Port Fairy, you were amazing!

Wow! Just… wow!! That was amazing!

The curtain is closing on the 42nd annual Port Fairy Folk Festival and we could not be happier! Beautiful sunshine, smiling crowds and extraordinarily talented artists from around the world – it was a weekend to be remembered for all the right reasons.

Our heartfelt thanks to our army of volunteers who every year turn up in droves to ensure the smooth operation of a very complex event. It simply wouldn’t happen without you.

Our thanks also to the people of Port Fairy who welcome us into their hearts, homes and community for the long weekend. It’s not difficult to see how Port Fairy has been touted as the world’s most liveable small community!

And of course, thank you to YOU, dear Festival-goer, for being a part of the annual Folkie magic. We eagerly look forward to your thoughts and feedback about the 2018 Festival and can’t WAIT to see you back in Port Fairy this time next year.





Stage set for a magnificent Festival!

It’s finally here! Today marks the beginning of the 42nd annual Port Fairy Folk Festival!

And with the sun tipped to shine throughout the weekend, the stage is certainly set for a magnificent Folkie!

To help you get the most of your Festival experience, you can download the free Folkie app. The app not only details the full program, but it also helps you plan and personalise your itinerary so you’ll never miss your favourite performers.

More information about the app here.

Don’t have tickets yet? Great news – there are still a few available. But you’ll need to move quickly!

If you miss out on tickets, don’t despair. Thanks to the support of our friends at Visit Victoria, this year’s FREE Village Program has been substantially bolstered with more music, art and performance at various venues throughout the village.

On behalf of the Port Fairy Folk Festival Committee, we wish you a wonderful Folkie! We can’t wait to see you in Port Fairy!

FREE Village Program brings music to the people!


Port Fairy is set to hitch up her skirts to party this weekend with the long-awaited arrival of the annual Port Fairy Folk Festival.

But this year, the fun, vibrancy and colour will extend well beyond the Festival Arena with an expanded free Village Program! In fact, the entire village is set to come alive with music, art, performance and eclectic markets.

The free program kicks off on Friday evening with the All-Abilities Choir and opening parade, continuing into the evening with live performances at the adjoining Lecture Hall and nearby St Patrick’s Primary School Hall.

The Village Program, which continues throughout the weekend, includes book launches, yoga, dancing, workshops, book readings, art competitions and musical performances from a plethora of well known artists. The full program is available here: Village Program

All of that said, there are still tickets available to the main Festival event! So, regardless of how you prefer to enjoy your Folkie, the fun is accessible to everyone!

We can’t wait to see you this weekend!

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!



Our community heart

The Port Fairy Folk Festival is about so much more than great music.

Community is now and always has been at its heart. In the past 20 years alone, the Folkie has returned almost $3.5 million to the local community by way of grants.

Some of the more recent grants have included:

  • $750,000 for Moyne Health Services for its recently completed Primary Health Care Centre
  • $75,000 to the Port Fairy Cricket Club for an indoor training centre
  • $75,000 to the Port Fairy Surf Life Saving Club for a new training facility
  • $18,000 to the local indoor swimming pool, Belfast Aquatics, for solar panels.

There have been countless other smaller grants allocated to local clubs, groups and organisations, including the Friends of St Brigid’s, the Port Fairy Angling Club, a heritage boat project, Port Fairy Winter Weekends, the Men’s Shed, Tarrone Recreation Reserve, the Port Fairy to Warrnambool Rail Trail, the Koroit Irish Festival and the local Cemetery Trust, to name just a few.

Beyond the twice yearly grants program, the Festival also provides significant support for local, not-for-profit organisations who help us bring the event together.

Payments are made to those organisations whose members volunteer their time to assist with such activities as venue cleaning, parking and crowd control, security and more.

In what we consider to be the ultimate ‘win-win’ situation, the Festival has contributed the following amounts to local clubs and groups over the past 20 years:

  • $502,000 for gate security, crowd control and venue cleaning
  • $824,000 for operation of the Shebeen Bar
  • $700,000 for marquee erection and dismantling
  • $321,000 for venue hire for the popular community program.

