Whare Flat Folk Festival a place to grow for musicians

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Two years ago, on the main Whare Flat Folk Festival stage under the marquee, audience members enjoyed local music star Nadia Reid’s performance with some of her old festival buddies.

Among them were Flora Knight, who has frequently toured New Zealand and the United States with The Eastern and others, and Hannah (Aldous) Harding, who has gone on to pursue a career of critical and commercial acclaim.

All these women grew up at the Whare Flat festival, as children of parents who regularly visited and performed at the festival, then later as teenagers cutting their musical teeth on the Whare Flat stage.

The performance of Reid, Harding and Knight was a testament to the decades of nurturing from Dunedin’s folk music scene.

Whare Flat Folk Festival was started 44 years ago by a group of local musicians, inspired by the folk revival that swept the world in the mid 20th century.

The festival is held at Waiora Scout camp, on Silverstream Rd, and is a family-friendly event with an extensive programme for children, along with a top-notch performance line-up and workshops.

It will be staged from December 30 to January 3.

This year’s line-up includes Kiwi songwriting legend Barry Saunders as well as Christchurch hot-shots Adam Hattaway and the Haunters and experimental indie folk artist Motte.

Traditional and modern waiata are represented by Auckland group WaiTai, and there will also be a host of bands making a name for themselves on the national stage.

The packed workshop schedule includes sessions on blues dance, square dance, and Texas two step.

From overseas, the festival welcomes touring Australian artist Archer and Canadian Scott Cook, both world-class performers and songwriters. Festival goers and visitors will celebrate New Year’s Eve with a high energy ceilidh.