All Folk & Bluegrass News

Musical Happenings on The Folk and Bluegrass Scene

Dorrigo folk and Bluegrass Festival Inc. are well on the way to presenting the 16th Festival , to take place at the Dorrigo Showgrounds and various locations throughout the town.

The dates for this year’s festival are the 27th,28th and 29th of October. We are also working at holding a Folk Music workshop before the festival featuring some of our overseas guests.

In the meantime the music continues and we have something lined up for the next four months. We hope that you and some friends will get to one at least of the gigs. We have already presented The Whitetop Mountaineers from Virginia and local artists Montgomery, Church and Alesa Lejana, both evenings were wonderful and inspiring with lovely companionship and stories.

But to the present and we are very lucky to be able to host on April 5th at Food Angel Café from Denmark, Fromseier+ Hockings.

Bookings are recommended and $50.00 covers the duo and a delicious meal.fromseier hockings

Ditte Fromseier and Siegfried Hockings met in the Copenhagen Folk-session scene and have since played together in numerous constellations. Invited to play at The North Atlantic Fiddle Convention in Scotland in 2010 as a duo they realised that the duo was an outstanding way to challenge themselves and to create new original music.

Since then they have toured the world and developed an extremely rare natural intimacy in their music.

Ditte comes from the little island of Bornholm, trained as a classical and folk violinist and has a Master of Arts from The University of Limerick and from The Carl Neilsen Academy in Denmark.

Sigurd comes from Alken,Jutland and inspiration for his very individual and accomplished playing style comes from both Scandinavian and Celtic music tradition

In May there is the chance to come and have breakfast in the evening as The All Day Breakfast Stringband from Montreal visit Dorrigo.

 all day breakfast stringband

June sees Sally and George , from the U.S on Saturday 3rd of June

 sall and george

and then in July we are holding a fundraiser for the Megan Hall on the 29th featuring The Pitts Show,The Barkersvale Brothers and Watling and Bates.

More news of these other great evenings as they get closer.

We are very lucky and privileged that these performers choose to stop in to Dorrigo as part of what is quite often a hectic schedule between larger Festivals and concerts.

Please come along and share your company and friendship whilst supporting live music .

Redlands Bluegrass Boys and Wayward Angels

Coming down from over the Queensland border we welcome back the Redlands Bluegrass Boys who have been playing together for 18 years. They have played at the festival over the years and in the tradition of good bluegrass players are still going strong. Relatively new comers to the scene, all female group the Wayward Angels, pack plenty of punches, great harmonies and tight instrumentation.
Redlands Bluegrass Boys was formed in 1998 by a group of enthusiastic acoustic musicians based at the Redlands Modern Country Music Club.

Redland Bluegrass Boys 2016 640The group includes Allen McMonagle (vocals, guitar, fiddle), Neil Wills (mandolin, guitar and vocals,) Fred Hudson (banjo and vocals),Bill Turner (guitar and vocals) and Tom Steginga (double bass and vocals)
Together they perform a range of traditional bluegrass songs and instrumentals and demonstrate the tight vocal harmonies and acoustic instrumentals solos epitomised by this style of music.
The band specialises in great vocal harmonies and they play a wide range of bluegrass influenced music. They each have been involved in many different forms of music including country, pop, country rock and Australian bush bands.
In 2016 Redlands Bluegrass Boys released their second CD with 10 tracks of their favourite bluegrass items.

wayward angels bio pic 2016 640Wayward Angels are an all female bluegrass outfit who have been impressing audiences with their sweet vocal harmonies and picking prowess since forming in 2013.
Lead vocals are shared equally between Kay Armstrong (banjo), Jody Bell (mandolin), Brenda Lee Kelly (guitar) and Anne-Marie Lawton (double bass) in a dynamic variety of bluegrass covers and originals, seasoned with a dash of old-timey, alt country and instrumental tunes.
The Girls met through a local Brisbane bluegrass jam session and decided to join together to bring a taste of bluegrass with a feminine edge to Brisbane audiences
They released their first CD in May 2016 with funding from Moreton Bay Regional Council and Arts Queensland.

