2017 Festival

Neil Murray receives the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival Maton Artist Of The Year Award

“Neil Murray’s music is powerful, seductive, honest and proudly Australian. His lyrical themes are as relevant to Australia as Woody Guthrie’s are to America.” 
- Billy Pinnell, Music Critic.

Gearing up for its 41st edition this 10-13 March, Port Fairy Folk Festival pays tribute to Australian musician, singer-songwriter-guitarist and writer Neil Murray who will receive the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival Maton Artist of the Year Award.

 Neil’s work as a songwriter and musician, from the early days as a founding member of the Warumpi Band, to Neil Murray and The Rain Makers and throughout a stellar solo career, has captivated audiences from everywhere. His extraordinary body of work includes songs My Island Home, first recorded with the Warumpi Band and then by Christine Anu, Good Light In Broome, Cleverman and Where My People Go are among a long list of songs that have captured the imagination of the country.

 Not only has Neil won the hearts of audiences for more than 30 years, he is also highly regarded by his peers and the industry as an artist who has made a significant contribution to music and culture. His life’s work has been a voice for reconciliation between white and indigenous Australians. 

From festivals, pubs and inner city venues, to indigenous communities, from inside jails and at house concerts and around campfires, Neil performs wherever an audience can gather. His body of recorded work is extensive, including 10 original CDs and 2 compilations, books Sing For Me Countryman, One Man Tribe (poetry), Native Born (song lyrics), stage play King for this Place and 2 children’s books: My Island Home and Blackfella Whitefella.

Port Fairy Folk Festival Program Director Caroline Moore says “We salute Neil Murray and thank him for his extraordinary contributions to our cultural world!”

“I believe that spirituality in the land is not exclusively Aboriginal; anyone can feel and be moved by its power. Neil Murray is testament to this. He is a true countryman and musical colleague of mine, and I recommend him highly as one of Australia’s best performing artists and songwriters.”
– Archie Roach, singer songwriter.

“For over thirty years, he has continued to break new ground and explore, profoundly and consistently, the relationship between Aboriginal Australia and Settler Culture in a way that few other Australian artists have done.”
- Shane Howard, singer songwriter.

“He may still be a treasured secret to those who believe. But Neil’s song legacy is breathtaking. Long may he keep the flame of observation, poetry and songcraft alive.”– Jim Moginie, songwriter, musician, producer, founding member of Midnight Oil.

Awards abound for volunteers and artists for Port Fairy Folk Festival

On Sunday 4 December The Governor of Victoria, The Hon Linda Dessau AM, presented the Port Fairy Folk Festival Committee with the Premier’s Volunteer Champion Award for Teamwork for Regional and Rural Victoria. The award was greeted with a rapturous applause at Government House. Representing the committee at the event were John Young, Vice President, Bernie Waixel, Treasurer, Gayle O’Keeffe, Secretary, Margaret Whitehead OAM, Bob Handby, Gordon McLeod and Shane Lenehan. Absent were Bruce Leishman, President, Ann Holmes and Jack Smits. The award was in recognition of the role the Committee and all of our volunteers play in producing such a wonderful event that means so much to the community, and leads the way in celebrating and profiling music and culture. The accolades were enormous, and we would truly like to thank every single person who has volunteered at Port Fairy Folk Festival during the past 40 years, this award is for you all.

We are also delighted that a long term friend, artist and host at the festival, Nick Charles was awarded The Age Music Victoria award for Best Blues Album 2016. Nick will once again perform at the festival and host The Guitarists, as well as the Port Fairy Blues Session which will feature Dom Turner, Phil Wiggins, Continental Robert Susz and the New Savages.

Congratulations to Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, who have been nominated for five Golden Guitars at the 45th Annual CMAA Golden Guitar Awards, to be held in Tamworth in January 2017. Their debut album Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart received nominations in the Duo or Group of the Year, Alternative Album of the Year, APRA Song of the Year, Heritage Song of the Year for the Kevin Bennett penned Goulburn Valley Woman and Bluegrass Recording of the Year for their song I Hear Them All. BBU member Lyn Bowtell picked up two further nominations in the Vocal Collaboration of the Year category for her duet Bartender Blues with Adam Harvey and a song she co-wrote called F U Cancer with good friends Beccy Cole and Catherine Britt. 2017 is shaping up to be a fantastic year for Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart ahead of their much-anticipated performances at The Port Fairy Folk Festival.

