25 March 2008


| Pandy
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[Ed – we believe Pandy is refering to the National Folk Festival although no mention of which festival is made in Pandy’s submission, nor an actual review of the festival itself. Joe Canberran has also submitted some brief review of the festival which can be found below Pandy’s gripe.

We also have $46 worth of unused Folk Festival drink vouchers to be given away to the first person who correctly emails root@the-riotact.com with the names 5 local canberra bands performing at the festival. Yes we were suckered into buying more drinks vouchers than we needed and are too hung over to go back again tonight or tomorrow so if you are quick you may just be lucky enough to benefit from our excess.]

Submitted by Pandy:

Yesterday at the car park entrance I lined-up at the gate to get an evening ticket to the National. The line ahead of me was taking a very long time to move forward. So slow that I timed how long each person took just to buy a ticket. It ranged from 2 to 2 and half minutes *per* person. That includes persons in groups.

When I got to the front of the line I saw that each ticket request/type had to be entered in to a lap top with a bar code reader. Then a ticket had to be printed and the money taken. I asked the guy why was it taking so long?: “A new computer system”.

Frankly the organizers should ditch the computer and go back to something much simpler.

My advice, expect to spend half an hour at the ticket booth.

Submitted by Joe Canberran:

Yesterday was the first time in years I’ve been able to get out the the National Folk Festival. The first thing I noticed was that it had grown. carparks were packed (I was lucky enough to land the LAST park in the dirt carpark across from the entrance at $5 for the pleasure) and at midday there was quite a queue for tickets with many people being like me and not planing ahead and buying the slightly cheaper tickets before hand. It also seemed that most people in the queue were sheep with little attention going to what they were actually doing. The ticket booths were designated to various types of sales; eftpos, prepaid, etc with most people just standing there waiting even when a booth came free. I, who had spent 5 minutes popping into a atm before heading to the Folk, standing about 30 people back loudly enquired as to if the lady at the cash only booth was indeed free to serve those with cash, walked straight up and was promptly served with several people who were in front of me in the queue looking slightly put out that they had been standing there for so long with their heads up their you know what for no apparent reason.

Once in the Folk was a sea of stalls. There was more alternative culture and international food/dance and song than I’ve seen in resent years at the Multi-cultural festival. What did seem to be lacking was good music. Well that’s not true but it was hard to track down. Not all venues were well sign posted, not all had billboards stating who was playing when, when they did the times were not always right and unless you recognized the names it was a grab bag of what that artist would be performing. Hoping to find some top music I spent a lot of time listening to/watching between set anecdotes, bad spoken word/poetry and international dance. Until late at night, once I found Dahahoo and a few other good bands playing full sets, the few great songs I heard were one offs buy locals I could catch most weeks down at the Phoenix, Front or Transit.

All and all I think to have a great time at the Folk you need to either have a lot of money and organizational skills, planing to be there for several days and knowing exactly who, when and where to catch them or volunteer and be pleasantly surprised with whatever you can catch.

Oh, and a festival that large needs to have more than one atm and a better backup plan when it goes down.

The folk’s on for now until Monday night. The timetable can be found here.

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Another great festival, from my pov. Could have done with a bit more non-anglo-celt music, but I guess ‘celtic roots’ was the theme. Maybe we’ll have greek roots next year.

Someone said “A major lowlights was the way people were stupidly packed into the Flute’n’Fiddle for Mal Webb” — well I think they did a _great_ job of packing us in. KInd of a seated mosh pit.

One of the joys of this festival is seeing big acts in smaller venues. I saw Rory McLeod with 3000 people in the budawang, 1000 a bit early in the morning in the fitzroy, a couple of hundred people somewhere else, and with 30 people in the session bar at some ungodly hour. You can try and guess which was best…

Sometimes, they’ll try and pack people in, sometimes they send latecomers away. Both have advantages. Sure, they could just put the popular acts in huge venues, then someone’s just going to complain about that too.

BTW if you’re new to this kind of festival: read the program, or at least the map! Make sure you check out all the venues. I know some people who went and thought it was mostly stalls and little venues and didn’t see much music. Turned out they hadn’t been inside…

Other highlights: Spooky Men vocal workshop, dance infiltrating the session bar ( I’m sure that was a lowlight for some..). And the singing room late at night!

Paddytrick, you were conned. I stayed till 1:45 in the Sessions Bar. Try buying a Day ticket at that time of night.

I also discovered (from the nice AFP officers who politely escorted me from the premises) that the Night tickets finish at midnight on the dot, so there’s no popping off to the session bar for a quick Guiness after the last Gig!

queue != cue.

One of my brothers and I bought a season ticket on the Thursday afternoon – the ticket line was really slow then, so it’s a shame a better process wasn’t worked out for the busier days.

We both had a great time though – seeing the opening concert on the Thursday was a good idea as it introduced us to bands we may not have seen otherwise (that we then followed for the five days).

Highlights for me were Rory McLeod, Genticorum, The Duhks and the Pacific Curls. A major lowlights was the way people were stupidly packed into the Flute’n’Fiddle for Mal Webb – they were expecting 60,000 people (up from 10,000 last year) but I don’t think the venues took that into consideration?

I’d definitely go again next year, but make sure you do the smart thing and get your cash out somewhere else first!

Joe Canberran8:35 pm 23 Mar 08

I was hungover when i wrote it. Allow a little leeway 😉

I’ll ask an admin to fix it.

A queue is a line you stand in, a cue is a stick you play pool with

You can always get a two for one ticket voucher at the show in the Canberra Times showbag.

It is worth doing if you know you are going – tix are SO expensive.

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