It brought in $9 million, 11,000 people and 90 performers, but for Woodford’s Nigel Wearne this year’s Port Fairy Folk Festival hit a high note.
Wearne, 38, a singer-songwriter who has been coming to the festival since he was 11 and even met his wife there, finally got to take centre stage as a solo artist.
“It was really special to play at a world class event, which the Folkie no doubt is,” he said.
“My main thing is songwriting, so to have an audience listen and interact like what happens in Port Fairy is fantastic. When you are on your own with just a guitar or banjo it can be hard to get heard, so this was a great opportunity to get myself out there.”
Wearne joined a line-up that included 25 international artists to perform at the four-day festival.
The star-studded line-up helped bring close to 11,000 people through the festival arena gates, with thousands more coming to town to take in the free fringe festival.
Festival program director Caroline Moore said she was thrilled with how the festival had gone.
“Our performers were incredible, people asked me who the headline acts were and I could honestly say everyone was a headline act. We had so much quality across the board, I believe they were all top-notch,” she said.
“There were some very special moments to have the Exile, Songs and Tales of Irish Australia, show played in Port Fairy, a place it really belongs, was amazing. So was Archie Roach, the Women Out Loud concert and Joe Camilleri and The Black Sorrows, they all lifted the roof, there were so many lifting-the-roof moments.”
Ms Moore thanked the festival’s Port Fairy-based volunteer organising committee, praising president John Young and his team.