Music of the people

What is folk music, exactly?

It’s a question we’re often asked, and not an easy one to answer. Traditionally, folk music was used in many world cultures to convey stories and histories across generations through music and song. The original composers are often lost in time, but that’s OK. Because folk is an evolving artform.

Today, it’s a broad term that can refer to the traditional music that is still played across the world, or to the more recent form that arose during the 1960s. This more contemporary form had a focus on acoustic instruments and thoughtful lyrics that spoke to the social changes taking place at the time.

The Port Fairy Folk Festival chronicles the evolution of the ‘music of the people’. Our 2018 program, for example, features legends of traditional folk alongside masters of jazz, rock and pop. Drawn from across the globe, our performers each have their own stories to tell.

Folk music is not one, single genre. It is, after all, driven by the diverse peoples and cultures of our ever-changing world. The one constant is that it reflects the stories of a particular time and place. And that’s only part of what makes folk music so special to us.

See you in Port Fairy soon!