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2014 Festival Artists

Here is the line-up of Artists for the 2014 Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, featuring some of the very best Folk and Bluegrass and Old-Time country musicians from around Australia and overseas:

♦  Annie Lou Band (Canada)

♦  Chris Henry and Hardcore Grass (USA)

♦  Colin O'Brien  (USA)

♦  The Stage Hogs - Kirk Sutphin and Eddie Bond (USA)

♦  Tattletale Saints (NZ)

Appalachian Heaven  ♦  Astro Cobalt  ♦  Barkers Vale Brothers

Black Train  ♦  Cat Gut  ♦  Ceilidh Clan  ♦  Chloe and Jason Roweth

CloudStreet  ♦  Dan Parsons  ♦  Enda Kenny  ♦  Evan Mathieson

Fred Smith  ♦  Hardrive  ♦  Headland  ♦  Honey and Knives

Juzzie Smith  ♦  Kaloobafak  ♦  Karen Lynne Bluegrass Circle

Kym Pitman  ♦  Luciano Mesiti  ♦  Lucy Wise Trio

Margaret and Bob Fagan  ♦  Morgan Billy Goat Tucker

Oh Pep!  ♦  One Up Two Down  ♦  Putty Road

Rebecca Wright and Donald McKay  ♦  Sam and Gary Sheppard

Spirit of the Glen  ♦  Stray Hens  ♦  The Company

The Jiggles  ♦  The Mid North  ♦  The Morrisons

The Pitts Family Circus  ♦  The Resonator Brothers – Don & John

The Wish List  ♦  Tonchi McIntosh and John Bennett

and many more ...

The Foghorn StringBand

Foghorn StringbandThe Foghorn StringBand (USA)

Foghorn Stringband is the shining gold standard for American stringband music, with seven albums, thousands of shows, over a decade of touring under their belts, and two entirely new generations of old-time musicians following their lead. Through all this, they’ve never let the music grow cold; instead they’ve been steadily proving that American roots music is a never-ending well of inspiration.

From their origins in Portland, Oregon’s underground roots music scene, the core duo of Foghorn Stringband, Caleb Klauder, whose wistful, keening vocals and rapid-fire mandolin picking have always been the heart of the band, and Stephen ‘Sammy’ Lind, perhaps the best old-time fiddler of his generation, have spread the old-time stringband gospel all over the world, but they’ve also brought in new influences and inspirations from their many travels and fellow bandmates. Vintage country and honky-tonk became a staple of Foghorn Stringband thanks to Klauder’s intense passion for the music, and frequent visits to Louisiana have inspired the group to bring Cajun songs into the repertoire.

As the music has changed, the band has changed and reformed as well. Canadian singer and bassist Nadine Landry, from Québec via the Yukon, joined the band in 2008, bringing a wealth of experience as an internationally touring bluegrass musician. New member, singer and guitarist Reeb Willms, came down from Bellingham with a suitcase of old, vintage country songs and a powerfully beautiful, pure voice born in the farmlands of Washington State. It’s a new Foghorn Stringband these days, but the music is as furiously compelling as ever. For the group that first broke the good news about Southern old-time music to new generations, a new album and new tour dates are both a return to form and a fresh new start.

Wowing audiences across the US and around the world, playing over 200 days a year, Foghorn Stringband is one of the most sought after acts for festival stages and music camps, and are band mates for world renowned master old-time musician Dirk Powell and Cajun legends Joel Savoy and Jesse Lége.

Foghorn Stringband play the old way, the way you’d have heard stringbands play on Southern radio stations back in the 1930s. They don’t fancy up the music to make it more modern, instead they reach into the heart of the songs, pulling out the deep emotions that made them so enduring in the first place. Performing live, these multi-instrumentalists gather around a single microphone in the middle of the stage, expertly balancing their sound on the fly, and creating the rarest of music: songs that are at once wildly virtuosic and intimately hand-crafted. Foghorn Stringband play American roots music of the finest order.

"Portland’s Foghorn String Band stands at the top of today’s vibrant old-time music revival and a fine example of what an unending revival it is. Each album finds them deeper into the tradition, more familiar with the rich resources of roots music, and more focused, but still propelled by that undercurrent of punk energy." —Art Menius, WMMT

This year Foghorn Stringband are presenting a PRE-Festival Two Day Old Time Music Workshop (for Fiddle, Mandolin, Guitar, and Singing) on Thursday 24th and Friday 25th October 9am to 4pm. For more details and bookings please see our Workshops page.

Charlie Walden and Patt Plunkett (Patt & Possum)

Charlie Walden and Patt Plunkett (Patt and Possum)Charlie Walden and Patt Plunkett  (Patt & Possum) (USA)
Charlie Walden and Patt Plunkett play traditional old-time dance tunes from Missouri and beyond.

Charlie Walden has won dozens of fiddle contests in Missouri, Illinois and West Virginia. He is currently recognised as one of the best Missouri old-time fiddlers.  While intent on preserving and passing on the unique Missouri style and repertoire, Charlie is also an avid performer of traditional Bluegrass and other Hillbilly fiddle styles. He also plays guitar and mandolin.

Patt Plunkett has been dancing, calling and traditional square dancing for many years and is an accomplished clogger and step-dancer. She is particularly interested in traditional square dancing, especially Western and Appalachian-type square formations. She has called for the "World's Largest Square Dance" held  in Chicago, and will be calling our Friday night Hoedown Dance at Dorrigo. Patt plays keyboard and ukulele accompanying Charlie.
Recent and forthcoming engagements include National Folk Festival in USA and Canberra, Vandalia Gathering in West Virginia, Festival of American Fiddle Tunes, Harrietville Bluegrass and Old Time Convention, Appalachian Stringband Festival in Clifftop, WV and Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, and St Louis Irish Festival ... and many more!

Workshops: Flat-footing/Clogging Dance Workshop Saturday 10am - Main Hall

Missouri Fiddle (and Mandolin) Workshop - Sunday 12pm - Kurrajong Tent

Bluegrass Parkway

Bluegrass Parkway

Bluegrass Parkway
Authentic bluegrass music in the ‘40s style!