Cielle Montgomery, Kimberly Wheeler & Rebecca Bastoli

Cielle Montgomery 640 2016People come from all walks of life and their songs are a reflection of that. From the following three artists you'll be able to share those journeys.
Cielle Montgomery is a Singer/Songwriter known for her captivating stage presence and ability to move audiences with her soulful, resonating sound. Audiences will be treated to an intimate listening experience consisting of tracks from her upcoming album "Walking Free", which features James Church on Dobro,as well as songs by a range of artists that inspire James & Cielle as songwriters. With their combination of undeniable chemistry, skillful acoustic instrumentation and vocal harmonies, this is a musical pairing not to be missed.

Kimberly Wheeler 640 2016Kimberly Wheeler is a Modern folk singer and storyteller, playing new folk originals and re-imaging of the old in a trad acoustic delivery incorporating guitar, bass fiddle, clogging and oft' joined by a banjo or fiddle player.
Her award winning original songs are lyrical & quirky. Widely respected as a singer, upright bassist and member of Little Rabbit, Uncle Bill & played with the renowned Dan Hicks in his time in Oz.
“My songs often start with an inkling or a seed of a feeling and a little groove.” she says. “when I write a song, I always think it will come out sounding like ‘oh brother where art thou’. I am shocked when this doesn’t happen. It almost never happens. Instead I get a new song, and I am happy when that song stands on its own”




Rebecc Bastoli image 2016 640Rebecca Bastoli is a folk singer/songwriter from Sydney releasing her crowdfunded debut EP “Stranger” at the beginning of 2015.
Since then she has performed at Festivals such as the National Folk Festival, and The Illawarra Folk Festival. Her songs are insightful reflections on relationships, travels and life’s fleeting connections that are at once melancholy and hopeful.
Rebecca Bastoli immerses you in stories and dreams, with songs that are both lilting and disarming.
“It boggles my mind how talented Rebecca Bastoli is – in such a short time she has mastered both the guitar and mandolin and written some of the most poignant songs I’ve heard in ages.” -Timber and Steel

Rose & The Sea & Ruby Gilbert

Having female artists in the music scene is very important to our festival. This year we have several emerging female singer/songwriters including Rose&theSea and Ruby Gilbert.

Rose and the Sea 2016 640When Rose&theSea perform, their voices melt into each other, allowing you to drift away into a world of luminescent harmonies that will leave you mesmerised. Both inspired by some of the great story telling genres of blue grass, contemporary folk & country music their songs leave you lost in the surprisingly familiar scenarios of love and loss.



 Ruby Gilbert 2016 640

Ruby developed a love of country music at a young age. Raised on a mountainside at Moorina, Queensland, Ruby has recently been gaining industry interest due to her songwriting, which focuses on dark, honest tales well beyond her years. In 2015, Ruby attended the prestigious CMAA Academy of Country Music.

Mick Daley, Harry Jakamarra and Jed Rowe

Mick Daley 2016 640We have a great line up of festival headliners but that's not what Dorrigo is all about. Mick Daley, Harry Jakamarra and Jed Rowe and many of our other performers may not be called headliners but that does not mean they are any less important to us. Dorrigo is about bringing people together through music, its where you'll find the headliner's giving their time to lesser known performers joining up with total strangers in a jam. Music is accessible to all and brings us together without barriers so please do check out the smaller venues where you will find some absolute gems.

Best known as frontman for internationally touring act The Re-Mains, Mick Daley  is a Singer and Story Teller of some renown.
He has previously played at the Dorrigo Bluegrass Festival in The Lonely Horse Band, a collaborative writing project with Tonchi McIntosh.
Mick’s new solo work, which returns to his folksy, hitching-around-Australia-thinking-he-was-Bob-Dylan roots, kickstarted at the 2014 Majors Creek festival and in pubs and clubs around NSW and Victoria.
Mick has a plethora of Songs and Stories from his countless day on the road, with these ballads and dirges he delivers a rich history as a genuine Australian folksinger.

Harry Jakamarra 2016 640Harry Jakamarra grew up in Broome, WA where he started playing the guitar at age 12 (after seeing the Warumpi Band perform) was gigging at 13 and by 18 was studying the music of India and North Africa right at the source. Including a narrow escape from a music festival in Mali that rapidly descended into a civil war.

Take West African desert blues, old Appalachian stomp, grungy folk rock and a few wild stories. Throw in rusty campfire pot and stir with a banjo.
Harry released his impressive debut album in 2010.
Now 23 Harry has recently created a powerful follow up, produced by legendary Australian musician Jeff Lang.


