Yarram duo Ally Row headline Boolarra Folk Festival

Ally Row playing at the Boolarra Folk Festival. Photos: Katrina Brandon

Katrina Brandon

‘LET’S get folky’ was this year’s theme for the Boolarra Folk Festival, headlined by Yarram duo Ally Row.

Joining the Yarram musos were Paul Buchman’s Voodoo Preachers, Stephen McCulloch and Todd Cook and the Rufous Whistlers.

The festival’s 21st instalment was held last Friday and Saturday (March 1 and 2).

Thousands of people attended the event, which featured food, market stalls, and music. Ally Row proved the biggest hit, with most of the crowd joining the couple dancing around.

The Friday night event was held at the Boolarra Memorial Hall, with music from acts such as Steph Fischer-Ivancsy and The Bad Jackets, Strzelecki Stringbusters, Paul Buchman’s Voodoo Preachers and Smokin’ Dog Johnson. On the second day, people branched out between the market in Railway Park and watching various musicians in action on the stage at Centennial Park.

Attendees picnicked and lounged around, listening to musicians from local areas and Melbourne.

For early visitors, people got to wander through the market, which opened at 10am, while Invy Horn Jam, Boolarra Primary School kids and Steve Schulz Drumming Circle got ready to start their set at 10.30am.

The market had multiple stalls, including plants, tattoos, food, soaps, candles, metal ornaments, readings, bags and cigar box-electric guitars.

For those who had missed the earlier sessions or wanted to play, there were busking sessions available within the market, which sparked lots of interest and the ringing of Bella Ciao, played by the Invy Horn Jam.

Ally Row (Allison and Rawson) enjoying post-performance to the tunes of Latrobe Valley band Hip Pocket.

Parking was packed. Some people parked between trees in the streets, while others ventured down to the Boolarra Recreation Reserve, where people could be taken to the event via the Mirboo North Shuttle Bus service.

Camping down for the day, most people stayed at the festival stage, enjoying the musicians and, later on, dancing with the bands. There was a lot of excitement throughout the day, spreading through the crowds. During Todd Cook and the Rufous Whistlers, they shared exciting news that they had a new single to share.

Yarram duo Ally Row headlined the Boolarra Folk Festival.

“We were working on it on Tuesday and weren’t quite sure if we were going to finish it before the festival,” Todd said.

“I’m glad we could finish it and share it with the crowd today. It’s such a great turnout!”

The free festival brought young and old together, much to the delight of attendees.

“It’s a great festival, and the organisers have done a great job,” festival visitor, Rosaline La Vie said.

“It’s very laid back and wonderful. It is amazing to think that it is in its 21st year.”

Towards the end of the festival, the market packed up so everyone could enjoy the music and relax or party to Ally Row and Latrobe Valley band Hip Pockets. There’s plenty of positive news to go round for Ally Row, who learnt this week that their single, ‘Bare feet’ has made it into the semi finals for the International Songwriting Competition.

Before the event, Danny Eddy from Hip Pockets told the Gippsland Times the Boolarra Folk Festival is like one giant party. It was easy to see why.