Fresh from Australia’s inaugural Bluegrass Music Cruise encompassing Australia, New Zealand and the Southern Ocean as well as a second ground breaking, triumphant tour of the United States, Bluegrass Parkway has just achieved the pinnacle of their performance career so far. Headlining three major festivals along with the cream of American bluegrass talent, the band has now established a firm foundation in the US market. These festival appearances, along with a series of very successful concert performances have combined to strengthen the band’s reputation as Australia’s most highly credentialed and experienced bluegrass band.
What has helped set the band apart from many others is the priority they have placed upon presenting Bluegrass music in its most authentic form. Bluegrass Parkway has just celebrated its 26th anniversary and since the early part of 1994, they have performed around a single microphone, as was the norm for the pioneers of the genre in the 1940s. At any Bluegrass Parkway performance the audience can enjoy a taste of bluegrass music 1940s style, strong three and four part harmonies as well as witnessing some pretty fancy footwork!

Bluegrass Parkway can claim a special link to the home of Bluegrass music, Kentucky USA. Maria Duff plays bass in the band and hails from the heart of Bluegrass territory, Lexington Kentucky. She was a casual member of the West Australian Symphony Orchestra for twelve years and teaches Suzuki violin. Maria has teamed up with Donal for some classic Monroe twin fiddle tunes.

Paul Duff has become renowned as one of Australia's premier mandolin builders, exporting the vast majority of his instruments to satisfy an ever-increasing demand from the United States. Paul met Maria in the early eighties while touring America gaining experience in musical instrument building.

The strong, tasteful banjo playing in the band is delivered through the very experienced hands of Mick O'Neill. Mick has also become a favourite with audiences because of his bass singing in the quartet. Mick’s experience and expertise in microphones and acoustic engineering is an essential part of creating the Bluegrass Parkway sound.

Donal Baylor has added to the authentic nature of the band’s sound with playing that draws upon his vast experience and understanding of the essential bluegrass fiddle repertoire. Donal’s knowledge of Bill Monroe’s fiddlers and their individual styles offers the audience a rare glimpse of how strong an influence they were on his music.

Wayne Perry is the newest member of the band and has already had a substantial career as a singer songwriter. A close associate of Bluegrass Parkway for well over twenty years; Wayne has added an entirely new dimension to the harmony structure of the band with his powerful voice. His strong rhythm guitar playing has also given the sound even greater drive.

Members of Bluegrass Parkway will be conducting a range of Workshops at Dorrigo including Bluegrass Mandolin, Western Swing Fiddle, Double Bass, and Vocal Harmony

Mustered Courage

Mustered CourageMustered Courage

Formed in Melbourne in 2010, Mustered Courage was born to bridge a gap between traditional bluegrass music and the Australian alternative music scene. Two long term friends collaborated with the goal to blend modern song writing with the instrumentation and energy of traditional bluegrass music. They play a healthy mix of originals and bluegrass favorites with a few cheeky covers thrown in.

"We love playing festivals and look forward to them more than any other performance opportunity"

Mustered Courage were 2012 winners at the Tamworth country music festival Battle of the Bands. They have garnered attention from the likes of the SMH, The Age & ABC Radio nationally with their debut self-titled album & single. The band is currently enjoying love from Triple J & CMC – in itself is a feat and a testament to the kind of band that gets people talking.

Blogs are already talking about Mustered Courage with one commenting recently that the band are “Following in the footsteps of string-heavy groups like the Avett Brothers and Mumford and Sons.”

Appalachian Heaven String Band

Appalachian HeavenAppalachian Heaven String Band is a lively, driving five piece Melbourne-based string band. They joyfully play traditional “Old Time” music of the rural south of the USA, mixed with some folk, blues, and country.

The musicians are Ian Alexander (clawhammer banjo), John Boothroyd (guitar, vocals), Maggie Duncan (fiddle, dance calling), Evan Webb (string bass), Kimberley Wheeler (mandolin/singer) and Graeme Fletcher (autoharp).

The band knocks everyone’s socks off with their exceptional musical skills and obvious love of the traditional material. They enliven concert stages, run square dances and give instrument workshops. Band members have extensive experience in dance-calling, and in teaching banjo, fiddle, autoharp and flat pick guitar.

The band’s repertoire is from the Southern Allegheny Mountains of West Virginia, Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky. The band loves to play, honour and share the music of the mountains. They sing happy and sad songs; they also want the audience up and dancing!

Appalachian Heaven has performed as a headline act at numerous festivals around Australia and New Zealand.

Workshops:  Intermmediate Clawhamme Banjo - "Getting in the Mode" with Ian Alexander Sunday 1pm - Kurrajong Tent

The Company

The CompanyThe Company are a Brisbane-based bluegrass band with a passion for high-energy acoustic music. From blindingly fast finger-picking to soulful songs with four part harmony singing, these blokes do it all. They’ve appeared at many of the major festivals in Australia and the UK and are highly regarded for their fervour and originality in the genre.

They come highly credentialed boasting two Australian Bluegrass champions on guitar, fiddle and banjo, finalists in mandolin not to mention numerous awards to their names from major music festivals in Australia. The Company includes George Jackson (Fiddle/Banjo), Michael Patrick (Mandolin/Fiddle), Markus Karlsen (Bass) and Jamie Clarke (Guitar).

"Fantastic! ... This band is raising the bar for acoustic musicians in Australia." - Hamish Davidson of the Davidson Brothers, 3-time Golden Guitar winner.

"Genre-busting, style-defying, marker-staking, bar-raisingly good. I know I am not alone in considering these guys to be the best band in town. Much of the country agrees. Or soon will, if this is their first taste". -Nick Weinert, Brisbane Folk Rag.

Carl Cleves and Parissa Bouas - The Hottentots

The Hottentots - Carl and ParissaCarl Cleves and Parissa Bouas
From heart wrenching, award winning ballads and rousing anthems to gripping stories, The Hottentots’ genre-busting songs have riveted and uplifted audiences from Berlin to Brazil, Madagascar to Melbourne. Classic folk melodies combine with exceptional lyrics and an international flavour, featuring Parissa’s ‘sweet, rich and soaring’ vocals, along with Carl’s warm rustic baritone, and guitar magic..

