With the National Folk Festival pitching itself to a younger audience, it could not have picked a sweeter voice to be its advocate to the region’s youth.
Young Canberra singer-songwriter Lucy Sugerman was announced on Wednesday as the Festival’s first Youth Ambassador, a role she will relish.
“It’s a really cool opportunity for me to do something that’s very dear to my heart,” the 18-year-old said.
The musical prodigy who took TV talent show The Voice by storm as a 15-year-old, grew up with folk music and the Festival, performing her first gig there when she was just nine.
She’s had a lot of positive, beautiful experiences there and will now share that experience with young people to encourage them to spend their Easter hanging at EPIC.
Lucy will be appearing at to-be-announced events in the lead-up to the 2020 Festival, promoting its attractions to her peers and performing across the Easter weekend, including in the youth concert featuring the region’s top young performers at the Festival’s opening night concert.
Promoting the Festival will be an easy gig for her as she’s been doing it for years with her friends.
She said the National’s enduring values of diversity and inclusion click with young people, “especially in light of what’s happening in the world at the moment”.
“There’s something for everyone. It caters for all ages and it’s a chance to get amongst something you normally wouldn’t,” Lucy said.
“It’s just a really fun weekend full of performances, good food, and a great time to hang out with family and friends.”
Lucy said there was a definite resurgence in folk music, with the internet making it more accessible for young people, reflected in the growing number of young people in audiences and on the stage.
“It’s a cool way to get in touch with tradition but also there’s lots of opportunity for a more contemporary take on that music and culture,” she said.
For a young performer, the Festival offered so many options – busking, blackboard gigs and being inspired by so many seasoned performers.
Lucy will be performing some of her new songs next Easter, bringing her band to EPIC for the first time.
In a period of musical development, Lucy is spending her time writing, performing and recording in Sydney with the Universal label.
The record is still coming but she said it would be a very personal work about love, romance and what she sees in the world – very folk and story-telling inspired.
“It’s how I process things,” she said. “Everything that happens to me I like to sit down and write a song.”
Festival managing director Helen Roben said it was exciting to introduce the National’s first Youth Ambassador.
“The National provides such a positive and interesting experience for youth; it’s fun, safe and gives them an opportunity to discover and engage in the exciting world of folk,” she said.
“Lucy Sugerman represents everything the Festival is about. She is an incredible young artist who has been coming to the National every Easter for much of her life. She knows first hand why young people keep coming back to the Festival and why those who haven’t been yet need to give it a go!”
The National Folk Festival is held in Canberra every Easter and runs from Thursday, 9 April to Monday, 13 April 2020 at Exhibition Park.
Known for its diverse program and broad audience appeal, the National Folk Festival features food and market stalls, roving entertainment and an engaging, multi-disciplined arts program.
Early Bird Tickets on sale now at folkfestival.org.au.