In the not too distant future we will be announcing the line up for our traditional themed concerts such as The Guitarists, Women in Song, Meet The Guests, and also announce our new themed concerts and Artist of the Year for 2017.

Committee members at Government House, Melbourne. From left: Gayle O’Keeffe, Bernie Waixel, Margaret Whitehead OAM, Gordon McLeod, Bob Handby, Shane Lenehan, John Young.
Nick Charles, winner of The Age Music Victoria award for Best Blues Album 2016
Bennett, Bowtell & Urquhart, nominated for five Golden Guitars in the 45th Annual CMAA Golden Guitar Awards

Just Announced for Port Fairy Folk Festival…

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is delighted to announce the final artist line up for 2017. We have a stunning array of artists from across the globe popping in to the glorious town of Port Fairy, Hailing from Mexico we have Mexrrissey who are taking the world by storm with their “delightful horn  infused love letter to Morrissey”, from Ireland’s shores  Aoife Scott, New Zealand’s Marlon Williams with his band the Yarra Benders, Juno Award winners Digging Roots and of course some of the best Australia has to offer such as Lior. For the full line up with so many artists to wax lyrical about visit the artists page.

Special Event

Brian Nankervis introduces … The Last Waltz Revisited One of the greatest concerts of all time, re imagined. Featuring The RocKwiz OrKestra, Vika and Linda Bull, the Last Waltzers horn section and some of Australia’s finest performers.

Originally held on November 25, 1976 at the Winterland Ballroom in San Francisco, as The Band’s farewell concert, ‘The Last Waltz’ brought together rock and roll royalty to pay tribute to everyone’s favourite group, The Band. Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Muddy Waters, Neil Young, Eric Clapton and others performed an incredible variety of well known and cult hits.

The Last Waltz Revisited

Filmed as a documentary by Martin Scorsese and released two years later, ‘The Last Waltz’ has developed legendary status as a concert, an event and a movie.

The set list featured The Band’s favourites and drew from their guest’s rich catalogues – Up On Cripple Creek, Forever Young, The Shape I’m In, Caravan, The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, The Weight, Mannish Boy, Further On Up The Road, Helpless, Coyote, I Shall Be Released – to name but a few!

Brian NankervisIntroduced by RocKwiz co-host and writer, Brian Nankervis, this is your chance to hear the stories (and the myths) behind the concert and to witness the incredible music, performed live by a star studded Australian cast.

The RocKwiz Team first performed The Last Waltz Revisited at The State Theatre at The Melbourne Arts Centre in December 2015 and received multiple standing ovations and rave reviews from the sold-out audience. Two nights at the Sydney Opera House followed … and now we are heading to the Port Fairy Folk Festival.

Brian Nankervis said “The Last Waltz is all about a band and their relationship with artists who they’d worked with and influenced. At RocKwiz we’ve been working together for eleven years and The Last Waltz guests are musicians we have worked with on and off for many years. There’s a great sense of trust and history and we all love The Last Waltz! The Melbourne and Sydney shows were wonderful and the chance to perform at Port Fairy is incredible!

Welcome to the beginning of the 2017 Port Fairy Folk Festival!

We have unveiled our wonderful festival image by non other than the legendary artist Reg Mombassa, have two artist announcements under our belt, and had the fairest of votes to create the Port Fairy collective noun for a massive ukulele ensemble … The Ukulele Ceilidh… and of course there is so much more to come.

From Ireland to Canada, the Netherlands to NSW, Northcote to London and Clifton Hill to Arnhem Land, Port Fairy in 2017 will be a UN of arts, culture and musical collaborations… Special events will abound and the most special of all is this wonderful festival that puts such a glorious spotlight on one of the most truly delightful villages in this great country of ours.