Port Fairy Folk Festival doesn't miss its chance to bask in the sunshine

Unearthed: WA's Stella Donnelly won over audiences with her razor-sharp lyrics, set to folk-rock tunes. Picture: Rob Gunstone
Unearthed: WA's Stella Donnelly won over audiences with her razor-sharp lyrics, set to folk-rock tunes. Picture: Rob Gunstone

THE Port Fairy Folk Festival has not wasted its chance to bask in the spotlight  with thousands flocking to the seaside town to be part of the iconic event.

Festival president John Young said the opening three days had gone smoothly.

“The whole amenity of the arena has been great,” Mr Young said.

“The changes we have made, like reconfiguring and making The Shebeen bigger have been winners. And Caroline (Moore) has produced a high quality and very even program. I think all those things have combined to make the punters very happy.”

Mr Young said the festival had fallen just short of selling out its 11,000 tickets. Those who did come through the gates enjoyed performances from established stars such as Mental As Anything, Rebecca Barnard and Troy Cassar-Daley. The Women Out Loud concert on Sunday morning proved popular, with the full house sign going up on stage three.  

As it always does, the Folkie introduced a swag of emerging artists.

Among those was singer-songwriter Stella Donnelly, who won over audiences with her razor-sharp lyrics, set to folk-rock tunes.

Donnelly, 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.”

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

Ms Herrara operated her Soul Sandals stall, specialising in – not surprisingly – sandals.

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

Police praised crowd behaviour in the town with only one arrest, for drunk and disorderly, recorded.