Event Info – About the Festival
The National Folk Festival – Every Easter at Exhibition Park in Canberra.
From high-end entertainment to the expression of folk-life through grassroots and community activities our multifaceted National Folk Festival is the ultimate celebration of all things folk. The program is designed to inspire, enliven and entertain. From traditional and contemporary grooves to the quirky and the endearing it features all the key elements that make people want to come from everywhere to be part of it.
Our vibrant festival site is populated with themed bars, food and market stalls, circus performers and roving musicians and our multi-disciplinary program is broad and innovative boasting an A-list of performers from Australia and the world. 18 venues provide a range of concert experiences from our big stages to more intimate spaces where you can enjoy a more up-close experience with our performers.
The quality and variety of the National Folk Festival’s world-class program ensures entertainment to suit every age and taste. Over 500 individual concerts showcase musical styles and genres as diverse as acoustic, bluegrass, roots, blues, Celtic, country, world and gypsy. Contemporary folk cultures are showcased alongside the best of vintage Oz-folk and older traditions.
Dance is a wonderful social activity and provides a vibrant element to our Festival program. The National offers both spectator and participatory dance activities and everyone is welcome to dance with many opportunities including workshops and classes for those with little or no previous experience to pick up enough to get started. There will be dancing!
Music is an important vehicle for our indigenous communities, giving voice to their stories. Knowledge and culture are shared through music and special presentations. Celebrating Australia’s First peoples is a vital part of the National’s program and is now one of the most popular features of the Festival.
A brand new precinct skirting the borderlands of folk, FringeWorld is coming to the National Folk Festival in 2017. Sitting like a pleasure island floating beyond the hustle and bustle of the main site this is where adventure, music and merriment collide with the quirkier aspects of folk. Including it’s own venue, The Borderland, a circus arena, village green and chill zone there’s plenty to experience.
The Instrument Makers’ Hall is a unique and intimate setting that brings together some of Australia’s master artisans to exhibit their exquisite handcrafted musical instruments and to share their skills and knowledge with performers, patrons and their peers. It provides an opportunity to see, hear and, for prospective buyers, to play some beautiful handcrafted instruments, and to meet the people who make them.
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Catering for the Festival’s growing family demographic KidzFest is a magical place where all ages come together to learn, create and play. A place for all the family but especially for younger folk, entertainment and activities are on offer between 10am and 5pm every day of the Festival. The Carnival Stage hosts performances from many of our Festival artists especially geared to the young while there are activities, dress-ups, workshops and general fun on offer throughout each day.
Mind Body Spirit
Get moving and give your day a flying start with our daily Zumba class on the Piazza or de-stress, relax and feel great while you stretch and energise with our uplifting Yoga class. During the day there are talks on a variety of hot topics from land care to reconciliation plus inspirational and community singing sessions to help you chill.
There are many ways to get involved or find a stage to share your music at the National Folk Festival. From joining one of our community ensembles such as the Festival Choir, Percussion Jam or Fiddle Rally to participating in one of a number of workshops from learning instruments to hands-on craft activities or performing on one of the Festival’s open mic or blackboard stages you can learn, share and be creative.
A vibrant Community Arts precinct provides a place for patrons to mingle with resident artists and have fun creating something fantabulous to wear, hang or simply to adore. If you are a creative person you will love the over 250 inclusive and accessible workshops and activities from puppet making to felting and woodcraft on offer. A chance to indulge in some arty fun or simply to chill while you paint a piece of our Festival mural.
Experience everything from yarns, storytelling, talks and poetry, from bush and slam and beyond. You won’t want to miss Sunday’s World Poetry Debate or the come-all-ye Poets’ Breakfasts, a daily heart-starter where all poets, the budding and the already bloomed roll out their purple prose over morning coffee and croissants.
Street and Circus
Our vibrant streets are an ever changing landscape full of surprises. Buskers, roving street performers and musicians abound and there’s also plenty of circus antics around every corner. You can also catch one of our circus shows in the Majestic bigtop from the saucy Not for Kids Kid’s Show to the Circus Death Match and more.