Illawarra Folk Festival

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Illawarra Folk Festival started in 1985 in Jamberoo, New South Wales. It has grown to become one of the largest festivals in Australia run entirely by volunteers from the Illawarra Folk Club Inc.

In 2007 it moved to Bulli. The festival presents approximately 150 performers over four days in mid-January.

Performers, volunteers and audiences alike continue to return to the festival to experience and participate in the diversity of music and performances, and enjoy the intimate, vibrant, community atmosphere the festival has become renowned for.


As well as performances by some of the best national and international traditional acts, the program features a two-day intensive folk school, workshops, sessions, dancing, the Youth Folk Traditions Awards, instrument makers, poets’ breakfasts, the famous Mediterranean Lunch, the infamous Tripe Dinner and beautiful international cuisine and craft stalls. The Music Train brings visitors from Sydney who are serenaded on the journey to Bulli.

The folk festival celebrates the Illawarra’s rich mining history, trade union traditions, coastal environment and multicultural communities.


The festival is run by the Illawarra Folk Club which formed in 1979 and has had various locations around Wollongong for its concerts, including:

The Folk Club draws its membership generally from the Illawarra region of New South Wales, Australia. It has presented the Illawarra Folk Festival at Jamberoo from 1985/86-2006 and at Bulli from 2007 to the present. One folk festival was organised in 1985 at Wilton in association with the NSW Folk Federation and Bankstown Folk Club.

Club presidents have included:

  • Alan Musgrove
  • Kevin Baker
  • Vince Brophy
  • Anne Fox
  • Peter Williams
  • Peter Kerr
  • Roger Fleming
  • Russell Hannah

Illawarra Folk Festival directors have been[edit]

  • Chris Cartledge (1986-1990)
  • John Harpley (1991-1995)
  • David De Santi (1996 to 2009)
  • David De Santi (from 2009 as Artistic Director)
  • Neil Rowsell (from 2009 as Project Manager)

Honorary life members[edit]

  • Anne Fox +
  • Mairi Petersen
  • George Petersen +
  • John Harpley
  • Marie Harpley
  • Dot Roberts
  • Henry Roberts
  • Russell Hannah
  • Bev Hannah
  • David De Santi
  • Tania De Santi
  • Kevin Baker
  • Tony Foley
+ deceased

The club has also organised special folk music related tours over the years:

  • 1989 Kuranda National Folk Festival Tour through northern NSW and Queensland
  • 1990 Adelaide National Folk Festival Tour via the Grampians, Murray River (houseboats) and the Great Ocean Road
  • 1994 Bushranger Tour to central NSW - Forbes, Eugowra, Carcoar
  • 2006 Tin Hare Tour to Cowra, Young
  • 2009 to 2013 Snowy Mountains of Music Festival

As of 2015, it spawned a fringe festival of activist street brass bands known as HONK!Oz, taking place in the nearby city of Wollongong. A number of bands from this fringe festival were also billed at Illawarra Folk Festival the following week.[1]


  • 2001 - Winner Events Category, Southern Illawarra Business and Tourism Awards
  • 2002 - Winner Significant Festivals and Events Category, Illawarra Tourism Awards for Excellence
  • 2004 - Events and Festivals Award of Distinction, Illawarra Tourism Awards
  • 2012 - Winner of the Events & Tourism Award, NSW/ACT Regional Achievement & Community Awards


External links[edit]