FROM humble beginnings in 1974, the Maldon Folk Festival has long since become a mainstay of the region’s crowded events calendar.
The rich tradition of one of regional Victoria’s first music festivals will continue later this month when folk enthusiasts from across the country travel to Maldon.
This year’s four-day event runs from October 28 to 31 and will feature not just Australian performers, but also acclaimed international acts from the United Kingdom.
Martyn Wyndham-Read, Joe Quinn, The Haywood Billy Goats, Sal Kimber & The Rollin’ Wheel, The Capitalist Pigs, The Willie Wagtails and Greg Champion are just a few who will grace the various stages.
The Maldon Folk Festival has never just been about folk music and this year is no different, with the launch of a “festival within a festival”.
The Singing from Country project kicks off on October 29 with a workshop from 1pm to 6pm designed to celebrate the Australian landscape.
Attendees will hear from local ecologists, songwriters and traditional landowners before an all-star concert to round off the day.
Neil Murray, writer of the iconic song “My Island Home”, will perform, as well as Kavisha Mazzella, Carl Pannuzzo and indie artist Eva Popov.
People are welcome to attend either the workshop or concert, or both.
The driving force behind the project, Terry White, said Singing from Country aims to unite songwriters with traditional landowners, naturalists and ecological experts in central Victoria to celebrate the story of their country.
“Music is a universal language,” he said. “It tells stories. It helps communicate love for land, deepen knowledge of country and strengthen community.
“Many Victorians are street-wise but not land-literate. When people sing together about country, it is a powerful force for uniting and galvanising action.”
The workshop will hear from people engaged in indigenous language retrieval, as well as learn about the Dja Dja Wurrung people and their unrivaled knowledge of the land.
Paul Paton, of the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages, said: “Victoria’s aboriginal languages reflect a deep connection to the land, providing us wisdom about how to care for it.”
Organisers hope the project, together with follow up Singing from Country events in the local area, will inspire a new generation of grassroots songwriters to reflect on their personal connection to the land.
The project is funded by the Regional Arts Fund and led by Community Music Victoria in partnership with the Victorian Aboriginal Corporation for Languages. For more, search for “Singing from Country” on Facebook.