After a long drought of no festivals, it was wonderful to be among friends and music again at the Waimate Folk Festival. This was the third time Miguel has run it ‘for last time’ – thank you Miguel – with attendees pitching in to help with stage management, sound, compering and stoking the fire.
Concerts there were aplenty – two blackboards, a blind date, the regional concerts and the final concert. People from as far afield as Invercargill and the Waikato attended, and regions showed off their talent in the ‘North of Waitaki’ and ‘South of Waitaki’ concerts.
The dance on Saturday was energetic with a great band of almost everyone who was not dancing and callers guiding us through the dances.
Sunday was dress-up night. The theme this year was ‘The Return of the Giant and Faerie Folk’, which made for a great deal of hilarity as folkies took on different personae, and a very interesting-looking choir began the evening’s concert!
Accommodation in bunk rooms is part of the deal; however, people like their own pad, as evidenced by about 25 caravans, campers and live-in vans, plus two hardy folk in tents, dotted about the large grounds.
Meals are provided for a fee, and the experience of eating together was a great time for catching up and most enjoyable.
The weather was fine or cloudy and cold, which meant people stayed together in the hall where the fire is (the knitters near the window for the light), rather than splintering off to individual camps.
A great thing about this festival is that you can sit down and comfortably enjoy events, take off to explore surrounding walks, or get involved in everything – choir, poetry, blackboard concerts, dance and the challenge of the Blind Date draw.
The high energy ‘jamming’ till the early hours of the morning was open to all to join in with voice or instrument.
On Monday there were plenty of hugs to send us on our way and, for those in the know, a wallaby pie to buy in Waimate on the way home.