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Australian National Folk Festivals - history

rich-joy 20 Apr 02 - 08:55 AM
rich-joy 20 Apr 02 - 09:05 AM
Bob Bolton 20 Apr 02 - 09:13 AM
rich-joy 20 Apr 02 - 10:59 PM
Hrothgar 21 Apr 02 - 02:41 AM
rich-joy 21 Apr 02 - 05:24 AM
GUEST 22 Apr 02 - 12:38 AM
Hrothgar 23 Apr 02 - 04:06 AM
rich-joy 19 May 02 - 07:52 AM
Hrothgar 21 May 02 - 07:44 AM
GUEST,Bugsy @ Work 21 May 02 - 11:33 AM
Bob Bolton 21 May 02 - 11:31 PM
rich-joy 22 May 02 - 05:23 AM
GUEST 22 May 02 - 09:38 AM
Bob Bolton 22 May 02 - 06:37 PM
Hrothgar 23 May 02 - 06:00 AM
rich-joy 16 Mar 06 - 08:56 AM
rich-joy 12 May 06 - 03:43 AM
Bob Bolton 12 May 06 - 07:42 AM
rich-joy 12 May 06 - 08:38 AM
rich-joy 13 May 06 - 02:06 AM
The Fooles Troupe 13 May 06 - 02:15 AM
rich-joy 12 Feb 09 - 05:15 AM
Sandra in Sydney 12 Feb 09 - 06:01 AM
GUEST,Gerry 12 Feb 09 - 06:39 AM
Rowan 12 Feb 09 - 04:34 PM
Bob Bolton 13 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM
Hrothgar 13 Feb 09 - 01:05 AM
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Subject: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 08:55 AM

Hi There! Friends have recently been trying to work out which National festivals they've been to and WHERE they were (the latter is of course easier to answer now, as they're fixed in Canberra!). I tried searching The Net for a list but couldn't come up with anything, except Shirley Andrews' history of the first one in Melbourne in 19??.
Does anyone know of historical data, in general, on-line about the Nationals???
Or can 'Catters gradually compile a list of when and where???

Another part of this query amongst my Friends was what Workshops did they put on at which Festival - and who was in them??? (I would've expected Folkies to keep better archival records than they do, but I guess quite a few neurons are lost at each festival!!!)
Now I would've assumed that some enterprising Folkie would've put all this info on a website by now, but if they have, I can't find it and I would very much appreciate the links.
I would also love to see some historical data about the older Oz folkies (from ALL states, not just NSW and Victoria!!) - why wait until they die, fercrisakes???!!!
Cheers!! Rich-Joy

PS


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 09:05 AM

sorry, that "PS" got swallowed when I accidentally hit the SUBMIT bar!!!
I was GOING to say : I know of the wonderful potted history profiles from The Folk Rag Mag of Brisbane, run by June Nichols - but what about the other states???

And yes, the answer to my ?? was February 1967 for the first National Folk Fest in Melbourne ... Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 09:13 AM

G'day Rich-Joy,

I think you have started on the wrong foot trying to put "enterprising" into the same sentance as "folkie" ...

The old structure, whereby the National went to the state selected at the previous Natioanl, meant the there had to be a committee thrown together, with less than a year to devise plans and implement them. As the National grew and as the venue problems grew, we reached a point where,at the (one hopes) successful end of the festival the last thing anyone was thinking about was archiving and history!

Come to think of it, it has been very difficult to get the current Canberra team to even rememeber anything about the Nationals before 1993 ... if it didn't hapen in Canberra, it's not their pigeon! (However, there was an attempt to gather information and ephemera on past Nationals ... at the 2000 NFF ... ?_

Although I was slightly involved, in passing through Melbourne in 1966 and 1967, in the planning of what is now considered the first of the Nationals, the Port Philip Folk Festival of 1967, I was too busy in the hydro construction game to get to it ... in fact the first National I got to was Adelaide, in 1971. I have got to a good proportion of the eastern state nationals since, but I did not have the time or money to get to those a greater distance away.

In terms of keeping anything as organised as records ... this year is the first one for which I have created a batabase of the performers and venues appearing in my photographs ... instead of relying on that increasingly grey area ... my memory!