It’s our way of giving back to the wonderful community of Port Fairy that each year opens its streets, venues and hearts to people from all around the globe for the annual Folkie.

Tickets are still on sale!

Minding your Ps and Qs – Folkie etiquette 101


If you wouldn’t know a Folkie chair if you fell over it or if you’ve never had the pleasure of doing the Folkie shuffle, this quick guide to Festival etiquette is for you.


Go with the flow! We invite you to get in the Port Fairy vibe and just relax. Almost all artists will be performing at least twice during the 2018 program, so there will be opportunity to see your faves if you miss out first time around.

Take a seat. We’ll be offering permanent, auditorium-style seating in Stage 3 at the 2018 Festival. For all other venues, you’re welcome to bring a rug or a chair. But unless you’ve got a note from your mum, we really do prefer you have a traditional ‘Folkie chair’ – the low beach chairs that you see slung across the shoulder of experienced Festival-goers everywhere – as opposed to a throne or step ladder.

Get in the zone. To make sure everyone gets a view, our larger venues will have line-markings to delineate areas that are OK for regular camping chairs, and areas for low, Folkie chairs. To avoid committing the ultimate Folkie faux pas (ie setting up a high chair in the midst of a sea of Folkie chairs), check the zones.

Dance like no one’s watching! We love to see folk up on their feet! But, because gyrating bodies can obstruct the view of seated patrons, we will have designated ‘dance zones’ marked. Dance-friendly venues will be highlighted on your Festival program, so if your feet are getting itchy, check your program to see where you can join other Festival groovers!

Do the shuffle! Between performances, our MCs will invite you to stand up, stretch your limbs and do the Folkie Shuffle! This clever little ritual not only guards against pins and needles (yours), but also ensures there’s room for others to come on in and join the fun.

Share the space. Reserving space for extended periods of time is a definite Folkie no-no (insert frownie face). By all means, pop to the loo, or grab a coffee, but if you plan to be gone for any length of time, please take your chair/rug and belongings with you. Otherwise, you may return to find another family has moved in to claim adverse possession in your absence! Don’t say we didn’t warn you.

Be a good neighbour. And whilst we’re on the topic of territorialism, do be kind to those around you. Try to avoid stepping on limbs (or heads) whilst picking your way through venues. And try not to spread out more than you need to. Manspreading is actively discouraged in Port Fairy!

Be kind to our volunteers. Our volunteers are almost all locals who are passionate about their community and their music. As volunteers, they don’t get paid enough to get yelled at, so think happy thoughts and give them a smile!


The Port Fairy Folk Festival all happens over the long weekend in March. Tickets are on sale right now!

Helping us to find our voice

Folk music has always played an important role in helping people to find their true voice. Over many generations, it has helped communities and cultures to transmit ideas, stories, histories and cultural practices aurally.

With this in mind, the Port Fairy Folk Festival has created a unique program to help a new generation of people to find their own voice. The Finding a Voice program includes a series of songwriting and singing workshops for all people – including those living with disability.

The workshops, hosted by musician Tom Richardson (pictured), will be launched by the Find Your Voice All Abilities Choir on Friday 9 March as part of the festival program.

Early this year, Tom will also conduct songwriting masterclasses with local secondary school students in our region as part of the Songwriting in the Schools Project. This project will culminate in a performance of the students’ original works on the Folk Festival Railway Stage on Sunday 11 March.

The Finding a Voice program, which was introduced to the festival program for the first time in 2017, will also feature artists Andy Irvine, Chris While and Julie Matthews and Nigel Wearne.

Festival tickets are on sale now!




Festival fun for little folk!

Proving that art and culture is not just for grown ups, the Folk Festival has created CRAFTworX – a super fun program of art and craft workshops for little folk during the 2018 Festival.

All the action takes place in the brightly decorated Children’s Arena, where children can choose from five concurrent, hour-long workshops with activities ranging from hula hoop action, tie-dying silk, juggling balls, making lanterns and more!

