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Large crowds and mainly fine weather helped contribute to the success of the first FOLK by the SEA that was held in Kiama Showground last weekend and presented by the Illawarra Folk Club. In spite of a howling westerly wind that arrived around midday on Saturday and did its best to blow away the tents of festival campers, everyone battened down the canvas and stayed to enjoy a weekend of outstanding music.
“The festival exceeded our expectations with a capacity crowd of 600 for the concerts as well as all camping sites taken,” said Russell Hannah, the Illawarra Folk Club President.
“It was a bit of a gamble to organise music over the 3 days, however we have had such a long presence in Kiama we were determined to continue our musical involvement with the local community.”
“The event would not have been such a success without the hard work of the FOLK by the SEA committee and local volunteers, as well as the strong support from Kiama Council and the local member, Mr Gareth Ward.”
There were, of course, many other excellent performances over the three days of the festival and Kiama Showground proved itself to be an excellent festival venue. Among the highlights was the delightful Ami Williamson, whose song-writing ability and classical-trained voice took her songs to some surprising places. Casey Donavan also played to a packed house and while her powerful vocals were expected, it was her friendly, witty banter and self-deprecating humour that won over the audience.
Ted Egan lived up to his legend status, with a series of shows featuring his wonderful songs about the Australia he knows better than most, while The Rusty Datsuns, a young group from Brisbane, also made a strong impression on their audiences with their catchy tunes and great harmonies.
On Sunday the action moved to Hindmarsh Park for a full day of concerts on a warm spring day. The generous people attending the free concerts donated over $1,000 to the Kiama Surf Life Saving Club.
Judging from the positive comments of the capacity crowd, this first FOLK by the SEA was an outstanding success and won’t be the last, with the Illawarra Folk Club already planning for the 2014 festival.