At the end of a very busy October, I had the joy of flying up to Cairns for the second time in 2018, this time to play at one of Queensland’s oldest running folk festivals: The Tablelands Folk Festival! Held in Yungaburra, on the Atherton Tablelands, the festival is thoroughly gorgeous, held in small venues throughout the historic town. I was lucky enough to be invited to play as both ‘Jo Davie’ and ‘Cigány Weaver’, which was very exciting. And so, the crew assembled for what would be a bloody lovely adventure x
Cairns House Concert #can'tgetenough
To get to the festival, one must fly into Cairns airport and then set off on a wee drive south-west – and so we decided, why not do a short stop-over in Cairns and hold-up my tradition of Cairns house concerts. As I have family there, it was a great opportunity to warm-up for the festival by playing to a bunch of friends in my second cousin’s front yard! As I have mentioned, house concerts are a pretty ideal way to play extra shows when you are touring around – they are very cheap to put on, and the profits go directly back to the artist (pretty good deal!)
This concert was so beautiful, we played fully acoustically under a star filled sky, and it felt so natural. House concerts are the key to musical connection and happiness, I reckon! The crowd was large and extraordinarily respectful, following the music we partied the night away.
The next day it was alas time to leave beautiful Cairns, and head down to Yungaburra and the awaiting festival, via the festival shuttle bus.
Tablelands FOlk Festival
The windy road onto the Tablelands didn’t do good things for my tummy, but upon our arrival in Yungaburra my queasiness quickly dissipated.
We were to stay with most of the other bands in the historic Yungaburra Hotel. Fun Fact: the Yungaburra hotel is the second largest timber hotel in the southern hemisphere and was built in 1910 by Henry Williams when the railway came to town (~the more you know~). The slightly rickety, but extremely charming building becomes the festival hub during Tablelands, with stages built in and around it’s vicinity. Inside there were free pool tables which was also a massive bonus.
Over the weekend I played some lovely shows of my original tunes, again with very kind audiences. I was also stoked because I got to play with a full band of buddies; Daisy, Jack, Liam and Gareth, who all helped to bring my songs much extra sparkle. Playing my originals with a band is something that I’m starting to get more and more comfortable with. I think it’s something that you need to make sure you’ve got the right people for, and that it’s the right time for. I love the way that all my band mates play off each other and have ideas that I wouldn’t have come up with. I can’t wait to continue developing the band sound this year!
Alongside my shows, I also saw a whole heap of fun performances by other great artists on the bill, Hello Tut Tut, All Strings Attached, Jenny Mitchell and The Kroovs were all absolute favs. We also did some killer ‘Cigány Weaver’ shows, which were so fun. Playing the dance hall stage was a highlight, where the whole crowd was going crazy jumping around. It’s always a fun time with my gypsy boys :3
Another great thing about Tablelands was their ‘Sing For Your Supper’ (SFYS) initiative for performing musicians. Basically, they gave each band a SFYS voucher for a different local café, where you could go and perform for 40mins or so and get a free meal, which was just the best thing. Once you spend a lot of time and effort getting to the festival, it can be frustrating having to spend your small profits on food while you are there. Thus, I thought this was such a great idea to make the financial side slightly easier for performers. Cigány did this for lunch at the lovely Mad Hatters Café, and it was jolly good.
This festival was extremely lovely to perform at, and I’m glad I did, because it was a great weekend spent travelling and playing music with friends.