Tots under five need not miss out on the fun, with a special area set aside just for them and their parents or carers.

Workshops will take place on the Saturday and Sunday of the Festival, with registrations opening at 10am on each day. There is room for up to 1000 children across the two days.

It’s all part of our very cunning plan to introduce a new generation of Festivalgoers to the delights of art, music and culture! And we also know it provides an important reprieve for little ones (and their parents) from all the sights, sounds and movement of the Festival outside.

There is more detail about CRAFTworX here.

Third release tickets to the 2018 Festival are on sale until February 15, unless sold out prior.



Top 10 things to do in Port Fairy!


The Port Fairy Folk Festival has attracted more than 500 international acts in its 41-year history.

We’re convinced that it’s not just the chance to be a part of one of Australia’s most iconic music festivals that lures them here – it’s probably got a lot to do with the location itself.

You might be familiar with the Folk Festival, but there’s more to this little village than just seriously great music.

Here are our top 10 things to do in Port Fairy.

  1. Walk Griffiths Island. This lovely, 30-minute walk takes in protected beaches, the historic lighthouse and the Moyne River precinct. You’re highly likely to see the resident wallabies and, if you’re lucky, a pod of dolphins swimming just offshore.
  2. Hit the beach. Port Fairy is renowned for its sandy white beaches. East Beach is regularly patrolled by local Surf Life Saving Club members, whilst the protected lagoon Pea Soup at the south of the village is particularly popular with young families.
  3. Step back in time. Port Fairy is dotted with historic buildings and old whalers’ cottages, many of which are National Trust-registered. You might also take in Battery Hill, established in 1887 to protect the town from foreign warships, or the historic Port Fairy cemetery. Pop into the local Visitor Information Centre for a walking tour map.
  4. Do coffee. Or lunch. Or dinner. For a small village, Port Fairy punches well above its weight when it comes to food and dining. From casual cafes through to “hatted” restaurants, there is a smorgasbord of opportunity!
  5. Swing a club. Most serious golfers will already be well aware of Port Fairy’s 18-hole natural links course. It’s listed in the top 100 courses in Australia, after all.
  6. Watch the mutton birds arrive home. Port Fairy’s Griffith Island is home to a protected colony of mutton birds, or short-tailed shearwaters. The birds are a spectacular sight as they arrive back to the burrows after a big day of fishing. Best viewed at dusk each day over summer until about April when they leave on their annual Pacific migration.
  7. Indulge in some retail therapy. Explore boutiques and speciality stores, the likes of which you’ll not find elsewhere. Need we say more?
  8. Get arty. Port Fairy boasts a dynamic and vibrant arts community There are several galleries throughout the village, most of which are owned and operated by local artists.
  9. Go to market. There are several markets held in Port Fairy throughout the year, including a regular farmers’ market and, during the busier summer tourist season, art and craft markets.
  10. Get festive! No matter what your musical taste, Port Fairy is likely to have a festival to suit you! These include the Winter Weekends, Spring Music Festival, Jazz Festival and, of course, the iconic Port Fairy Folk Festival (tickets on sale now)!

We’re declaring our own war on waste!

Did you know that the majority of single-use coffee cups can’t be recycled?

Here at the Port Fairy Folk Festival, we’re waging our own war on waste! In 2018, we’ll be trialling the use of reusable coffee cups throughout the Festival arena.

Our committee has purchased 500 12oz re-usable, souvenir coffee cups for use at any of the five coffee vendors within the arena. They’ll be easy to spot as they’ll be emblazoned with the Festival brand.

And coffee lovers can rejoice in the fact that they will receive a 50-cent discount each time they refill their souvenir coffee cup!

We’re so committed to this idea that we made it a condition of trading at next year’s Festival that all coffee vendors had to agree to the discount arrangement.

And it will be up to individual vendors as to whether they choose to offer a discount to those who present with other re-usable coffee cups.

So pick up your special souvenir coffee cup at the 2018 Festival and join us in our ongoing war on waste!

Remember – Early Bird tickets end this Friday 8 December!