adjust their stock somewhat for Port Fairy, bringing in some rubber boots.

Day three of the festival begins on Sunday from 8.30am.