Sounds Like… Palm Creek Folk Fest

2019 Palm Creek Folk Festival
Palm Creek Folk Festival will return next weekend for its 29th year. IMAGE: AFP Photography

This is the third in a four-part series looking at the broad community benefits of Music Festivals in the Townsville region.

Palm Creek Folk Festival is a Townsville icon, celebrating its 29th year this June.

While launching in 1991 to an audience of just 86 people, the event has grown into bigger venues over time and now sells out annually.

It’s made a name for itself by bringing together the most diverse and eclectic range of performances anywhere in North Queensland, scattered throughout various tents and stages.

One component of the festival that remains as strong as ever is its Australian connection, thanks to organiser of the Homestead stage, Peter Dymond-Ramplin.

“I’ve been involved with the Festival ever since its inception,” said Peter. “I’ve run bush dances on the main stage from the very early days, but I currently run – as I have for many years – the Homestead, which is an absolutely Australian stage. We don’t have any imports at all because I’ve always been eager to showcase genuine Australian traditional content at Palm Creek.”

Read Part One: Sounds Like… Groovin the Moo

The Homestead features storytelling, bush poetry, traditional Australian music, and various workshops including damper-cooking, billy-swinging and home-brewing.

“A lot of festivals nowadays are really contemporary and modern and that’s terrific, but it means they miss out on the real Australian content. I’ve participated in pretty big festivals too in Germany and other places; when you go overseas, people view us as being somewhat exotic – but in Australia it’s ho hum. Ironically, a lot of the youth of Australia especially miss out on Australian language and poetry. That’s why I started off the Homestead.”

Peter Dymond-Ramplin, 2019 Palm Creek Folk Festival CREDIT Elijah Clarke
Peter Dymond-Ramplin. IMAGE: Elijah Clarke

The Homestead is just one of many performance areas at the Festival, with Peter attributing the event’s success to its diversity.

“Palm Creek is a very happy event for a huge cross-section of society: both the patrons and artists. Everyone’s coming from all over the place.

“I’ve always been interested in folk and heritage, and it’s wonderful to see so much of that right beside bright young artists performing on many of the stages that we have down there. The amazing talent of some very youthful people is fantastic and so colourful.”

Read Part Two: Sounds Like… Lifting the Outback

As well as the festival’s focus on local talent with acts such as Late November, Dan Baker, Fools Gold and Wattle n Gum on the line-up, a number of big names will also be stopping in to make this year’s event unforgettable – including Bullhorn, Bobby Alu, Z-Star Trinity, and more.

“This festival essentially turns into your family: no one is standoffish, everyone’s easy to talk to, and if you want to have a yarn you can. It’s not so large that it’s impossible to make it through the crowd or find your own space to enjoy the event, there is a ticket limit every year for a reason and it makes the festival so much more special.”

Join the 2019 Palm Creek Folk Festival at Mount Surround from 6-9 June, with tickets available at palmcreek.com.au

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