After extensive touring overseas, Carl & Parissa arrive with a wealth of new material, having recorded 2 CD’s on renowned German label, Stockfisch Records, to widespread critical acclaim: ‘Out of Australia’ in 2011 and ‘Halos ‘round the Moon’ in 2013.

Originally from Belgium, Carl Cleves is a contemporary of Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, Paul Simon, John Martyn and other great songwriters that emerged in the 1960s and 70s and with whom he shared the stages of the London folk clubs during the folk boom. But, unlike the above, Carl’s wanderlust led him to a life of travelling, following his muse, guitar in hand, to Africa, Asia, the Pacific, South America and Australia, where he has settled. Carl’s adventurous life has included stints as an antelope trapper in Uganda, relief worker in cyclone struck India, recording star in Brazil, radio broadcaster and ethnomusicologist in Africa and fisherman in the South Pacific. Carl’s first book, ‘Tarab: Travels with My Guitar” was published July 2008 by Transit Lounge.

An excellent guitarist, multi-award winning songwriter, singer and storyteller, Carl Cleves has won the coveted Australian Songwriter’s Assoc. Award for Best Lyrics and Best Folk Song, the national MUSICOZ award for Best Folk Song and has a shelf full of Dolphin Awards. His recent solo CD’s are: All Alone 2007; Tarab 2008. His latest CD The House is Empty 2012 has also been nominated in 5 categories at the 2012 MUSICOZ Awards.

Parissa Bouas is a talented singer/ songwriter and founding member of The Hottentots, with whom she has recorded 6 CD’s and performed for many years at all major Australian folk festivals, also touring to Germany, Brazil and Madagascar. Parissa has been performing, and composing, since childhood. Her classic, catchy songs are sung by choirs and performers around Australia.  Parissa’s songs have won NCEIA Dolphin Awards for Best Folk/World, Best Acoustic and Best Album, twice.

"Cleves and Bouas’s music is genuinely genre-busting. Sure, it is crafted out of folk-roots but somehow Bouas’s vocals, which are sweet, rich and soaring, actually reach beyond the usual folk styles… This is an original variation on folk and world music.”
Bruce Elder, Sydney Morning Herald

“Parissa has a voice that would aggravate angels with its beauty”
Philip Adams, ABC Radio National

Workshop: Voice workshop

Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys

Gleny Rae Virus trio Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys take the sizzle and swing of Midwest dancehall music and translate it to modern day Australia. It's western suits with dirty hands, fresh white cowboy hats with a little gunsmoke, tassled skirts with a spattering of mud!

Playboys Dougie Bull (bullfiddle) and Roy Payne (guitbox and lap steel) slap and bop, twang and holler while Ms Virus (Fiddle/squeezebox) stomps her feet and leads from the front.

In 2011 Gleny Rae Virus and her Playboys accepted an invitation to perform at the Americana Music Association Showcase in Nashville Tennessee. The trio was overwhelmed at the opportunity to play to enthusiastic audiences in the iconic Station Inn, Nashville, and augmented their American visit with performances in Austin, New Orleans, Kansas and Arkansas. American audiences were enchanted by Gleny Rae’s humorous and honest songs, all delivered with fiery virtuosity and passion. The trio will be returning to the USA to continue their foray into the homelands of western swing and hillbilly music.

Lucy Wise and the B’Gollies

Lucy WiseLucy Wise and the B’Gollies
Hailing from the far South Western corner of Australia, singer-songwriter Lucy Wise has delighted audiences across Australia, New Zealand and the UK with her unique blend of folk music influences and masterful storytelling. Her expressive voice and intricate ukulele playing create an intimate and moving concert experience as she explores themes both local and global.

This October she’s touring The East Coast with a trio lineup of her band, The B’Gollies, including Chris Stone (violin) and Holly Downes (double bass) from ‘The String Contingent’ who draw influence from their backgrounds in Celtic, American Folk and Classical music.

Their new album, When We Wander Far From Home (April 2013) is inspired by Lucy’s travels as a musician and her hopes for the world. The trio brings to life the characters of near and faraway places, their music traversing the landscapes of memory, travel and the small things that illuminate everyday life.

“A wonderfully natural singer and uncommonly gifted writer.” – Doug Spencer, ABC Radio National

“Simply beautiful contemporary Folk” – Timber and Steel

Listen at:

Watch at:

The Wish List

The Wish ListThe Wish List brings together fiddlesingers Emma Nixon and Nicole Murray, who invite other musicians to collaborate with them, exploring the possibilities of strings and voices. Surprising and joyous musical moments are revealed as their wish list grows!

What more could you wish for? At Dorrigo Emma and Nicole will be joined by Rebecca Wright (voice and cello) and Donald McKay (voice and bodhran). They will delight you with toe-tapping tunes and beautiful harmonies.

Winner of three Golden Fiddle Awards in both teaching and playing categories, Emma Nixon is a star of the Australian fiddle scene, her powerful and passionate performances of traditional and contemporary Scottish music enchanting audiences across Australia and around the world.

Emma also established and directs the Brisbane Celtic Fiddle Club and is in demand as a fiddle teacher at summer schools and workshops in Australia and the UK.

Prior to joining forces with Emma Nixon, Nicole Murray has performed with singer John Thompson as the duo "cloudstreet", recording seven albums and touring internationally and around Australia. A multi-instrumentalist and vocalist, she has concentrated on trad music, harmony work and song writing. Nicole plays flute, tin whistle and guitar and violin, and is an accomplished writer of songs and flute tunes.

Nicole's passion for traditional music, innovative arrangements and soaring vocals make her performances uniquely compelling. Nicole directs Brisbane's Morningsong Choir and is the founding director of the Brisbane Folk Choir.

This year Nicole will be conducting the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival Choir Workshop, which will have Workshop/rehearsals on Saturday and Sunday morning leading up to a performance on the main stage on Sunday afternoon.

