Wednesday, May 6, 2015

All the fun of the Laura Folk Fair!

I passed through the Laura Folk Fair on my mountain bike while taking part on the Outback Odyssey in 2007. I was riding off-road from Adelaide to Blinman - one of the five times I have made that journey. I made a mental note to pursue the opportunity to play there at some stage.
Late in 2014, as I sat in Laura having a morning coffee on the way back from playing five shows up at the Melrose Music Muster, I remembered my pledge...
I applied, and was accepted, for the 2015 Folk Fair. Initially, I was planning to play two shows, one per day, over the weekend. As it turned out, I was offered five shows and I was happy to play them all.
We arrived mid-morning on a beautiful blue-sky autumnal Saturday, as the delightful small town's big weekend was coming to life. We were being put up by the secretary of the whole thing, so we went and met her (and her dog) and dropped off our gear. She and her husband lived very close to the action so we carried my musical equipment to the stage area.
There were no dramas setting up and starting my 45-minute first set, sometime around lunchtime. I played mainly originals to an audience that weren't sure what to expect; some were seated, some were just passing by. My songs seemed to go down well. The second set, later in the afternoon, was much the same. I had a chat with a couple of the other acts, a traditional folk outfit and a couple of singers, and it was clear that we all were aiming for the same thing - an easygoing and rewarding weekend.
That evening I wandered around the curious, otherworldly environment of the funfair, went to the North Laura Hotel for our tea, watched a bush dance, and enjoyed the fireworks display.
On Sunday, another glorious day, we joined locals and store holders at the community breakfast. Fried egg sandwiches and cups of tea, in the pale sunshine of the early morning. I played three times throughout the course of the day, once on the Street Stage and twice on the Lawn Stage. My first two sets were predominantly originals, the last set less so. I selected a few gems from my grab-bag of covers.
We left Laura after my last set, and it was strangely sad to go. The place, and the experience, had left its mark. We'd had a great time, but we wanted to be back home in Adelaide by nightfall. We said our goodbyes, and hit the road.
All up, we had a fabulous time. The locals and organisers couldn't have been more friendly and helpful, the other artists were pretty easy to get along with, and the crowd seemed to dig what I was doing. Despite the fact that sometimes I was sandwiched between backing-track/karaoke-type ensembles, my acoustic folk-rock (or whatever the racket I make is correctly defined as) was well received.

It was my first time at the fair, but I suspect that it won't be the last.

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