Songstress Lucy shines as folk youth ambassador

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From left… Managing director Helen Roben, Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay, piper Athol Chalmers, and youth ambassador Lucy Sugerman.

THE Youth Ambassador for the 54th National Folk Festival will be Canberra songstress Lucy Sugerman, it was announced last night (February 18) at a launch by ACT Arts Minister Gordon Ramsay.

Sugerman will join an all-star cast of local and national acts, including top indigenous songwriters such as Stiff Gins, Gina Williams and Guy Ghouse, as well as country musician, songwriter and TV personality Henry Wagons.

Among the 29 international acts in the line-up will be all-female Māori roots and dance ensemble Māmā Mihirangi and the Māreikura, roots and blues songstress Kyshona from the US, and from Britain, new-wave folk quintet Elephant Sessions and BBC Radio’s Folk Singer of the Year, Jon Boden.

There was plenty to crow about. Managing director of the event, Helen Roben, said with more than 50 per cent of festival attendees coming from outside Canberra, last year’s festival had injected $4.3 million into the local economy.

“The National”, running over the Easter long weekend, will this year present more than 200 acts in 16 venues, and will feature a dedicated kid’s festival, as well as street food and artisan stallholders, a new community co-op workshop program, Canberra beer, local wine and an array of street and circus performances to please the anticipated 40,000 thousand festival-goers.

Most importantly, the festival will reach out to support fire-affected folk festivals with relief and fundraising efforts, with the Fitzroy Pavilion renamed the “Hope for Folk” stage and all proceeds from the adjoining bar going to the Cobargo, Nariel Creek and Numeralla folk communities.

As well, on the Saturday a special “Hope for Folk” concert will showcase performers who were originally programmed for the affected folk festivals and merchandise from those communities will be on sale.

The 54th National Folk Festival, Exhibition Park in Canberra, April 9-13, the online program will be available from tomorrow, Thursday, February 20 at folkfestival.org.au, where details of bookings can also be found.

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Helen Musa
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