(RiotACT special reporter Beth Monzo filed this report at 2.30am from the Folk Festival on the newest addition to the event)
The talk of the National town this year is The Majestic. A new addition to the National Folk Festival, The Majestic is everything weird and wonderful you’ve been waiting for.
The tent is run by walking talking theatre company Adam Hadley, one of Canberra’s favourite performers who was kind enough to stop and chat about what to expect from the tents debut. “The focus of The Majestic is to create a massive sense of community amongst performers and audience members. A space where both sides of the stage feel comfortable to engage, perform and support local talent and the arts.”
The Majestic is certainly engaging, attracting all age groups and a decent crowd for its daytime workshops. I was fortunate enough to catch the Mystery Workshop, which involved everyone and anyone. The Majestic features many daytime workshops throughout the festival including circus, poetry slam, dancing, song writing and my personal pick the “Bad Slam No Biscuit” Workshop with The Dreadful House Band & Nick D on Sunday afternoon.
While the daytime’s a treat at the Majestic, nighttime brings all the magic.
As the sun was setting there was an electric buzz around the tent as festival goers awaited the Majestics Grand Gala Opening. Mr Fibby, Hadley’s act, played to a packed tent enthralling the audience with their magical musical stories of old. As always, they were brilliant, it’s no surprise they’re featured at the Majestic most nights.
Meanwhile, the nearby Chai tent and Lolo’s All Acoustic Under 25’s Open Mic caravan were attracting all kinds of eager musicians and poets, some strutting their stuff for the first time.
It wasn’t long before the queue outside the Majestic had almost reached the Sessions Bar and at last it was time. Greeted by top hats and tights, corsets and Tu Tu’s, hoola hoops and colour co-ordinated men on stilts, the temptation to sit as close as possible was unbearable.
Hadley was, of course, dressed in his finest half tux half evening dress and introduced the opening act to raging applause, Emma Dean and her Imaginary Friends.
The singing and dancing antics of the “Super Freak” friends really enhanced Emma’s boppy Regina Spektor style tunes. Described by her as the sensual, disturbed and prima-donna diva ballerina sides of her imagination, they really gave her performance an exciting carnival edge.
After the spectacular start to the evening, I went in search of food and drink only to return to the soothing and ever so soulful sounds of the Ellis Collective. Another of our local bands you can catch at the Majestic throughout the festival. Always a pleasure.
Next were Doc Jones and his Lechery Orchestra who got the crowd skankin’ and tangoing to their gypsy rock tunes and finally to finish off the night with a bang, were Melbourne based gypsy badass band, Rapskallion. By this stage the tent was packed and all seats were empty.
If I had been camping this year I would have pitched my tent outside Hadleys.
The Majestic was magical from noon til midnight and really showcased what Canberra’s arts scene is doing all year round. Don’t be afraid of the queer and questionable, make your way down to the Majestic this year and engage.