Poetry: If I Were a Rich Man
Interview: League of Nations
Industrial: 20/20 Hindsight
Organising: On The Buses
Unions: National Focus
History: The Banner Room
International: The Slaughter Continues
Legal: A Legal Case For War?
Culture: Singing For The People
Review: The Hours
Poetry: I Wanna Bomb Saddam
Satire: Diuretic Makes Warne's Excuses Look Thin
The Locker Room
Re-considering The Accord
Strangers in the House
Nursing Home Concerns
Singing For The People
Folk song and poetry has a long, strong link with working class struggle so it's small wonder that the two movements have shared a history in many areas.
One of the most popular programme features of the National Folk Festival is the Trade Union Concert, celebrated in the spacious Budawang venue where the stage is hung with the banner of the CFMEU, the union that is a loyal and consistent supporter of the National; other banners often join the display.
This year, two of Australia's most dynamic women singers, Margret RoadKnight and Jeannie Lewis, will bring their energy to the Trade Union Concert, Jeannie with a selection of Phil Ochs' songs and Margret with the style, voice and forthright interpretation that have made her a household name around the world.
Another great performer is the UK's Roy Bailey, a much- loved union- loyalist who has a gentleness in his singing that reinforces the political and social honesty of his songs; this man knows where the line is drawn - and he holds it. He and British Labor MP Tony Benn have recently been presented with the BBC's Folk Awards 2003 Best Live Act Award for their two-man show The Writing On The Wall, an anthology of dissent in words and music.
Another favourite is John Dengate. John has been writing and performing folk songs for nearly forty years and is fiercely proud of his working- class battler origins, a pride that is reflected in many of his politically satirical songs in which the dividing line between satire and libel becomes perilously thin. But John doesn't make his principles heavy going he has a wry and wonderful sense of humour so his audiences go away smiling as well as thinking.
Also on the concert is Fine Friday , an exciting young trio from everywhere, it seems; fiddler Anna- Wendy Stevenson is from Edinburgh, Nuala Kennedy (flutes, whistle and vocals ) is from Co. Louth and Kris Drever, guitar and vocals, hails from the romantic, remote and madly musical Orkney Islands. The group had for its seedbed the weekly sessions at Sandy Bell's, Edinburgh's most famous folk pub - a fine place for musicians to polish their pedigree.
An exciting trio of performers rounds off the programme; accordion player Tim van Eyken, who is is one of the fast-rising stars of the English folk scene, acclaimed English- style fiddler Nancy Kerr and James Fagan , master of the bouzouki .
And there's more! Icons of Australian folk culture Alex and Annette Hood, Chris Kempster and Alison Jones give an accolade to battlers at their concert "We Were There Songs of Struggle" - and as Alex adds with a familiar grin," And we're still here and we're still struggling!"
They will present songs from the '60s to the '80s and a few of quite recent origin centred on the issues that have mobilised the people in those decades; equal pay, the Vietnam War, political prisoners, Green Bans the marches and rallies and protests that changed the direction of the world. The songs of struggle will include Merv Lillie's Give a Fair Go and Cane Killed Abel (music by Chris Kempster); Alex's Green Army and The Asian Wild Colonial Boys and the Equal Pay Song with tune by Chris' and words by Denis Kevans. Also featured will be the green protest song written by the late Don Henderson, Hooker Rex. The story has it that the company offered to buy the song from Don and when he refused, threatened to sue him. Don's laconic response was; "Go ahead -I could use the publicity!"
These are just snippets from this great people's festival that rolls along for the whole of Easter, this year a special event that pulls focus on traditional song, our maritime history and featured State South Australia. There are blackboard venues, dances and balls, singing, dancing and instrumental sessions and workshops, circus and circus training;17 performance venues and over 1200 performers, including such greats as Eric Bogle; Australia's only Shakuhachi Master, Riley Lee, and Japanese drummers Taikoz; Merri- May Gill, the Fagans , Nancy and Sandra Kerr, Bob Fox from the mining country of north -east England, Ajak Kwai from Sudan, Rough Red, Dya Singh and many, many more.
There are more than 110 food and craft stalls and on-site restaurants, bars and a supermarket. This is a family festival, so everyone's catered for; there's the daily Children's Festival and parades and afternoon and evening professional childcare is available at reasonable rates. The site and most venues are wheelchair friendly.
Canberra's Exhibition Park in Mitchell is easily accessible by public transport, there's plenty of free parking - and if you'd like to move in for the duration the all-amenities camping ground is right next door.
Come and join us this is an event that can change lives in the nicest possible way.
For information on programme, prices and camping. check out the website on www.folkfestival.asn.au or call us on 02 62 49 7755
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