Youth Stage at Cobargo Folk Festival turns 13 – entries open now for 2018

Sarah Lindgard from Eden Marine High. Photo: Supplied
Sarah Lindgard from Eden Marine High. Photo: Supplied

The Crossing Youth Stage at the annual Cobargo Folk Festival has an impressive back-catalogue.

Almost 700 young acts have entertained festival-goers and in 2018 the Youth Stage turns thirteen.

Young people interested in performing and adding to the tradition are invited to apply online before December 10 to secure a place.

“Because of the history and fun we’ve had over the years, applications are filling fast, there is a limited number of sets available,” The Crossing’s Annette Turner says.

“The Folk Festival really believes in providing a designated space for young performers, and we’ve really seen it become a highlight in amongst the star-studded festival program.”

The Youth Stage builds on the day to day work of The Crossing Land Education Trust at Bermagui.

The Trust is based in a magnificent Spotted Gum forest on the edge of the Bermagui River.

Established in 1999 and lead by Dean and Annette Turner, The Crossing is a unique not-for-profit educational camp where teens for near and far learn about Landcare, sustainable design, habitat, and wildlife research in a hands-on, practical way.

Greater self-awareness, confidence, initiative  – and a good time is the spin-off for those who take part.

“We take that notion of having a go in a supportive environment to The Youth Stage and give young people experience performing in front of live audiences,” Annette says.

Most performers are local but a few young people from further afield like Canberra and Wollongong have heard about the opportunity and in recent years have been making the most of the festival experience.

Rhys Davis and Llew Badger in 2014. Photo: Supplied
Rhys Davies and Dizzi Stern in 2014. Photo: Supplied

Names on The Crossing Youth Stage honour role include Cooma’s Vendulka, Brogo’s Daniel Champagne, Bega’s Rhys Davies, and Merimbula’s Kim Churchill, who have all gone on to bigger stages and bigger audiences around Australia and around the world.

“There is always such a broad range of music,” Annette says.

“All music is welcome with opportunities for young people to perform a single song or an entire set – you can even come and juggle.

“And what I really love is that some will go away and really hone their skills between festivals and return with new material, different line-ups, and more confidence,” Annette smiles.

The Stage also provides an important hub and hang out for young festival goers, with an atmosphere of respect and inclusion for all.

Spin-offs from the Youth Stage have included a Songwriters Camp held at The Crossing during the school year that gives young people an opportunity to develop their talent and craft under the guidance of professional musicians and performers.

The 2018 Cobargo Folk Festival runs March 2 to 4, the program so far includes Eric Bogle, Neil Murray, The Northern Folk, and David Ross McDonald. Those interested in performing at The Crossing Youth Stage need to register online before December 10.

*The Crossing Land Education Trust are Community Group Members of About Regional.

About Regional, Podcast 11 – The Great Southern Forest

The Great Southern Forest, photo by Richard Green
The Great Southern Forest, photo by Richard Green

The National Folk Festival in Canberra is underway and there is somewhat a South East take over happening with a bunch of artists from this side of the mountain performing.

People like Heath Cullen, Kate Burke, Mike Martin, Sam Martin, Stonewave Taiko and the Djaadjawan Dancers are all taking centre stage.

In the week’s leading up to the National, South East NSW provides a warm-up space to many of the performers booked to play in Canberra.

The Cobargo Folk Festival is one of those warm-up events and always makes the most of the international artists who fly in for the National – it’s often the case that Cobargo is the first gig in an Australian tour for musos from the UK, Europe and America.

Apart from music, folkies enjoy a chat and a lively speakers tents is part of every folk festival.

At Cobargo this year, festival goers heard of an ambitious idea to change the way forests in South East NSW are managed and used.

Stonewave Taiko by Ben Marden
Stonewave Taiko by Ben Marden

The push to establish The Great Southern Forest aims to turn State Forests in the region into carbon sinks – creating jobs and economic opportunities through land management, restoration, and tourism.

Those driving the campaign see the end of the current Regional Forest Agreements in 2019 and 2021 as the chance to end native logging and move to a new economic model.

Dr Bronte Somerset, comes from a career in higher education, she has five children and 12 grand-children and is one of the advocates for The Great Southern Forest, she detailed the idea in a crowded speakers tent at the Cobargo Folk Festival.

Thanks to my partners in this podcast – Light to Light Camps, rolling out the red carpet on the 31 km track between Boyd’s Tower and Greencape Lighthouse south of Eden.

Feedback, story ideas, and advertising inquiries are really welcome – send your email to hello@aboutregional.com.au

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Thanks for tuning in, see you out and about in South East NSW.

Cheers

Ian