Jed Rowe 640The son of two musicians, Jed Rowe grew up in rural NSW and relocated to Melbourne in 2003 he is an acclaimed singer/songwriter and guitarist. In 2015 he shed his band and went solo for his 3rd album “The Last Day of Winter” which was also produced by ARIA Winner Jeff Lang. His music walks the line between country, blues and folk, featuring rich vocal harmonies from The Stillsons. In 2014 Rowe toured internationally for the first time, playing 25 solo dates in Europe in just 24 days. Rolling Stone described his music as “Heartland alt-country shot, through with nostalgia.”

Join us in creating a sustainable future!

rubbish room

A couple of exciting developments are happening for this year’s festival.

Firstly, to divert our recycling and composting waste from landfill we are instituting a system of staffed ‘Rubbish Rooms’ where festival patrons will be asked to deposit their waste / recycling / compostables into separate bins. This system has already been used successfully at the Blue Mountains Music Festival the Winter Magic Festival

All food vendors have been asked to provide only compostable or recyclable packaging and utensils. No plastic will be allowed.
There will be no ordinary rubbish bins in the festival or camping grounds. There will be a special staffed Rubbish Room for campers.

Our second innovation is filtered water bubblers where patrons will be able to fill their own water bottles with crisp, clean, filtered Dorrigo water. We hope this will reduce the need to buy bottled water. We thank Bellingen Shire Council for this initiative.

Camping - Powered Sites

The Powered Camping Sites at this years Festival are now sold out. There are still spots avaialble in the Main Ring if you are self powered, and plenty of unpowered camping sites left. Remember camping sites are on a first in best spot basis.

The Festival Team

John Flanagan, Liz Frenchman & Robbie Melville

John Flanagan 2016 640Another one of the admirable components of Dorrigo, and other small festivals, is the way the artists collaborate together and support each other. For example this year we'll see Liz Frencham sharing her recent work with Robbie Melville, supporting John Flanagan and also Fred smith.

This component applies throughout the weekend whether its in a jam or on stage. You never quite know who's going to be lending a hand. There is always going to be something unique in the concerts; a surprise element.

Combining 60s and 70s folk singer/songwriter influences with a contemporary Americana/bluegrass sound, " John Flanagan has proven himself a songwriting force to keep an eye on” (Timber and Steel).
John recently released his latest album, ‘There’s Another Way to Where You’re Going’ which was recorded in Nashville with producer Viktor Krauss and he has been touring to packed country halls, live music venues and intimate house concerts all around Australia and Canada.
Fred Smith Portrait by Geoffrey Dunn 2016 640He currently plays alongside festival favourite Liz Frencham (double bass/vocals) and bluegrass virtuoso Dan Watkins (guitar/mandolin/vocals) in a dynamic trio characterised by warm vocal harmonies and impressive acoustic arrangements.

A small town in rural Victoria was the accidental meeting place for Liz Frencham and Robbie Melville when they crossed paths in a café in 2013 and soon were seeking every chance to play together.

From their first rehearsal it was evident that a lengthy musical relationship was on the cards. The obvious chemistry between the pair is intensified by a willingness to never play any song the same way twice.
Frencham’s warmth is met by Melville’s beautiful harmonic dissonances, and every nuance is distinct.
LIZ AND ROBBIE 2016 640Liz has a ongoing, slowly-evolving collaboration with Robbie, she says it is is a seemingly bottomless source of joy and adventure. "We have tentatively emerged onto a couple of attentive stages this year but it still feels like an embryonic form of what we are capable of".

Slim Dime & The Plough

Slim Summer 2016 640Won't be long now until the programme is complete and ready for your eyes. Here are two more great old timey influenced bands Slim Dime and The Plough.

Slim Dime are an acoustic, folk, country, americana duo from Melbourne’s Dandenong Ranges.
Their music references the simplicity and space of old time mountain music, fog soaked valleys and mountain ash forests: a blending of rural and urban.

Their debut album, recorded at Incubator Studios by candlelight "Hold Fast” is a mesmerizing country folk journey, with solid song writing and beautiful renditions of traditional songs. Stay tuned for the second album due for release 2016.
Listen close, you can hear fog soaked valleys, mountain ash forests and the grit of gravel road.

The Plough 2016 640The Plough are an Old Time String Band that play high-energy Appalachian style Old Time, Gospel and Bluegrass music.
Their debut CD, 'Reap What You Sow', has been described as “harking back to those authentic field recordings of the 1940's” (Judith Jones, Bluegrass Bulletin).

