Roo Fest is the new monthly folk and roots event worth checking out in Maldon

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Roo Fest is the new monthly folk and roots event worth checking out in Maldon

Goldfields Folk and Roots: Roo Fest is the new monthly music event taking over the Kangaroo Hotel in Maldon this year.

A stunning new monthly event in Maldon, Goldfield’s Folk and Roots: Roo Fest has announced a truly excellent lineup for the next couple of months.

The gold rush town is 15 minutes from Castlemaine and it’s the perfect spot to showcase the brightest local and touring folk, blues and roots artists. Presented by Mandy Connell and Graeme Fletcher, the mini-fest has grown organically out of the need for shows and live music after the struggles of COVID. Donna Woods (licensee) has proudly welcomed Roo Fest to her historic venue, fostering a new audience under the bunting and grapevines in the beer garden of the Kangaroo Hotel.

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The lineup for the upcoming April 22 event includes New Zealand-born, Melbourne-based solo artist Kerryn Fields, winner of 2022 Music Victoria Best Folk Work and finalist for Best Solo Artist. Joining the magnificent Fields (a bona fide master of the distinctive alt-country/folk sound) are the popular Corn Nut Creek, Kimberley Wheeler, Liz Frencham and Kelsey Jean. Enchanting writers, they have been touring intensely and the beauty of this lineup is that they all work together regularly.

Blazing multi-instrumentalists, these performers have a deep understanding of each other’s work and Frencham, Bradley and Fields recently stole the show at Newstead Live Music Festival. As a trio, their spacious, flawless harmonies floored audiences at Fields’ 2022 Port Fairy Folk Festival appearances.

Kimberley Wheeler’s Roadside Holiday album is a favourite in the Americana scene, and Frencham’s sultry vocals weave around her bass in a style informed by jazz and honed on contemporary songwriting and captivating performance on the best stages.

Emerging talent Kelsey Jean has been developing her sound, with influences from Melbourne folk & rock and 70’s psychedelia.

First up though on Saturday, March 18, Australian legend Mick Coates with the Tibooburra Three, Featherhead, the Badcock Brothers, and Phil and Trudy Edgeley will take to the Roo Fest stage. 

A local legend, Coates is something of a catalyst among players in Victoria. Famous for his rich baritone voice (think Johnny Cash) his songs about the Aussie landscape go with him on the Mutawintji trail to Broken Hill. Rising star Charlotte LeLievre utterly entranced a full house in January when she joined Roo Fest after premiering new track ‘Barrier Line’ on Double J with Henry Wagons. Roo Fest favourites, Mick Coates’ Shallow Gravediggers included Le Lievre and ‘Barrier Line’ at their 2022 Roo Fest album launch.

Phil’s British Delta blues and Trudy’s Islander stories from Far North Queensland inspired Mark Lucas to say “…from dust-blown work songs to gospel-tinged country blues…universal experience at the same time deeply rooted in their own cultural understanding…” The pair ties the program together, uniting anglo and First Nations voices with the comedic post punk folk shenanigans of Badcock Brothers (Aaron Allen and Leif Helland) and Bendigo blues-country veterans Featherhead.

Roo Fest tickets are limited so head over to Eventbrite to reserve yours asap. The Kangaroo offers excellent country pub meals and bookings are recommended for dining inside. There will be a separate Roo Fest menu for patrons in the beer garden.

Tickets for April 22 are on sale here, and for March 18 here. Head to the Facebook events (Goldfields Folk & Roots April, and March) for all the latest information.