I hope we get some good data out of you thread ... best of luck!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 20 Apr 02 - 10:59 PM

List of Known Australian NATIONAL FOLK FESTIVALS :
Sadly, between Paul Lawler, Paul Stewart, and myself, this was all we could come up with ...ah, those lost neurons ...gee, but it was fun ...we think …

1st national February 1967 PORT PHILLIP (MELBOURNE), Vic

BRISBANE, Qld

4th national January 1970 PORT JACKSON (SYDNEY), NSW
5th national January 1971 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust

8th national 1974 BRISBANE, Qld

9th national 1975 SYDNEY, NSW

11th national 1977 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust

12th national 1978 FREMANTLE/Perth, West Aust
14th national Easter 1980 ALICE SPRINGS, Central Aust, NT (#1 outside of capital city)

15th national Easter 1981 BRISBANE, Qld

17th national Easter 1983 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust

19th national Easter 1985 PERTH, West Aust

21st national Easter 1987 ALICE SPRINGS, Central Aust, NT (#2 outside of capital city)

22nd national Easter 1988 SYDNEY, NSW

23rd national Easter 1989 MALENY, SE Qld (#3 outside of capital city)

24th national Easter 1990 KURANDA, FN Qld (#4 outside of capital city)

35th national Easter 2002 CANBERRA, ACT (probably permanent home)

I know it's been in Canberra, "our nation's glorious capital", for some years now, which has its good side and its bad ... (as a West Aussie, I know all about suffering the "tyranny of distance"!!!)
But I reckon Hrothgar will have the required answers though ...

Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Hrothgar
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 02:41 AM

1st national February 1967 PORT PHILLIP (MELBOURNE), Vic
2nd 1968 Melbourne
3rd 1969 BRISBANE, Qld
4th national January 1970 PORT JACKSON (SYDNEY), NSW
5th national January 1971 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust
6th 1972 Canberra (I think?) - based at ANU
7th 1973 Melbourne
8th national 1974 BRISBANE, Qld - base at Uni of Qld
9th national 1975 SYDNEY, NSW - base at Uni of Sydney?
10th 1976 CANBERRA (the best!) - based at ANU
11th national 1977 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust - based at Adelaide Uni
12th national 1978 FREMANTLE/Perth, West Aust - based at the Maritime Museum area at Fremantle
13th 1979 Melbourne (the worst!) - based at ???
14th national Easter 1980 ALICE SPRINGS, Central Aust, NT (#1 outside of capital city)
15th national Easter 1981 BRISBANE, Qld - based at Uni of Qld
16th 1982 SYDNEY - based at Uni of Sydney
17th national Easter 1983 ADELAIDE, Sth Aust - base at Magill CAE
18th 1984 CANBERRA - based at ANU
19th national Easter 1985 PERTH, West Aust - base at Uni of WA
20th 1986 - Melbourne - based at La Trobe Uni
21st national Easter 1987 ALICE SPRINGS, Central Aust, NT (#2 outside of capital city)
22nd national Easter 1988 SYDNEY, NSW - based at Sutherland Shire Hall
23rd national Easter 1989 MALENY, SE Qld (#3 outside of capital city)
24th national Easter 1990 KURANDA, FN Qld (#4 outside of capital city)
25th 1991 ADELAIDE - based at Flinders Uni
26th 1992 CANBERRA - based at ANU
27th - 36th 1992-2002 CANBERRA - based at National Exhibition Centre

line breaks added by mudelf ;-)


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 21 Apr 02 - 05:24 AM

See? I knew you wouldn't disappoint me!! Thanks!!!
Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Apr 02 - 12:38 AM

just to confirm - 1972 was in canberra.

m


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Hrothgar
Date: 23 Apr 02 - 04:06 AM

Thanks, mudelf. That's the trouble with copying somebody else's work. Can never be quite sure how it's structured.


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 19 May 02 - 07:52 AM

Hrothgar, can you clarify the early history, as regards all the "Port" festivals, please!
Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Hrothgar
Date: 21 May 02 - 07:44 AM

The first two in Melbourne, 1967-68, were called "Port Phillip Folk Festival"

The third, Brisbane 1969, "Moreton Bay Folk Festival"

The fourth, Sydney 1970, "Port Jackson Folk Festival"

The fifth, 1971 Adelaide, "Port Misery Folk Festival"

After that, I think, the numbering as National Folk Festivals took precedence. I can just see the Canberra one calling itself "Fat Cat Harbour Folk Festival" or some such...

