Port Fairy Folk Festival was established in 1977 by Jamie McKew and members of the Geelong Folk Music Club. In 39 whirlwind years Jamie produced 40 outstanding festivals that put Port Fairy up front and centre on the world stage of folk music. This festival is now a part of the DNA of this wonderful township and reinforces its rich cultural traditions as well celebrating new and innovative music and art. In 2016 Jamie retired from his role as Director, and we salute him for his incredible years of service, not only to the Festival but to the broader community of folk music. Our Festival is something that makes us all proud and is certainly an iconic event for the state and the country, and has created outstanding opportunities for musicians from the region and indeed from across the world. Jamie will always remain, a person who has played an integral part in our long and proud history.
Port Fairy Folk Festival Inc. is a not for profit community association with a Committee of 10 volunteers who work tirelessly throughout the year to present this outstanding event.
Bruce Leishman: President: Manager – Sponsorship, Licenses, Insurances
John Young: Vice President: Manager – Community Liaison
Bernie Waixel: Treasurer
Gayle O’Keeffe: Secretary
Shane Lenehan: Manager – Ticketing
Bob Handby: Manager – Health, Food Concessions
Ann Holmes: Manager – Artist Accommodation
Gordon McLeod: Manager – Security
Jack Smits: Manager – Construction
Margaret Whitehead: Manager – Friends of the Festival Volunteers
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.
Committee members at Government House, Melbourne. From left: Gayle O’Keeffe, Bernie Waixel, Margaret Whitehead OAM, Gordon McLeod, Bob Handby, Shane Lenehan, John Young.
Derek Guille is a long time champion of the Port Fairy Folk Festival. He has hosted concerts at the festival for many years, and delighted crowds with his band The Ugly Uncles. During his time as a much loved broadcaster on 774 ABC Victoria he showcased our artists and celebrated the festival with his many listeners annually. The festival is privileged to have Derek as our Ambassador.