As well as playing many Australia Festivals, such as The National, Turning Wave, Hill End, Gulgong, Karuah, they have also toured Sweden and Ireland in 2015. The Plough originates out of the Sydney Old Time and Bluegrass Society and is passionate about keeping the old music alive and relevant.

Omados & The Squeezebox Trio

Omados 2016 640As preparations for the festival continue with a frenzy we are welcoming spring here on the plateau as energetically as the final winter wind is leaving.

For something completely new for the 15th this year we have Omados playing traditional Greek music. Omados is the personification of battle noise, meaning the sound of two armies colliding on the battle field.

From the northern regions such as Thrace and Macedonia, the mainland such as Epirus and Peloponnese, and the islands such as Crete and Ikaria. Utilising instruments such as violin, gaida and tulum (bagpipes), clarinet, laouto (lute), oud and various percussions, the members of the band take pride in representing the traditional music of regional Greece.

14212000 1058942217493512 3185789957073497300 nWe are very happy to welcome back one the festival favourite from last year Sydney act The Squeezebox Trio who take the driving rhythms of 1930’s Django Rienhardt and combine them with the intensity of Eastern European Balkan music to give one hell of an energetic performance.

Purveyors of Gypsy Swing, add in a few Russian drinking songs, some Disney film classics, more than enough self-deprecating humor and there you have it. The boys have just returned from a successful tour of New Zealand and now have their sights set on the Great White North for an extensive Canadian tour later this year.

Catgut not performing at Festival

We are very sorry to announce that old timey band Catgut will no longer be playing at this years festival.
Some words from the band:

"Catgut are very sad to pull out of the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival due to unforeseen work and life commitments. We have loved playing and jamming at Dorrigo in previous years and hope we can do this again in the near future."

Appalachian Heaven String Band and the Black Mountain String Band.

Applachecian String Band 2016 640Also providing the very loved genre of Old Time music we have Appalachian Heaven String Band and the Black Mountain String Band.

Appalachian Heaven Stringband delight audiences young and young-at-heart.

They play Appalachian mountain music with gusto and authenticity, learnt directly from the masters during regular visits to the USA.
From sensitive and driving fiddle tunes, dance tunes with curly toes, to cheeky songs and disarmingly touching ballads, The band loves to be participants in community music events and share their skills and knowledge through workshops (clawhammer banjo, old time fiddle or autoharp) and open jam sessions.

Black Mountain String Band 2016 640The Black Mountain String Band is a celebration of old time string band music, where fiddles and voices harmonise with the rhythms of the banjo, guitar and double bass.

They continue a legacy left by the first Black Mountain String Band - Pablo’s father’s band from the 1970s, which pioneered string band music in the Canberra region.


Festival Poster with all Performers

2016 Poster A3 A4 v1 1



Ash and Andy - Catgut

Ash and Andy 2016 640We love our Old Timey music here in Dorrigo and these two bands are no doubt going to provide you with the warmth of Old Time music which they have grown up on.

Ash & Andy are a dynamic Old Time duo performing both traditional and original repertoire.

With powerfully uplifting vocal harmonies and driving fiddle and banjo duets, their sound evokes a simpler time when this music served as a uniting communal pastime and provided a lively atmosphere for rural house parties and dance halls throughout Appalachia.




Catgut Band 640 2016Catgut grew from the seeds of Appalachian old time traditions,they can usually be found in leafy parks, cosy bars and on front stoops around Sydney's inner west, picking away at old time dance tunes, singing in three-part harmony and venturing into the improvisatory genre of spacegrass.

In 2015 the band recorded an album of songs and tunes from the National Library's Oral History and Folklore Collection as part of Mim's Folk Fellowship project on the history of bluegrass and old time music in Australia.


The Company

The Company DSC 4512 640Whilst one of the co founders of one of Australia's greatest Bluegrass bands (The Company), George Jackson, has moved to Nashville, we are super pleased that he will be returning to release a new cd with The Company and continue to bring great Bluegrass to Australia's music scene.
The Company have a passion for high-energy original and traditional acoustic music. Boasting two Australian Champions, The Company have a passion for high-energy original and traditional acoustic music on guitar, fiddle and banjo, the playing and singing is crisp, melodic and soulful.

In concert you witness the band’s virtuosity but also a wry humour and engaging camaraderie, they are highly regarded for their originality.