For those in foreign countries, Port Phillip, Moreton Bay, and Port Jackson have geographical relevance. Port Misery and Port Jackson (and, to a lesser extent, Port Phillip and Moreton Bay) have historical relevance


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: GUEST,Bugsy @ Work
Date: 21 May 02 - 11:33 AM

One of the early festivals was in Perth WA. Around the early 70's I think.

Cheers

Bugsy


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 21 May 02 - 11:31 PM

G'day Bugsy,

"... One ... early festivals was in Perth WA. Around the early 70's ..."

Rich-joy and Hrothgar both have that in their lists: 12th national 1978 FREMANTLE/Perth, West Aust - based at the Maritime Museum area at Fremantle.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 22 May 02 - 05:23 AM

Thanks Guyse!!
Now that we have the ball rolling, can we get some more comments / stories / data / memories / etc. etc. etc. from the pre-Canbra-Daze (pre 1993 I think, as Bob Bolton mentioned)???

Anyone???
Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: GUEST
Date: 22 May 02 - 09:38 AM

I've been to a number of Festivals over the years

12th national 78 in FREMANTLE based at the Fremantle Community Arts centre (not the maritime Museum) 16th 1982 SYDNEY - based at Uni of Sydney, was on the orginial organizing committee with Bob Bolton, until the "Professional" Folkies through us off the committee

18th 1984 CANBERRA - based at ANU - very good festival with a fantastic chorus singing sessions.

22nd 1988 SYDNEY, NSW - a flop. Orginially the NSW folk fed and BMC applied for the festival in 1980 when the goverment announced that there would be millon of dollors for grants for events to be run in 1988 for the Bi-centenery, it was going to be a public festival run in the Rocks area but due the takeover of the running of the 82 festival all that work was thrown out. In the end a small group from the BMC and NSWFF through together a festival in a few months.

23rd national Easter 1989 MALENY, SE Qld - very good festival hot weather and Friday was a grog free (Dry) day due to Qld laws.

26th 1992 CANBERRA - again another good festival but spread out over the uni.

30th 1996 Canberra - again very good

35th 2001 CANBERRA - again another good festival

Bruce Downes


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 22 May 02 - 06:37 PM

G'day Bruce,

I think my remark, in my first posting:
"... current Canberra team to even remember anything about the Nationals before 1993 ... if it didn't hapen in Canberra, it's not their pigeon! "
was misread as saying the NFF went back to Canberra in 1993 - what I was saying is that the current "full-time" crowd don't have any interest in anything before the fulltime staff structure came out of Dale Dengate's proposals at a Festival Forum held at the ANU in 1992.

Your remark about 1992 being "... spread out over the uni..." does bring back memories of a few long, brisk, walks between venues! Still, it was not as bad a weekend as the old days ... I think I spent almost as long in the traffic jam stretching most of the way from Canberra to Sydney, on Easter Monday, as I spent at the Festival!

Things certainly improved when they got rid of the last one-lane bridges on the Hume Highway (admittedly that was in the late 1960s) ... and then built by-passes for the older towns along the highway in the '80s. Now the main worry, driving between Sydney and Canberra. is the entire student body of Goulburn Police College getting their annual outing with every radar machine in the school!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Hrothgar
Date: 23 May 02 - 06:00 AM

Favourite memory from all Nationals:

1976, Canberra, I think it was the Saturday night.

There was a huge crowd in the Yarralumla woolshed singing before the start of the dance. Mick Fogarty, who was MC and main caller for the dance, switched on his microphone at the end of a song and said "I'm sorry, you'll have to stop singing, it's time to start the dance." Without missing its stride, the whole crowd started singing "Lord of the Dance."

That was the sort of thing that made that National the best of them all. I still come out in goose bumps thinking about it.


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 16 Mar 06 - 08:56 AM

taken from the e-news for National Folk Festival : 13-17 April, 2006

" We are turning 40!

The National Folk Festival turns 40 this year and we are asking you to help us put together a 40 year retrospective exhibition.
The National means different things to different people and we often hear from folk telling us about the role it has played in their lives.
Send us your stories, copies of your pics from past festivals so we can create an exhibition of YOUR festival.
Send COPIES (not originals) of your pics, stories to PO BOX 156, CIVIC SQUARE, marked 40 year Retrospective.
We'll put them on display at the Festival. "


Well, now's our chance to finally get some "pre-Canberra history" into their "National" consciousness!!!!
R-J
:~)))


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 12 May 06 - 03:43 AM

just sent this out on the Oz folk Listings, but it may as well go in here too!


