Music and dance folk festival focus

Playing a Scottish tune on the fiddle, performer Anna Bowen takes a break while her husband...
Playing a Scottish tune on the fiddle, performer Anna Bowen takes a break while her husband Andrew Bowen sets up a tent before the start of the Whare Flat Folk Festival on Saturday. Photo by Gerard O'Brien.
It was a hive of activity at Wairoa Scout Camp on Saturday as Whare Flat Folk Festival attendees set themselves up for four days of folk-fuelled fun.

Festival-goers began arriving on Saturday morning, pitching their tents or parking their motorhomes or house-buses among the grass and manuka of the camp-ground, with some taking the time to sit down and play the odd tune.

The approximately 50 organisers of the long-standing event began setting up marquees on Friday and continued to work into Saturday, ahead of the opening performance at 8pm that night. Festival director Bernadette Berry said people kept coming back to the event each year because of the fantastic music and the beautiful environment.

''It's friendly, it's all-inclusive and people get an opportunity to hear things and do things that they haven't ever done before,'' Ms Berry said.

It was not just about listening to music, but also about getting involved in workshops and helping create music, she said.

People came from as far afield as Auckland and she had even heard that one person had timed their trip from Canada so they could come to the festival this year.

A highlight this year included the ''Samba Experience'' where participants could take part in a series of workshops, culminating in a performance on New Year's Day.

About 500 people were expected to attend over the four days of the event, she said.

The festival runs until Wednesday.

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