All-time favourites return for 33rd Illawarra Folk Festival

The 33rd Illawarra Folk Festival at Bulli Showground in January will feature some of the all-time favourite performers from the last 32 years, along with many exciting newcomers.

Past festival favourites Eric Bogle and The Go Set head a stellar Australian lineup, while revered Irish songstress Eleanor McEvoy, US country music star Kevin Welch, Irish band Breaking Trad, Canadians The Small Glories and long-time Illawarra favourites The Beez from Germany are among the international acts from nine countries.

Tamworth Country Music Festival Golden Guitar winner Darren Coggan, who now calls the Illawarra home, is another performer who is certain to attract a lot of attention at the festival, which runs from January 18-21.

But Bogle is the undoubted headline act. He is one of Australia’s favourite adopted musical sons, and returns to the festival for the fourth time, having played there in 1988, 2012 and 2014. The Scottish-born singer-songwriter, whose anti-war song And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda is an international classic, always attracts a big audience when he performs at the Illawarra Folk Festival.

The great thing about the Illawarra Folk Festival has always been the incredible diversity.

David De Santi

And folk-punk outfit The Go Set, fresh from a US tour, are certain to light up the late-night festival scene as they have done many times before with their power-laden fusion of Celtic, folk and punk music, featuring bagpipes, accordion and mandolin as well as drums and guitars.

“It is great to have Eric Bogle back at the Illawarra Folk Festival for a fourth time,” said Artistic Director David De Santi. “He is a true international icon of folk music, and we are excited to have Eric as part of a very strong line-up of close to 150 acts.

“And it is great to welcome back The Go Set, who haven’t played our festival since 2014. They have always been hugely popular in the past – rocking the main stage with their brand of folk punk - and I am sure a lot of our regular patrons are going to be excited to see them back.

“We’re also thrilled to have Darren Coggan in the lineup for the first time. He has made a big name for himself around Australia, telling the stories of performers like Cat Stevens and James Taylor through their songs. I am sure that people are going to love his shows.”

Mr De Santi described the four-day festival as a “smorgasbord of musicians, singers, bands, poets, comedians and dancers, with something for everyone”.

“The great thing about the Illawarra Folk Festival has always been the incredible diversity, and this festival will be no different. We are very happy with both the quality of the performers, and the variety of acts,” Mr De Santi said.

The 2018 festival’s featured instrument is the ukulele.