Centralian Advocate Feature THFF 2011

Posted by on Feb 28, 2012 in Festival Reports | 0 comments

A Musical Recipe

From around Australia, they came. Old friends meeting old friends, old friends making new friends. Bathed in a winter sun, locals shared their vibrant backyard with visitors and performers, who in turn, shared their talents with appreciative audiences.

On a cool breeze, the warm and rhythmical blend of stringed instruments, piano accordions, bodhrans and harmonica’s echoed along the walls of the Western MacDonnell Ranges.

A wonderful generational mix, combined in their love of music, fun and friendship. This is what the Top Half Folk Festival brings to Glen Helen and Central Australia every two years. Now in its 41st year, the Top Half Folk Festival alternates between Alice Springs and Darwin. Born of humble beginnings as a Centenary Concert at the Alice Springs Telegraph Station in March 1971, it is now recognised as being one of the oldest folk festivals in Australia. It also has a deserved reputation as being one of the best.

Performers young and old showcased their talents, either in a concert or workshop format or simply in a relaxed and informal fireside setting in the historic Glen Helen Lodge. Already being talked about as one of the best yet, 200 people camped for the recent long weekend. Many more made day trips from town.

Comments from audience and performers alike were that the standard of the concerts was the highest ever, and as good as, if not better than those held at similar festivals down south.

The recipe for success: – Organise ingredients, add quality of performance to a stunning setting, mix in a group of people with music, fun and friendship in their veins, leave singing for as long as possible, and then share around with as many people as possible.

Words by David Evans Picture Barry Skipsey