It’s that time of year again… time for the Auckland Folk Festival – one of the highlights of the Auckland folk music year. We’re here to give you a quick rundown of what to expect, and some tips and pointers and what not to forget (and who not to miss). 

So let’s start with the music… 
There are an astounding FIFTEEN billed acts this year spread across three stages and across the two days. On top of this the Titirangi Folk Club have their welcome concert of Friday night with another half a dozen acts and the Invitation Concert on Saturday night has another seven acts. So there’s no shortage of music to catch. A quick summary of the artists: 
Martin & Eliza Carthy are folk royalty from Britain, Martin has been one of folk music’s greatest singers for more than forty years, and alongside his daughter, this is the performance not to miss. Dan Walsh is perhaps one of the best banjo players in the UK and he returns to the Festival by popular demand. Mustered Courage are my personal pick for standout performance at the festival, as they offer a new take on bluegrass with a diverse sound that has taken them to the top of the Australian folk and roots charts. Donna Dean has been an integral part of the Americana-folk-country scene in New Zealand for decades and is finally gracing our stage. 

​Albi and the Wolves are the hottest folk band in Auckland right now, playing their brand of folk to packed venues, full of foot-stomping and singalongs they are at the top of their game. Chris Priestley has been a longstanding figure in the folk scene of New Zealand for many decades, as a venue owner and a musician of his own right. He brings his group of Unsung Heroes to perform the songs of New Zealand’s lost characters, brigands, rogues and heroes. Gillian Boucher & Bob McNeill offer up a delightful sound of Socttish traditional music, melding Bob’s beautiful acoustic sound with Gillian’s roaring fiddle – be ready to dance. The Bollands have been touring non-stop for three years, all around the world, offering a high energy alternative folk sound with strong and soaring harmonies. 

So those are our MAIN ACTS, who you will find on the Main Stage across Saturday and Sunday. We better give you the run down on our other performers now: 
Tweed: Auckland based alternative folk band
Paper Cranes: Influenced by poetry and a Japanese upbringing, folksy pop at its finest. 
Eyreton Hall: Try something new, alternative folk band led by stunning female vocals and keyboard driven. 

Jon Sanders: A past guest with numerous ensembles, Jon is a multi-instrumentalist master, sure to get you moving! 
Tom Cunliffe: Singer of songs, teller of stories, Tom’s debut album is not far off, as he plays his gritty style of folk for us. 
Bernie Griffen & the Thin Men: Long time father of alt country and gothic folk in Auckland, Bernie brings his new band to blow you away. 
Glass Boat: From the ‘Naki, crossing folk, alternative and alt-country, with beautiful harmonies and wonderful stories. 

So there you have it, there’s the music to look out for. Here’s our tips, pointers and suggestions: 

  • Be there for 8pm on Friday night. Visit the Barn for Roger’s Come All Ye, where many musicians make themselves known right at the beginning of the festival, also visit the Ceilidh and let off some steam from the week with a good dance. 
  • Get to as much as you can, there’s so much to see, no point lolling about and missing things! Go to a workshop, see a ‘session’ (who knows who’ll turn up), get to the main concerts 
  • If you’re a musician, sign up for the blackboard concerts very early! Those slots fill up FAST! 
  • The Invitation Concert on Saturday night is stunning, an opportunity for young folk musicians to showcase their talents, these are the rising stars of the genre, (plus, it’s compered by the Festival president Nigel Robertson). 
  • Don’t forget there is a diverse, and massive DANCE PROGRAMME as part of the festival, in the main hall throughout the day and into the evenings. Go check it out, and look out for the roaming Morris Dancers. 
  • Bring sunscreen and a hat, but also bring a raincoat and keep that tent secured! 
  • The Final Concert on Sunday night features all of the eight main guests doing shorter sets, so if you’ve missed anyone during the weekend make sure you get to this and see them here. It also features the announcement of the Tui for Best Folk Album. 
  • Speaking of the Tui’s, at 6pm on Sunday night, Nadia Reid, Holly Arrowsmith and Amiria Grenell take to the stage each showcasing why they are very deserving of being a finalist for the Best Folk Album. Watch this, these three ladies are on top of the folk world in New Zealand right now. 
  • The new Village Stage needs breaking in, so don’t forget to check out the concerts, workshops and sessions that go on there, give it a warm welcome as the newest venue. 
  • There is so much delicious food being offered this year, five main food vendors, plus coffee, juice and ice cream. Bring your own food if you must, but don’t fear we have you covered, go check it out in the Village Area! 
  • Finally, the Tower between the Mill Stage and the new Village Area will be open this year as an information centre, with CDs for sale, posters and t-shirts for sale and information on what is currently happening around the festival. Manned by lovely students from Kaipara College, they are there to help from 10-6pm on Saturday and Sunday. First aid and lost property will also go to the tower now, so it is your stop for all important needs. 

Check out the poster below and full programme HERE, share this around your friends and let’s have an amazing weekend! 

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