The Company are releasing their third studio album titled 'Six and Five' with the offical launching taking place on the 5th of November in Brisbane.
Oct 21st/ 22nd Dorrigo Festival /// Dorrigo, NSW
Oct 28th Polish Club /// Canberra, ACT
Oct 29th Hotel Gearin /// Blue Mountains, NSW
Oct 30th Petersham Bowling Club /// Sydney, NSW
Nov 3rd 63 First Ave (Mother’s Milk Cafe) /// Sawtell, NSW
Nov 5th St Augustine’s Anglican Church /// Hamilton, Brisbane, QLD
Nov 6th Arts Worx Theatre, USQ /// Toowoomba, QLD
Nov 13th Fremantle Arts Centre /// Fremantle, WA
Nov 19th MountainGrass Festival /// Harrietville, VIC
More dates coming soon…

The Pitts Family

Pitts Family Circus 640 2016Once again we have the incredible The Pitts Family Circus providing the festival with laughter and entertainment for all ages. When The Pitts Family aren't putting on one of their amazing shows or workshops, the Little Big Top becomes an intimate music venue.

The Pitts Family will impress, surprise, and touch you (in more ways than one…) employing spectacular circus, quirky characters and more child labour than ever, come along and see a real family circus perform a spectacular, funny and heart warming show under the big top!
You’ll be entranced by the beautiful high trapeze, muscular acrobatics, the curious art of human foot juggling, lightning fast upside down banjo playing and maybe even a bit of baby juggling!

With humble beginnings fifteen years ago, The Pitts have toured the world seven times and grown into a charming family circus.Don't miss them.



Combining the ancient traditional sounds of Bluegrass and Old Time Music with laconic, provocative songwriting and dry banter, The Barkers Vale Brothers from NSW are slowly but surely developing a cult following on the Australian folk festival circuit.

the barkersvale brothers 640 2016Sharing a member with their sister act The Pitts Family Circus means Gareth and Vaughan will put on a show that you won’t forget.
Caution: Some tunes may contain partial nudity, inverted banjo playing and pyrotechnics.

Waterfall Way

Thanks to Henry for introducing us to this website. Here is a great blog written by Matt Horspool telling of all the natural hidden treasures in our picturesque town of Dorrigo and surrounds. Make sure to plan some sightseeing on the festival weekend as well as listening to and participating in music!

Festival Dances Friday Night & Saturday Night

Haywood Billygoats 2016 640Our two dances over the weekend have become favourites for many festival-goers. The weekend certainly wouldn't be what it is without the hoedown on the Friday night and the Ceilidh Saturday afternoon.

This year we have The Haywood Billy Goats (USA) providing calling and driving tunes for the hoedown.

An old time string band out of Chatham County, NC, the Haywood Billy Goats have become one of the most respected string bands in the North Carolina old time music scene.

Their tight, hard-driving sound and repertoire of traditional NC dance music has earned the band top finishes in a number of reputable string band contests throughout the region as well as numerous ribbons for twin fiddling.

Holding great appreciation for older-generation musicians in the traditional music community,the Billy Goats have spent considerable time playing with and learning from many respected old time musicians from the Round Peak and Piedmont regions of North Carolina.

The Ceilidh will be run by local group the “Fireside Celts and Friends" who are an eight piece group that interweave Scottish Smallpipes with guitar, keyboard, whistles, harmonium, banjo, harp and a variety of Celtic percussion to voice Scottish and Irish melodies. Many of these tunes found their way into Australian Bush and Appalachian Folk music.

Hear some of the best local players strut their stuff playing lofty airs, uplifting marches and the full range of Celtic dance styles, such as strathspeys, reels, jigs, hornpipes and polkas.

Both the Haywood Billy Goats and Fireside Celts have other performances and workshops during the weekend :) Keep Well!

Rowena Wise

Rowena Wise 2016 640Introducing one of our youngest singer/songwriters for this year: Rowena Wise is a Melbourne-based award-winning indie folk songstress who has grown up with music, touring nationally and internationally from a young age in the Wise Family Band.

With influences drawn from 60's folk tunes and contemporary folk singer-songwriters, Wise plays with a believability that defies her 22 years. In the vein of Feist and Rufus Wainwright, she lays pop-infused melodies and rich, quirky conversational lyrics onto a sparse folk canvas.

Check her out in this youtube clip:

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