Ceilidh Clan

Ceildh Clan

Ceilidh Clan Presents:

A Scottish Ceilidh Dance Party

Are you ready for a Highland Fling?  Grab your tartan and dancing shoes...

Saturday afternoon at 4pm the Main Pavilion comes alive to the sounds of traditional Scottish tunes and dancing feet when Ceilidh Clan lead a Scottish Ceilidh Dance.

Ceilidh Clan (Emma Nixon, Nicole Murray and Rebecca Wright & Donald McKay - from The Wish List) teach and call all the dances, so anyone can join in. They make it easy for those new or unfamiliar with Scottish ceilidh dancing.

“Ceilidh” is prounounced “kay-lee” to rhyme with “daily”, and is a social event where  there is Scottish or Irish folk music and singing, traditional dancing, and storytelling. It originates from an old Gaelic word meaning to visit - a social evening with companions and neighbours, a party with music and dancing.

It’s fun for all the family - see you there...


Ange Takats and Band

Ange TakatsAnge Takats and Band
Former foreign correspondent turned folk singer Ange Takats has a voice that is able to coat with sugar, crush with sadness and cut through to the soul of a song.

Named ‘Folk / Singer Songwriter of the Year’ at the 2013 Queensland Music Awards, Ange’s new album ‘Arva’ blends Americana folk with the sounds of 1930s jazz.

Strangely enough, she began her music career in Bangkok where she joined a folk rock band with a couple of whisky-swigging Thai musicians. Her worldly adventures and natural gift for storytelling have allowed Ange to develop a unique performance style – weaving light-hearted travel tales between darkly emotive songs.

She’ll be bringing her songs to life on stage with the help of violinist and backing vocalist Caroline Trengove, mandolin player Steve Cook and double bassist Tim Finnigan.

“Ange Takats has a bell-peal voice that has the DNA of Judy Collins's tonal purity and Joni Mitchell's emotionality” – The Australian

“Ange’s soulful voice evokes the joy of the Andrews Sisters one minute and the melancholia of Billie Holiday the next” - Music Without Boundaries, San Diego

Margaret and Bob Fagan

Margaret and Bob FaganMargaret & Bob Fagan are the original members of Australia’s pre-eminent folk music family, The Fagans, and have been delighting audiences both here and abroad for many years with their strong blend of politically-edged traditional and contemporary songs coupled with lyrical ballads and great choruses.

Margaret & Bob's repertoire is firmly rooted in the folk tradition, with songs coming from Australia, Ireland, Britain and the USA.  Margaret’s pure voice sits so comfortably with Bob’s superb guitar playing and their harmony work is legendary.

This year at Dorrigo, Margaret & Bob will present their much lauded concert/workshop on the Realist Writers. This fascinating collection of work looks at some of the many musical settings of the Australian poets who were members of the Sydney Realist Writers group. They were particularly active between the mid 1950s and mid 1960s, and include Dorothy Hewett, Merv Lilley, Jock Graham and Denis Kevans.

The Fagans’ most recent CD, Milk and Honey Land, was nominated for an Aria award.

The Steamgrass Boys

Bellyache Ben and The Steamgrass BoysBellyache Ben and The Steamgrass Boys

Fronted by brothers from the Blue Mountains, Ben & James Daley, Bellyache Ben and The Steamgrass Boys deliver high-energy original Australian folk music. Their unique approach forges elements of bluegrass, country, old-timey, and gospel into a twisted junkyard folk sound called Steamgrass.

From the sugar cane fields of North QLD to Old Fremantle jail, their stories are inspired by family, Aussie folklore and contemporary Australian life. Highly accomplished multi-instrumentalists and singers they are a modern day string band like no other, featuring, mandolin, banjo, guitar, harmonica, bass, 4-part singing, and veteran fiddler Marcus Holden.

A permanent fixture on the Sydney live music scene they have performed at major festivals around the country. They have also appeared on Fbi radio and ABC Saturday Night Country with Felicity Urqhart, and are the hosts of a monthly residency at Oxford Art Factory featuring domestic/international folk and country acts. Having released a studio and live EP through Sydney independent label Yum Yum Tree Records they have a new album is due for release in 2013.

"Maybe it’s their authentic storytelling; maybe it’s their super-fast yet melodic finger picking; maybe it’s their infectious “steamgrass” sound; whatever it is, the Steamgrass Boys are winning over Sydney audiences at a lightning pace" – Suite 101.

Workshop: Sacred Harp Shape Note Singing workshops (Mandolinist James has written a thesis on the music through the Sydney Con of Music, and is the founder of the Surry Hills Shape Note Singers,

The Lurkers

The LurkersThe Lurkers – Homespun Folk and Bluegrass music with a message. Featuring protest songs with an Old-time Bluegrass twist. With banjo, guitar, fiddle, double bass and three-part harmonies, it's acoustic hillbilly punk about environmental evangelism, super-profits, north shore pirates and the post-post-feminist revolution.    

Based in Sydney (Australia), The Lurkers are bringing songs of rebellion to a new generation.

With their song "Mining Man",The Lurkers are the winners of this year's 'Songs for Social Justice' Award, presented by the Alistair Hulett Memorial Fund. The Award, now in its second year, continues the legacy of Alistair Hulett, one of Australia and Scotland's leading political songwriters and performers, who passed away in 2010.

Rebecca Wright and Donald McKay

Rebecca Wright & Donald McKayRebecca Wright and Donald McKay’s music has been likened to that of a good Scotch whisky: delightfully smooth, full of character and highly addictive. With voices that can instantly transport you to another place and time, Donald’s traditional and original songs from his native Scotland are beautifully complemented by Rebecca’s insightful Australian originals and thoughtful selection of contemporary gems. Accompanied by requinto, cello, acoustic guitar and bodhran, their shows promise something out of the ordinary and bring you back to the heart of folk. Together they recently released their first album – “Joys that never weary” – recorded live in Glasgow.