"open letter to the National Folk Festival - and State Federations :"

At the risk of possibly getting some backs up, I feel I have to comment upon this issue of the (lack of) recording of our own Australian Folk Movement History.

Now I only ever received the one pre-National Folk Festival e-news ( NFF e-news 15 Mar 2006.html ) and it contained this exciting proposal :

" We are turning 40!

The National Folk Festival turns 40 this year and we are asking you to help us put together a 40 year retrospective exhibition. The National means different things to different people and we often hear from folk telling us about the role it has played in their lives. Send us your stories, copies of your pics from past festivals so we can create an exhibition of YOUR festival. Send COPIES (not originals) of your pics, stories to PO BOX 156, CIVIC SQUARE, marked 40 year Retrospective. We'll put them on display at the Festival. "


so I immediately forwarded that message to some Folkie mates, with the comment :

"Now's our chance to finally get some "pre-Canberra history" into their "National" consciousness!!!"

Hell, I even added it to the National Festival thread on the Mudcat Folk&Blues Cafe : added link ...(but no response!)
and then, I set about looking through my own, rather paltry, photo albums!

I found the photos and workshop programmes that were relevant to some of the various Nationals that I had attended; tried to teach myself the basics of Photoshop(!) and using a printer that has definitely seen better days, produced some copies for the exhibition. I was a bit embarrassed about their quality, but I sent a cover note apologising for that, hoping that there would be plenty of other material for the NFF to choose from.

HA! What a joke.

Upon arrival at The National I received my programme, which devoted a whole page to this 40th Birthday Retrospective project (never mind that it was rather late notice for attendees and never mind that it gave the venue as "The Currong" instead of The Coorong). Once I had worked out the probable location of the exhibition boards and threaded my way through the dancers' belongings to view the display, I was SHOCKED to discover that apart from the odd festival poster from throughout the 40 years' history (and a child's T-shirt), there were only MY sad offerings!!!!

Now I would have expected, that for the years that The National has been contained in Canberra (since 92), there would AT LEAST be a full range of posters - and programmes and photos - from Our National Body ... surely an organisation that is devoted to the recognition of and upholding of, Our Folk Culture and Heritage, would have some sort of archival and library policy in place by now - after 40 years - well, at least after the last 15 years - SURELY???!!!!!!

Most people I spoke to about this embarrassing exhibition had not heard about it until they received their programme - i.e. upon arrival. Surely if an exhibition had been pre-planned, then at the very least, a NFF Project Officer would have been appointed, who would have contacted each of the State Federations and the known folkie photographers/collectors, for assistance with the exhibition - SURELY???!!!

SO WHAT HAPPENED???

Please, I'd really like to know.

C'mon mates, if you wait another 10 years for a 50th Birthday Retrospective, a good proportion of our Folk Doyen/Doyennes and their memories & memorabilia will have died - think how many have already passed from us!!! Thank goodness that at least Malcolm Turnbull is attempting to write up and publish nationally, some of the history of the Australian Folk Movement (see the Trad & Now magazines) ... But let's ALL do our bit for the recording of our own Folk histories – not just The National, not just the State Federations, not just the Folk Clubs, but all of us – PLEASE??!!!

RJB
Queensland


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 May 06 - 07:42 AM

G'day rich-joy,

I just ran through the listing that Hrothgar ... I think (without mining through the negative files) that I attended - and photographed:

5th, 1971, Adelaide
6th, 1972, Canberra
7th, 1973, Melbourne
9th, 1975, Sydney
10th, 1976, Canberra
13th, 1979, Melbourne
16th, 1982, Sydney
20th, 1986, Melbourne
22nd, 1988, Sydney
24th, 1990, Kuranda
25th, 1991, Adelaide
26th, 1992, Canberra
27th to 40th, 1992ƒn - 2006, Canberra

... a frightening 26 of the 40 National Folk Festivals!

I don't have much in the way of early programs and other ethemera (although I used to have a copy of the 1971 (Adelaide) bumphlet, complete with the "McDonald's" sponsorships "Finger-pickin' good" sloganning!) ... and I was never much one for t-shirts. However, I should be able to turn up prints - and, mostly, film from those I was able to attend.

