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.

Young Far South Coast ‘SongMakers’ craft new tunes at The Crossing

Thelma Plum, JD Fung, Dean and Annette Turner and students from Narooma, Bega and Eden High Schools taking part in SongMakers
Thelma Plum, JD Fung, Dean and Annette Turner and students from Narooma, Bega and Eden High Schools taking part in SongMakers

Bushland on the Bermagui River has been the setting for an artistic collaboration between local teens and two of Australia’s most talented people.

Thelma Plum and Jean-Paul (JP) Fung last week led 16 senior students from Bega, Narooma, and Eden High Schools in a two-day music and song retreat at The Crossing.

Thelma is an Indigenous singer-songwriter from northern New South Walse, a graduate of the Music Industry College in Brisbane, she released her debut EP ‘Rosie’ in March 2013, which was followed by ‘Monster’ in 2014.

With Triple J Unearthed, National Indigenous Music Awards, and Deadly Award wins as a springboard, Thelma has continued to draw attention and audiences. She is currently wrapping up a national tour with West Australian band San Cisco.

Jean-Paul is a Sydney based writer, producer, and mixer who has worked alongside Birds of Tokyo, Daniel Johns, Jet, Cold Chisel, Josh Pyke, and more.

These two mentors came to beautiful Bermagui under the banner of the SongMakers program supported by music royalties body APRA AMCOS.

“They led the students through a songwriting process that had them engaging their senses and taking notice of their feelings and emotions,” explains Annette Turner from The Crossing.

SongMakers is an intensive, real-world program centred around being creative. Australia’s best songwriters and producers help students to create and record new music.

For two days, students are immersed in a hothouse collaborative environment and given unparalleled insight into the forces that drive the contemporary music industry and the creative processes required to cut through.

“Songmakers usually go into schools but I asked them to come south and run the workshop as a camp because it’s a challenge getting 16 senior music students from any one school on the south coast,” Annette says.

“With the support of the Yuin Folk Club it all came together and four brand new songs are the result.”

These new sounds will debut at The Crossing Winter Band Night at Quamma Hall on Saturday, July 1.

Boasting about the experience on Facebook, JP said it was two-days of nature inspired songwriting and production.

The About Regional community has been given a sneak peak at one of the songs!

A tune called ‘Escape’ crafted by Hayden Ryan and Dayna Lingard (Narooma High), Mabel Ashburn and Mia Edwards (Eden Marine High), and JP Fung

*Students shouldn’t be blamed for the amateur looking video clip – that’s Ian!

*Thanks to Annette Turner for the photos used