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The Daylesford Spring Folk & Blues Festival 2011

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by Ben Mallinson (subscribe)
I'm a kiwi boy living in glorious Melbourne town. Work in Job Services/Recruitment with a background in the arts. I love Music, Philosophy, Friends, Food, Bars with the right atmosphere and whatever new experiences are on offer. Give 100% to life!
About a week ago when my housemate's partner Mel suggested we take a day trip about an hour and a half out of Melbourne to Daylesford on the weekend to check out the Spring Folk & Blues festival, well honestly I can't tell you what I expected. Having experienced several of the more commercial festivals on offer, from Falls Festival in Tasmania to Park Life in Melbourne I guess I anticipated something that represented a middle way between commercial and cozy country town atmosphere.

We arrived at the Daylesford Inn, located on Ballan Road about mid afternoon and let's get one thing straight; if you are looking to flaunt your 'trendiness' and soak up the bustling atmosphere of a large festival then this certainly isn't the place for you. However I am happy to report that if you can manage to smother any hint of a city slicker mindset and embrace the atmosphere for what it is, there is somewhat of a subtle hidden treasure on offer at this quaint festival.

The moment we pulled in off the road to the inn surrounded by bush and gorgeous little bungalows I felt a sense of calm. With only 2 very modest stages, one in a marquee in the front garden area and one in a small hall out back it would be easy to mistake it for a children's concert recital. After visiting the refreshingly reasonably priced bar and ordering a bowl of wedges, hand cut before our very eyes, we made our way in to the sun and relaxed.

Eventually returning back in to the main hall where we caught a few acts; many of which used handmade instruments including a drum set with all the necessary functions that looked like nothing more than an ordinary wooden box and a wood saw complete with violin bow. I think the most satisfying part of the experience, bearing in mind this is a folk and blues festival, is that everyone looked the part and even if just for a moment you felt as if you were in a different era all together.

Adrian Kosky and Phil McNamara performed some enchanting music; almost a mix of folk and poetic verse. Vanessa Craven, one of the final acts of the afternoon segment was one of my personal highlights. Introducing her songs in an adorably sweet and quiet voice, usually with some kind of political, environmental or humanistic undertone delivered a set with a multitude of musicians, that mixed many ethnic influences with traditional folk sound and often took the heart and mind to a place of deep focus. I realised I was perhaps a little too bold when I joined in a sing along at the end of the set, encouraged by Vanessa, however no one else was singing and my friends sunk ever so slightly in to their chairs with an embarrassed look on their face, however the personal amusement was worth it.

Popping out on to the balcony for a cigarette, when greeted by a local man I almost felt as if he addressed me by name because he was so friendly, as if we were old friends ready to launch in to a long overdue chinwag. The patronage overall was friendly and sincere and the quiet appreciation and gentle smiles all around was a rare treat. Unfortunately we weren't able to stay on for the evening segment but certainly left feeling content with our decision to check out this event. Perhaps it wasn't by coincidence after a few wines that we went for a complete contrast and chose to put on an 80s mix CD and sing along for most of the trip home.

Pricing for the festival was $20 for the afternoon or evening sessions or $35 for the full day. There is also a range of workshops on offer such as songwriting should you desire to explore your creativity a little more practically. The Daylesford Spring Folk & Blues Festival was held on Saturday the 8th of October and if you want more details about the next festival you can visit for more information.

If you are looking to get away from the city for a cheap outing and fancy something a little bit different, quiet and rejuvenating then maybe you should consider making a day of it at Daylesford next time. I might just see you there.
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Why? Try something different
Where: Daylesford Inn, 2891 Ballan Road, Daylesford, Vic 3460 Australia
Cost: Check website for details
Relatively good review ;-)
By Anonymous
Tuesday, 11th of October @ 06:52 am
Bahaha Chris! That'll teach me hehe... Next stop=your next gig in Melb!
By Anonymous
Tuesday, 11th of October @ 08:05 am
I might see you there Ben ;)
By Anonymous
Thursday, 13th of October @ 02:10 am
What an enjoyable review to read, Ben!
I think the art of writing is naturally in yours!
By Anonymous
Thursday, 27th of October @ 10:17 am
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