Rebecca is possibly most well-known on the Australian folk circuit for her gracefully grounded solo performances and inspired songwriting. Since bursting onto the Brisbane folk scene at just age 16, she has played at countless festivals and folk clubs, including the world-renowned Woodford, National and Port Fairy Festivals. In 2008 she left Australia’s shores for the first time, initially embarking on a four month tour as guest cello-singer with the well-loved Aussie duo, Cloudstreet. It was on this tour that she met Donald, and consequently found herself living in Scotland for the next 3 years, where she was immersed in traditional Scottish music and culture. During this time, she also spent an eventful seven months touring Europe as cello-singer with the seven-piece folk rock outfit, The Wishing Well.

Born and bred in the lowland hills west of Glasgow, Donald has been singing traditional Scots songs for as long as he can remember. An active participant in his local (Houston) folk club since the age of 17, he has spent the last two decades honing his skills as a singer, guitarist and bodhran player. He has played in sessions all over the UK and beyond where he is always a welcome addition due to his vast repertoire and sheer love of the Scots song.

Since joining their songs and lives together, Rebecca and Donald have played at a number of folk clubs in Scotland, including The Wee Folk Club (Edinburgh), Falkirk, Houston and the Star Folk Club (Glasgow). They have also performed on the ‘Danny Kyle Open Stage’ at Glasgow’s high profile Celtic Connections festival and have been invited four years running to play in the historic Rothesay Castle on the Isle of Bute for the Friends of the Rothesay Castle’s annual St Andrew’s Dinner.

In April 2012, Rebecca and Donald returned to Australia. Their first official engagement was at the National Folk Festival, which was shortly followed by performances at the Maleny Music Weekend, the Wintermoon Festival, Palm Creek Festival and the Folk Redlands Music Festival.

Oh Pep!

Oh PepOlivia Hally (Guitar/vocals) and Pepita Emmerichs (Violin/Mandolin) write songs about travelling and the sea and travelling on the sea (and aliens/lust). In mid-2011 Paddy Montgomery (bouzouki/mandolin), Stuart West (double bass) and Justin Olsson (kit) began playing songs with Oh and Pep. This phenomenon was called Oh Pep!

After winning the songwriting award at Maldon Folk Fest in 2011 for their track ‘Fooling Around,’ Oh Pep! have played numerous Melbourne venues and festivals.

In September 2012, Oh Pep! released their long awaited self-titled EP at The Toff in Town to a jam-packed audience.

‘Oh Pep! are one of Melbourne’s best bands.’ Rich Davies, Rich Davies & The Devil’s Union

‘Big congratulations to Oh Pep! for last night’s awe-inspiring launch. In my opinion, Melbourne should be holding this band aloft and say “This is how you craft emotionally powerful music.” It’s just sublime.’ Les Thomas, Unpaved.

‘The more I listen to Oh Pep!’s songs the more I become addicted to their sound. The songs have such a down-¬to¬-earth feel with a creative use of different instrument sounds, percussion and impressive song structures which are supported by enchanting heart felt lyrics. I’d highly recommend listening to these guys!’ Zac Theo, Triple J Unearthed review.

Cat and Clint

Cat and ClintCat and Clint
Cat Moser and Clint Dylan O'Gradey
started performing as a duo in early 2009. Cat and Clint play their brand of Old-timey music, featuring Vocals, Fiddle, Banjos, Guitar and Banjo Ukulele.
The dynamic duo share a close musical relationship and years of knowledge in their craft. Their music is woven with sweet vocal harmonies, lively fiddle and banjo tunes. They stay true to the Appalachian tradition while adding their own twist.

Cat has played with acts like Devlish Mary, The Beenies and won 6th place in the old time fiddle competition at Galax,Virginia. Joined by Clint they make an unstoppable team.

They have performed at The Brunswick Music Festival, Maldon Folk Festival, Cygnet Folk Fest, Guildford Banjo Jamboree, Mt Beauty Muster, Floydfest (U.S.A) and The National Folk Festival to name a few.

Workshop:  Old Time Fiddle

The Three Marketeers


The Three Marketeers
started off as a trio of very old friends that got together playing a regular gig at the Rozelle Markets, Sydney, NSW, and have since gone on to perform at festivals around the country. 
The band consists of: Nigel Lever. Vocals, Mandolinist extraordinaire and wonderful Guitar player whose resume includes being a member of Karen Lynne- Bluegrass Circle, Acoustic Shock & Salt Creek. He has often sat in with Gleny Rae Virus & her Tamworth Playboys and many other bands who are in need of a versatile Mandolinist.
Jimmy Rush: Vocals, Amazing Flat-picking Guitarist & sometimes Clawhammer Banjo player. He has been a member of Acoustic Shock and is a current Member of Karen Lynne’s Bluegrass Circle. He is much sort after for Recording Sessions as are Nigel & Jenny
Jenny Shimmin: Expert 3 Finger Scruggs style Banjo player with years of Experience & New Clawhammer Player. Jenny Lived in the U.S for many years & has played with many of the Bluegrass Greats. Her Resume includes Reg Lindsay, Salt Creek, Grand Junction, Gravel Yard, O Willy Dear, The Mid North & Dogwater.
The Music of The Three Marketeers remains as true to Bluegrass Traditional Music as it can. The repertoire consists of standard Bluegrass songs and Instrumentals, as well as a smattering of Hank Williams Senior done Bluegrass style because we love him.
We think you will enjoy our music as much as we love playing it for you

Workshops - Banjo, Gutar, Mandolin

Oh Willy Dear

Oh Willy Dear
Oh Willy Dear! is a 4 Piece band whose Music consists of a blend of Bluegrass, Country, Americana, Old Timey & Folk. The range of music extends from Ralph Stanley & Kenny Baker, to Elvis Presley & Conway Twitty.

