4 April 2023

2023 National Folk Festival celebrates artists from Australia and around the world

| Morgan Kenyon
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Indigenous man holding smoking eucalyptus

This year’s music festival highlights a number of Indigenous artists, each with their own speciality. Photo: Photox – Canberra Photography Services.

As the Easter long weekend rapidly approaches, it’s time to gear up for The National Folk Festival, which takes place at EPIC from 6-10 April.

Whether you’re a full-time folk fan or simply looking for a live music fix, there’ll be something to sate your appetite.

With headliners including The Waifs and Billy Bragg, this year’s Festival promises to be a hit for Canberra locals and visitors alike.

Managing Director Chris Grange describes the National Folk Festival as an opportunity for the folk community to come together and share, celebrate and develop diverse folk traditions.

READ MORE The Waifs, Billy Bragg to headline 2023 National Folk Festival

“This year will bring back all the different activity streams we’ve traditionally hosted at the Festival,” he says.

“We have performances in music, dance and spoken word, as well as a variety of kids activities, workshops and interactive programs.

“We’re thrilled to see over a thousand performers return to the Festival for 2023.”

Frank Yamma with guitar

Indigenous artist Frank Yamma is also performing at this year’s Festival. Photos: Supplied.

This year’s music scene highlights a number of Indigenous artists, each with their own speciality.

“We have Australian performers coming from all over the country, including a number of Indigenous artists singing in their traditional languages,” says Chris.

“These artists are doing vital work to develop, reconstruct and reintegrate Indigenous music from across our continent.”

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Some of these artists include Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, Frank Yamma and Alinta Barlow.

Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse use song to share and celebrate one of the rarest languages in the world: the Noongar language.

One of Australia’s most significant Indigenous songwriters, Frank Yamma is an initiated Pitjantjatjara man whose stories have been performed around the country and overseas.

Alinta Barlow is a proud Ngunnawal woman and Canberra local. She sings about country using a mix of English and Ngunnawal language.

band group shot on stage

Leroy Johnson & The Waterbag Band are among 2023’s fantastic line-up.

Critically acclaimed Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Songkeeper Jessie Lloyd will also be in attendance.

“Jessie is incredibly dedicated and has put a lot of work into the curation of Indigenous music,” Chris says.

“She will be performing her Mission Songs and Ailan Songs projects in quartet form, as well as running a workshop about their process and importance.”

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Performers at past National Folk Festivals have often been seen joining the audience once their set ends. Many patrons come for the line-up and stay for the connectedness, Chris says.

“People have really felt the absence of social interaction post-pandemic,” he adds.

“They desire a sense of connection and having peers.

“The National Folk Festival gives patrons a chance to recover that in a safe and relaxed environment.”

Check out your options for camping and accommodation here.

To book tickets, visit the National Folk Festival website.

The National Folk Festival acknowledges the Traditional Owners of Country throughout Australia and recognises their continuing connection to land, waters and community. Respects are paid to them and their cultures, and to Elders past, present and emerging.

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