Folk Festival’s Open Stage Adopts Higher Profile
Open Stage registration in previous years has only been available on the day, at the venue, but this year interested acts can apply ahead of the festival long weekend.
(Strictly first come, first served – some spots are reserved for onsite entries)
Port Fairy Folk Festival’s popular Open Stage is moving to a new location this year, putting the unique attraction in front of what will be its largest ever audience.
Originally run to the side of the Village Green stage, then relocating to the RSL Hall for the past few years, in 2017 the Open Stage now moves to the town’s Railway Stage.
Run, and sponsored, by Just Guitars Australia, who present each year’s winner with a free vintage guitar, (of the winner’s own choice), the Open Stage performers receive around twenty minutes performance time across the Saturday and Sunday of the festival weekend. Following the final performance, the act deemed best of those performances is chosen as the winner.
Open Stage acts can be solo artists, duo, trios, full bands, acoustic, electric, a cappella, instrumental… and any style of music, from electronic to traditional folk, rock to sea shanties, and everything in-between.
Just Guitars owner, Kim Porter, says the stage not only provides a great chance for the artists to perform, but allows the festival crowd to hear a wide range of performers they might not otherwise have encountered across the weekend. “Plus, it’s the chance for me to give something back. I’ve had a lifetime of pleasure from people up on stages, with guitars slung around their necks, so being able to provide those players with a free performance stage – and the chance to win themselves a vintage guitar – it’s just a nice little bit of karma.”
As one of Australia’s leading vintage guitar dealers, Just Guitars handles in excess of quarter of a million dollars worth of rare, vintage and collectible guitars a year, ranging from under a thousand dollars, to custom orders that can top twenty, thirty, forty thousand dollars – and more. “Each year we handpick a selection of instruments – usually four or five – and bring them to the festival for the Open Stage winner to choose from. I think this is entirely unique around the world, in that the winner gets to select their own prize.”
“Acoustic guitars, electric guitars and basses, lap-steels, mandolins, banjos – pretty much every member of the guitar family has been represented over the years as options for the Open Stage winners to choose from,” says Kim. “We’ll be having a browse through our inventory in the next few days to decide what to bring with us this year.”
Open Stage performance times run from 3pm on the Saturday and 1:30 on the Sunday, with the winner’s announcement and presentation taking place at Stage One in the festival arena around 5:30 Sunday evening.