The band features Daniele Marando on Vocals & Rhythm Guitar. Daniele’s voice will touch your heart- a soaring Tenor that is poignant & strong. He will leave you wanting to hear more.
Daniel Babekuhl
features on Lead Guitar. Daniel’s knowledge of the Guitar is astounding, & his deliverance is exceptional & exciting. His harmony vocals blend effortlessly with Daniele Marando.
Anna  McInerney
is a classically trained violinist & an expert Irish Fiddler who brings her exceptional abilities to compliment the band’s musical repertoire. Her harmonies add that touch of sweetness.
Jenny Shimmin is a most accomplished 3 finger Scruggs style Bluegrass banjo player who has now added Claw Hammer playing to her Repertoire. Her experience allows her to play all kinds of contemporary music and adds the extra Bluegrass/Old Timey Flavour to the music.
The Music is fast, slow, sad & happy. The Audience will be well satisfied

My T Fine String Band

MyTFine String Band

Rod and Judy Jones have had the My T Fine String Band in various incarnations for almost 30 years, playing bluegrass and traditional Old-Time country music. They have played at numerous dances and concerts at the Bluegrass & Traditional Country Music Society in Sydney.

My T Fine have been regular performers at the Jackson’s Mill Jubilee Festival in Weston, West Virginia since 1986, and have appeared on the ABC, The USA “Today” Show. Also in a special on the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention, West Virginia Public Radio, Judy won the Galax Old Time Fiddler’s Convention Clawhammer Banjo Championship.

They will be sure to get your toes tapping and your feet dancing.

Chris Gillespie and The Time Being

Chris GillespieSinger/songwriter/guitarist Chris Gillespie has teamed up with Nicholas Mueller and Miriam Jones (from The Lurkers) to form an exciting and fresh new act dubbed ‘The Time Being’. The trio were brought together by jamming at a festival in early 2013 (and also by their shared admiration of the Paul Kelly bluegrass albums). Nick and Mim give Gillespie’s songs a whole new brand of rhythm and swing. So for the time being you can expect beautiful instrumentation coupled with meaningful and thought provoking words and “...harmonies [that] are downright gorgeous” (Tom Ballard Triple J).

Chris Gillespie has enjoyed a very busy and successful 2012 with the release of his debut album ‘Unnatural Light’. The title track spent an unprecedented 5 months in the top 20 of the Triple J Unearthed charts.

“It’s difficult for any independent acoustic artist to make a name for themselves in the shadow of the likes of Josh Pyke and John Butler. Yet somehow Chris Gillespie pulls this off with an earthy, unadorned and folksy panache... [He] creates an intoxicatingly addictive blend of country-infused folk rock that is at once familiar and unique” (Peter Walsh Rave Magazine, Brisbane).

Workshop:  Fingerstyle Guitar for Beginners

Mark Cryle

Mark CryleMark Cryle - Original Acoustic Roots Music

Mark Cryle, who respected Courier Mail critic Noel Mengel described as; "one of the best songwriters in Australia", writes, sings and plays guitar and mandolin.

In recent times Mark has been performing in concert with the members of The Company whose bluegrass virtuosity enriches Mark's delightful stories about his own and the nation's past.

Mark has recently added another first class CD, Sideshow Alley, to his canon of homegrown music - distinctly Australian, beautifully crafted and always insightful. Displaying the skill with words and music that have made him a household name in the Australian music scene, in Sideshow Alley Mark has created a collection of complementary and contrasting musical gems, polished to perfection.

Mark is currently engaged in a PhD on the history of the celebration of Anzac Day - his research will no doubt find its way into a new suite of future songs.

Workshop: Demystifying Songwriting

The Mid North

Scott Collins and the Mid NorthThe Mid North are a rip roaring bluegrass band from Bellingen NSW. They feature Scott Collins (guitar & vocals), "Banjo Bill" Faulkner (banjo, harp, vocals), John Woolhouse (mandolin, fiddle), Will Pregnall (double bass), Cath Cooper (vocals), and four part harmonies.  They are fast becoming known for their impressive live shows and great song-writing. 

The Mid North's sound is a melding of Old-time Mountain Music, Gospel and Front porch folk. Their heart-swelling music and catchy melodies have attracted fans of all ages.

They won 'Album of The Year' and ‘Country Song of the Year' in the NCEIA Awards 2012 and their first single Rosewood got to no.1 on the AMRAP Charts.

Their live shows are riotous excursions into the dance music of the past, the joy and sorrow of the human condition and all in sing-alongs.

The Dorrigo line-up will include special guest Jenny Shimmin on banjo.

"The debut Bluegrass (Americana) Album from 'The Mid North' is an amazing album from start to finish. The songwriting, production and performances are outstanding. It will become your next high rotation album. Well worth a listen" - Bellbottom Magazine

Starboard Cannons

Starboard CannonsBased in Byron Bay’s forested hinterland, Starboard Cannons is the creation of Ash Bell and Matt Bone. Fundamentally an acoustic duo, Ash and Matt have been writing and performing together since 2009. Over the last decade, Ash has established himself as a unique and hard-working singer/songwriter, performing both as a solo artist and with several bands throughout Australia. Matt has been part of the Australian alt-country scene for many years, playing many shows and festivals Australia-wide.

Many attempts have been made to describe Starboard Cannons‘ style of music; ‘Alt. Folk’, ‘Australiana Roots’, ‘Celtic Colonial’ are just a few. The sound is distinctively Australian, laced with the classically evergreen overtones of traditional Gaelic music. Ash’s lyrics tell the stories of ordinary people, small towns, far away countries and glancing thoughts. His Oz-inflected, natural delivery and the honesty of his words puts a human element and shines an introspective light into every song.

With a celebrated debut album
‘Somebody’s Opus , a reputation for captivating live performances and rapidly-increasing legion of loyal fans, Starboard Cannons remain focused on what is most important to them: having a great time. Performing as a 4-piece band with Jason Caspen (The Remains, Brewster Brothers) on drums and Steve Cook (The Barleyshakes, Tulca Moor) on fiddle and mandolin, The ‘Cannons live show moves through super-fast, bluegrass terrain, across the realm of the sparse and haunting folk ballad and head first into full-blown, beer-spilling, shout-along sea shanty territory.