I did have a display of 10" x 8" (~ 25 x 20 cm) black & white prints ... mostly from the early '70s Nationals (and some NSW Festivals) ... at Canberra in 1999, supporting the "Folk 2000" initiative to promote Australian folk music at the 2000 Olympics. I suspect I should really be looking at organising this material so that a representative collection could be lodged with someone like the National Library of Australia (who have made a few nibbles ... ).

I think we might serve the balanced view of the history of the (Australian) National Folk Festival better by getting a set of individual histories of each National Folk Festival together (while there are still those who remember the events) - combined with photos, such as mine ... and putting them in front of the whole 'folk world' ... via the web.

(Err ... somewhere amidst this ... we all need to keep running our normal lives ... ?)

Regard(les)s,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 12 May 06 - 08:38 AM

Hi Bob,
yeah, Warren Fahey says he's already handed over much of his material to the National Library's Folklore & Oral History unit ...

I don't have much myself, but I started trawling through my photo albums to put some general folkie pix onto our website (http://www.peculiarhand.com), which as the numbers increased, has now ended up as a Flickr account instead!

I think that's a good idea of yours to do it festival by festival (and not just "nationals" either) - but yes, we need to start with earlier ones, whilst "The Folk" are still around!!!

I think there are probably numerous little collections of folkie ephemera and photos all over Australia, but people don't wish to part with them unless they can be sure that their treasures will be looked after and appreciated!

And whilst I agree that it's important to lodge material with the National Library, the average Australian Folkie still has limited access to that history unless visiting Canberra or has legitimate research approved. So displays on-line (or even at a festival) will, of course, reach a far wider audience ...


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:06 AM

I've asked The NFF whether they have access to funding (e.g. the annual Heritage Grants) that could set up just such a website, for showcasing the history of The Australian Folk Revival.

Here's hoping that something will happen in the not-too-distant future :~)))


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 13 May 06 - 02:15 AM

I'd be happy to assist with the site hacking around, R-J...


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: rich-joy
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 05:15 AM

This NFF History subject has just come up again on the AUSFOLK Listing and I was reminded about the sets of photos that appeared on Valda & Jim's (sadly now defunct) Folk Australia website - from Newnes Folk weekends etc etc - anyone know what happened to them - and are they still viewable??


Cheers! R-J


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Sandra in Sydney
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 06:01 AM

Valda & Jim's current site


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: GUEST,Gerry
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 06:39 AM

I see that back in '02, Bruce Downes (posting as guest) called the 1988 festival a flop. This was the first National I went to, and I had a terrific time. I saw some great acts, and met some fine people there. The only bad thing I remember about it was the rain, which was heavy and persistent.


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Feb 09 - 04:34 PM

Not yet mentioned (that I noticed) was the time of year. My recollection (I was very much on the periphery of the 1968 one) is that the first two ('67 & 68) were on the Queen's Birthday long weekend in June but they moved to Australia Day, another long weekend until Nick Greiner forced Sydney Day strictly to the 26th January. This lasted until just after the 1972 Nation in Canberra. The Aquarius Festival of that year was held over Easter and also used the Yarralumla Woolshed to great effect so from then on the Nationals were held over the Easter (four day, outside Victoria) weekend; the first of these was at Melbourne Uni. They were peripatetic around the country until 1992, when they became sessile at Canberra.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 12:43 AM

G'day Gerry,

I think Bruce would be referring to the massive debt that arose from all the generic problems that had plagued the peripatitic stage of the Nationals ... unless they were held in a sympathetic university environment, they faced immense venue costs and had little chance of recouping any return on effort and outlay.

Off hand, I think that the only NFF to make money during the 1980s was Alice Springs ... and that was clearly (I read the accounts for that one ...) because they had controlled - and profited from - the sales of alcoholic drinks! The Canberra incarnation may be sessile .. but it is profitable.

Many of the '80s host states took up to a a decade to clear themselves of the debt of their last National.

Regards,

Bob


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Subject: RE: Austn National Folk Festivals - history/
From: Hrothgar
Date: 13 Feb 09 - 01:05 AM

I seem to remember that Adelaide in 1977 made a quid, causing all sorts of jealousy and bitterness.

It was a very enjoyable National, too. I seem to remember three dances at the same time on three different levels of the building they were in - Adelaide Uni, I think - as well as an excellent main concert at the Adelaide Theatre, and some great workshops.


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