44 years on, Port Fairy Folk Festival retains its charm

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44 years on, Port Fairy Folk Festival retains its charm

Photo by Adam Taylor


Friday March 6 – Monday March 9.


The festival takes place across various venues throughout Port Fairy, an idyllic coastal bluestone town approximately 3.5 hours from Melbourne by car. Southcombe Sports Complex serves as the festival’s main hub and can be found in Campbell Street, Port Fairy – a short walk from the town centre.


Port Fairy Folk Festival welcomes a range of folk, roots, blues, jazz, world, country and bluegrass artists, both local and international, as well as an array of entertainers offering spoken word, comedy and street performances. This year’s lineup showcases the great folk and roots traditions of a range of cultures and communities around the world. Homegrown artists include Archie Roach with Paul Grabowsky and Sally Dastey, Benny Walker, Dan Sultan, Emily Wurramara, and C.W. Stoneking while international guests include the likes of The Blind Boys of Alabama, Ego Lemos, Patty Griffin, Hubert Francis, Eleanor McEvoy, Fara, John McCutcheon, YolanDa Brown and The Jellyman’s Daughter. That’s just the beginning.

The history

A true manifestation of all things folk, the first Port Fairy Folk Festival was held on the back of a truck – “a freewheeling cultural freedom ride of sorts,” in the words of Founding Director Jamie McKew OAM. 2020 will mark Port Fairy Folk Festival’s 44th year of enveloping the town with a smattering of live music, entertainment, family-friendly activities, food and markets – a longstanding community tradition and a staple of the local cultural calendar.

Since its first iteration, Port Fairy Folk Festival has welcomed over 8,000 artists from far and wide to the town. While it began as a celebration of Australian and Irish music, the festival has since opened its arms to performers from all over the world. Powered by volunteers and taking over the town for a weekend each March, Port Fairy Folk Festival is a celebration of community as much as it is music.

For its 2020 instalment, the festival will focus on First Nations performers, both contemporary and traditional, from Australia, Canada, Timor Leste and New Zealand.

The vibe

Port Fairy Folk Festival is a relaxed event and the perfect environment to bring the whole family. Wander between venues, bring your own chair or rug and take it all in. There are three marketplace stations across the festival, which can be found at Sackville Street, Railway Place and Fisherman’s Walk, as well as a range of historic pubs and restaurants to grab a bite at.

Patrons are welcome to bring their own food and non-alcoholic drinks, though there are licensed venues throughout the festival for those chasing something a bit harder than soft drink. The festival upholds a strict no BYO alcohol policy.

Port Fairy Folk Festival looks to reduce the use of single use plastic and encourages punters to bring their own water bottles, which can be refilled at water stations throughout the festival. The festival arena also has a dish-washing station for those opting to bring their own food.
Port Fairy Folk Festival caters to the whole family, with three dedicated kid-friendly entertainment and activity areas to be found throughout the festival.


There are two-day and four-day passes available, with lower rates available for youth (13-17) and early birds. Children under 13 do not require a ticket.

Grab your tickets and find out more about Port Fairy Folk Festival at portfairyfolkfestival.com.