Once the epicentre of regional town life, Australia’s special small halls are again coming to life thanks to the country’s largest dedicated regional music tour, Festival of Small Halls.
Touring over 80 regional Australian halls every year, Festival of Small Halls brings the best in contemporary folk and acoustic music for Autumn, Spring and Summer tours, each featuring a well-known homegrown artist and renowned international act.
Introduced by Woodford Folk Festival programme director and international 'Spirit of Folk' Award-winner, Chloe Goodyear, Festival of Small Halls was inspired by Canada’s highly successful festival of the same name.
“As in Canada, our small halls were built to provide a place for communities to come together; be it for the Saturday night dance; celebrations of births, deaths and weddings; or to hold town meetings and connect in times of crisis.
“It is more important than ever to bring these special spaces back to life and what better way to do that than in the spirit of country hospitality with live, original music from artists who really connect with their audience,” said Chloe, who launched the first Australian tour in 2013.
Festival Of Small Halls’ Executive Producer, Eleanor Rigden said running the Tour as a not-for-profit organisation under the wing of Australia’s largest folk festival promoter enables them to “bring in the best contemporary folk artists, who otherwise would not be able to afford touring these regions.”
“From our farmlands to the flood lands, the rainforests to the outback, the towns that are a bit off the beaten track tend to be left off big tours, which means regional folk are missing out.
“We are passionate about changing that. And so are the townspeople and our folk festival partners like Woodford, The National, Port Fairy and Mullum, who work with us to make it possible.”
Eudlo resident and Festival Of Small Halls’ local community volunteer, Stephanie Tonkin, said, “Small Halls’ shows are a chance for the whole town to get together.”
“Family, friends, children and the young at heart gather in our very own hall, all lit up beautifully and brought back to life.
“We break between acts to eat, drink and catch up with each other. It’s really special,” she said.
Ms Tonkin, 62, said helping to organise the event in her hometown is “a chance to pitch in together to create an event that is becoming a bit of a tradition here in Eudlo.”
“Now that the tour has been here a few times, word spreads like wildfire! People enjoy rekindling the time-old tradition of meeting in the town’s small hall, as well as having the opportunity to see quality, contemporary music on our doorstep.”
This Spring and Summer sees Festival Of Small Halls tour to over 40 regional Queensland towns, representing a massive growth in the breadth and depth of the Festival reach.
“We've spoken to communities all over the country, and they want access to wonderful music without the cost, challenges and inconveniences of packing up the family to get to a show in the city,” said Ms Rigden, who is currently working on plans to expand the Tour to Western Australian and Northern Territory.
Ms Rigden said the upcoming Queensland tours are “an incredible display of contemporary folk that will make for a very special night in these very special spaces.”
Past Festival Of Small Halls tours have seen acts like The Mae Trio, Irish Mythen, The East Pointers, Liz Stringer and The Little Stevies tour regional towns across New South Wales, Tasmania, South Australia, Victoria and Queensland.
About Festival Of Small Halls Spring Tour
24 October - 18 November 2018
Featuring critically-acclaimed Canadian duo Madison Violet and rising Australia star Harry Jakamarra, the Festival of Small Halls Spring Tour will travel through the Queensland outback and up to its sunburned peak, covering 20 small halls in Toowoomba, Maranoa, Barcaldine, Clermont, Banana, North Burnett and Dimbulah before wrapping up at favourite Australian festival Queenscliff Music Festival.
Tickets on sale 16 August at festivalofsmallhalls.com
About Festival Of Small Halls Summer Tour
16 November - 1 January 2018
Featuring Canada’s two-time JUNO Award winner, Old Man Luedecke and Australian folk festival favourite, Lucy Wise, Festival of Small Halls hits the Queensland roads this Summer starting in the hills of the northern NSW at Mullum Music Festival 16 November, then on to the Darling and Western Downs areas and all the way up to the lush rainforests north of Cairns before finishing up at Woodford Folk Festival, 27 December - 1 January. Tickets on sale soon.
Madison Violet, Harry Jakamarra, Old Man Luedecke and Lucy Wise are available for interviews. Photographs are available on request.
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