Whare Flat festival a unique family event

Relaxing outside their tent at last year's Whare Flat Folk Festival are (front, from right) Khris...
Relaxing outside their tent at last year's Whare Flat Folk Festival are (front, from right) Khris Broughton-Ansin and Andrew Davies. Behind is Tracy Pettinger (left), Gaye Davies and Izaak Amperie. Photo by Jane Dawber.
The Whare Flat Folk Festival was established in 1975 and is a major drawcard for folk musicians.

Bernadette Berry, who has been at the forefront of the festival for ages, has seen in the new year many times at the Waiora Scout Camp.

Berry says this year's festival has attracted two groups from Australia - Mara! and The String Contingent - as well as Jackie Bristow, the girl from Gore who is now based in the US and Australia.

The programme features the tried and true blend of solo musicians, duos and bands playing over a three-day period.

Concerts begin on Thursday, December 30 with a meet and greet session from 3pm, followed by a welcoming concert by the New Edinburgh Folk Club and friends, from 8pm.

On New Year's Eve, concerts begin at noon with artists changing over mostly on the hour until the ''midnight rock out'' with King Leo.

Whare Flat has long been about families.

Friday's children's menu begins at 9am with a workshop led by Fillipa Fairy, followed by ukulele with Anna Bowen. From 11am, Siobhan Moroney leads jazz dance for kids.

Bernadette Berry dispels any misconception that folk music is for older folk.

''There is a great group of new performers coming through - this festival is hugely popular with teen musicians - we ... work to encourage young performers.''

For early risers in the New Year, January 1 begins with a magic show by Jay the Juggler at 11am.

Berry says there's no secret to the festival's longevity.

''It's a fantastic place to be.''

Be there: Whare Flat Folk Festival, Waiora Scout Camp, December 30-January 1.

• The traditional gig in the Octagon has changed a little this year, with Delgirl and the Oxo Cubans replaced by Jackie Bristow, Whateva, and Soul Deep.

Be there: New Year's Eve in the Octagon with Jackie Bristow, Whateva and Soul Deep.


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