“Drawing on folk and Celtic traditions as much as the contemporary movement, Starboard Cannons put storytelling at the forefront with deft instrumentation and deceptively sophisticated songwriting, all given a uniquely Australian spin thanks to Ash Bell's unadorned Oz-inflected vocals and suburban front-bar narratives.“
Andrew P Street - Time Out Sydney

“Backed by an arsenal of well-travelled traditional instrumentation, the duo’s dark tales of love and loss in the harsh Australian landscape turn ears in bars with ease, even stealing the occasional tear from the unsuspecting punter."
Lachlan Marks - Australian Guitar

Rhiannon and Monique

Rhiannon & Monique

Rhiannon and Monique

With groovy rhythms and heartfelt harmonies, Rhiannon & Monique play a mixed bag of trad tunes that have stood the test of time to songs fresh off the press from their own living rooms.

Despite being incredibly vertically challenged, this duo makes a big, warm and fuzzy sound that has enchanted audiences across Australia since the act kicked off in 2012. You could say their shows are a result of not being able to decide what their favourite style of music is - you came to hear Scottish tunes? You’ll walk away after the show humming a polska from Sweden.

Rhiannon & Monique hit the ground running when they won the 2012 FAA Folk Youth Award, which launched them into a crazy year of gigging, travelling, recording and laughing all the way. Their EP ‘Five for the Road’ was released at the Woodford Folk Festival in January 2013 and has reached as far as L.A. California, all the way to Estonia after their first international gig in Tallinn. The EP was crowdfunded by a team of wonderfully supportive friends, family and total strangers, and saw them nominated for “Best CD”, “Best Band Featuring a Fiddle” and “Youth Achievement” at the Tamworth Golden Fiddle awards. They took home the Youth Achievement award and plunged back into another year of festivals, including the National Folk Festival, Port Fairy Folk Festival, the National Celtic Festival and Neurum Creek. And the listeners speak…

“That song made me cry…” “Your music followed us all the way around Europe!” “I've been tempted to give up the cello - but there's no way I could after hearing Monique play” “Thank you so much, you made my day

The Barkers Vale Brothers

Barkers Vale Brothers

The Barkers Vale Brothers

Since their formation in 2009 The Barkers Vale Brothers have delighted audiences Australia wide with their digestible mix of dry humour and high quality acoustic bluegrass music.
Gareth Bjaaland on the five string banjo does most of the talking whilst his younger brother Vaughan Davies on guitar often chimes in with wry comments and sly observation.
Singing songs about murders, trains, cheese, women, animals and all things local, their complete dedication to the music and refusal to take themselves too seriously is warming and light hearted.
Don't miss these cheeky brothers all the way from Barkers Vale in the Northern Rivers region of NSW.

“The barkers Vale Brothers play their exciting brand of rootsy bluegrass with rare originality and humour”

“The sparkling 5- string banjo and squalling swampy harmonies leave you high on mountain music"

Chilly Strings

Chilly StringsChilly Strings Duo

Ray Chaber and Richard MacEwan have been playing and performing together for ten years in Chilly Strings, sometimes as a five piece stringband and last year as a trio. They are back as a duo this year performing oldtime tunes with fiddle, banjo, guitar and harmonica. They are especially looking forward to some good picking sessions around the festival with some of the great guests that are here this year.

The Jiggles

The JigglesThe Jiggles

Pop on your best tartan and learn to do fun Scottish dances with The Jiggles. It’s cool, it’s celtic, it’s ceilidh!

The Jiggles are a Brisbane based group of musicians specialising in traditional tunes and the teaching of Scottish traditional ceilidh dancing for kids.  A ceilidh is the traditional Scottish term for a bush-dance. Ceilidh is pronounced kay-lee, to rhyme with ‘daily’.

Happy celtic dance music and easy dances for kids (and their grown ups) are presented by wonderful Scottish players Emma Nixon, Donald McKay, Nicole Murray and Rebecca Wright (from The Wish List line up).

The dances are explained every time by Donald and then we add the fiddles, flute, cello and guitar.

The Pitt's Family Circus

Pitts Family CircusThe Pitt's Family Circus
Everyones favourite dysfunctional circus family are here!

Employing spectacular circus, quirky characters and more child labour than ever
The Pitts Family will impress, surprise, and touch you. (in more ways than one…)
Don't miss them.

A circus family in real life as well as in the show, The Pitts have toured Australia
and the world many times performing their original acrobatic comic stylings on the
street, at festivals, and in circus and cabaret. How marvellous!

Workshop: "A circus workshop for all ages with The Pitts Family Circus"


AkabellaAkabella is an acapella choir based in Bellingen, formed in 1989. There are currently around 40 members active in the choir. Since its beginnings, the choir has explored a wide variety of traditional and modern songs from around the world, and has also performed original pieces written by members.
Akabella usually perform locally at community events, and further afield, the choir has performed at national folk festivals in Canberra and Queensland as well as Bellingen’s Jazz Festival and Global Carnival, at various Mid-North Coast events, even at Taronga Zoo.
Since 2007, Akabella has been under the musical direction of Louise Gore; about half the choir's repertoire is arranged by Louise. The choir is non-auditioned and always welcomes new people. Come and listen to the rich sounds of a dedicated and enthusiastic bunch of singers from our local area.

Vic Manuel

Vic ManuelVic Manuel is a singer/songwriter who tells stories with guitar and ukulele through contemporary folk /roots songs. Vic inspires audiences with rich vocals and acoustic instrumentation echoing musical roots in old-time, folk, boogie and a touch of bluegrass. Currently based in the mid-north coast of NSW, Vic reaches out to audiences with a huge following wherever he plays. Vic Manuel and band perform his original songs with instrumentation including guitars, ukulele, piano, harmonica, fiddle, viola, double bass, and harmony vocals.
Vic Manuel has just released his long-awaited debut solo album Bury Me Deep, recorded in San Francisco and at Noiselab Bellingen, NSW, and featuring local and international musicians and singers.
Vic has been playing guitar and writing songs since he was 15. His creative energies have produced bands such as Mirkwood, the Mood, King Billy, the NDP, and Trunk Road on the east coast of Australia for many years, performing original material and inspiring other musicians. In the 2000s he toured and performed in the United States with notable guitarists Eric Schoenberg and Joe Miller.

Evan Mathieson

With his rich and powerful voice, Evan Mathieson accompanies his easy listening finger picking style on either the autoharp or guitar. He believes there are two sorts of music...good or he performs a diverse selection of great songs in many different styles.

Having had a 40 year love affair with the autoharp both as a skilled hand builder of the instrument, as well as a talented and enthusiastic player, Evan especially excels in good-fun, fast pickin' jam sessions!.

A Festival regular, Evan also returns to present another of his entertaining 'Autoharp Players' Workshops on Sunday at 11am. He  will also be performing in the Lunch Pavilion on Sunday at 3pm

On Friday evening from 9pm Evan and Lyn Mathieson will be hosting  an "Acoustic Transmission" Session in the Tallowood Venue. Come along for a session full of surprises.

Photo of Evan Mathieson at the Dorrigo Folk & Bluegrass Festival taken by Lindsay Mar © Lindsay Mar


Evan Mathieson

Photo by Lyn Mathieson ©PHOTO MATHIESON 2012
Caloobasak Jug Band

Caloobasak Jug BandCaloobasak Jug Band - Teana and Barry with Evan Mathieson

Teana Amor (singer,amateur film maker, writer of stories and scripts, and player of guitar and extraordinary washboard player)] was the wash board player for The Gut Bucket Jug Band from way back in the 1960's, inspiring Mic Conway and Jimmy Conway to take up playing jug band music.

Barry Martin plays jug, tea chest bass and is  an exceptional blues harmonica player. They team up with Evan Matthieson on guitar, kazoo and autoharp to create a peep back into a bygone era from which players today are still very much inspired.

Don & John - Resonator Brothers

Resonator BrothersDon & John - Resonator Brothers
Local musicians Don Ferguson Jnr. (vocals, guitar, mandolin and National resonator) and John Woolhouse (vocals, mandolin, fiddle and dobro), have made regular appearances at the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival in various line-ups over the years.

Don & John - Resonator Brothers take it back to the “Brother Duo” roots of the founders of Bluegrass music, exploring the rich gospel heritage of this format in a fresh way. The current line-up features Luke Woolhouse on Bass, and “brother” Rob Gale on assorted bones, spoons, harp & washboard.

Presenting early songs from the Monroe Brothers, Stanley Brothers, Louvin Brothers, Dailey & Vincent, Gillian Welch and more, along with original numbers, The Resonator Brothers provide the simplicity of two blended vocal harmonies, one guitar and mandolin, one shared heart and an obvious passion for this music and message that will touch your heart and soul, and lift your spirits.

Spirit of The Glen

Spirit of the Glen"Follow the Spirit" - Glen Innes based Skye McKenny and Col Pike share a life-long love of
folk music and in 2002 came together to form Spirit of the Glen.

Spirit of the Glen bring great harmonies and a variety of instruments (nylon guitars, whistles, harmonica, fiddle, mandolin, ukulele and the occasional bangey thing) to their extensive repertoire which includes traditional, original, celtic and contemporary folk songs and tunes as well as those of the folk revival era.

Regulars in numerous far-flung venues ranging from festivals, wineries, pubs and clubs to churches and paddocks, Spirit of the Glen appeal to young and old alike and were Winners of
The Australian Celtic Festival 2009 Triquetra Award.

The Travelling Teardrops

The Travelling TeardropsThe Travelling Teardrops present a folky blues style of roots based material and originals. Featuring an eclectic assortment of instruments – guitar, mandolin, dobro, ukulele, harmonica, double bass and accordion.

This newly formed 4 piece outfit comprises members of the premier Mid North Coast country blues band the Nitro Pilots, and bluegrass/folk exponents Mick and Nikki Legge.

Slim Jim

Slim JimSlim Jim
Slim Jim Hunt tells stories in song.and also celebrates some great australian songs played a with a bit more mountain style. The show he has prepared for the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival is based on banjo frailing style and guitar finger style.

Slim Jim has been performing professionaly as a blues/folk musician for twenty years. He has put in the miles in pubs, clubs and private funtions and has performed all around Australia in many different bands, duo's and as a solo performer.

Stompin Greg

Stompin Greg

Stompin' Greg in his own words:
"I have played harmonica in bands for more than 30 years and am now going solo doing raw stompin' Delta Blues. I play bottleneck slide on a resonator guitar, harmonica and sing with what I am told is my larger than life double bass voice.  I also use a 'stomp chair' / kick drum in my set called "The Acoustic Chair", friends tell me I should get the Electric Chair, so I am saving up..... I was given the name Stompin' by a friend who noticed I have leg-ilepsy when I play....  For many of my songs I use the traditional blues lyrics and write new and often quite different music to accompany them. I am passionate about keeping my music as raw and 'lumpy' as possible... "
Stompin' Greg is appearing Saturday 1:30pm in the Lunch Pavilion
Black Train


Black Train love nothing more than sharing their passion for old time songs with the good people of this world.

Based around the central figure of "Reverend" Kim Mclean, Black Train eschews modern technology in favour of instruments made of wood and wire. Like their instruments,the songs of Black Train are tried and true, drawing on a variety of influences including Woody Guthrie, the Carter Family, and the traditional music of the Appalachians.

Black Train engage wholeheartedly in the folk process,keeping the great old songs alive, whilst delighting in watching them emerge from the depths of time.

"…the  songs of Black Train might be new leaves and flowers, but the vine they come from was planted long, long ago.
Late at night, as the wind blows through that vine, it sounds lonesome yet beautiful, like the yearning of Man for that which always seems to be…Yonder. "

Michael Vlasto - Storyteller

Michael VlastoStory-teller extraordinaire Michael Vlasto returns to the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival this year for some fascinating and imaginative Story-telling workshops at the Kid's Tent.

A well-known local character, Michael was recently featured in an ABC Open short documentary video talking about his passion for story-telling and drama.