PFFF part 3 – day 2.

Doesn’t seem much point in filling up a lot of space with commentary, really.
Here’s who we saw on the Sunday of PFFF this year:

1st up, the Melbourne Mass Gospel Choir, with various guest artists, singing mostly from the Bob Dylan song sheet.  This is a great way to kick off a Sunday morning.  I should add that my brother Graeme used to sing in this gospel choir, so if you think these guys are good, just imagine how much better they would be with my brother swelling that ol’ gospel sound!

Next, Chris Hilman and Herb Perderson, two guys you may never have heard of, but whose songs are very well known.

The tent for Hilman and Pederson was chockers, perhaps partly because they played on the same stage that had just been vacated by the Gospel singers, but more likely because they were followed by Archie Roach.  Foolishly Jack and I left the tent in the break, only to find upon our return that the door was blocked by some security guy who refused to let us back in, despite our protestations that the rest of our family, and our seats, and our stuff was all inside.  So we had to listen to Archie from the outside.  The instrument makers’ tent was just next door, so we ducked in for a while to check out the steel stringed ukeleles and the five stringed acoustic violins.  Those of you scratching your heads trying to think of suitable Christmas presents later this year, take note!  Liz tells me that Archie is looking old, and seemed to be having some difficulty up on the stage.  From outside he still sounded as good as ever.

Next gig, same tent, was John Butler, who you could argue was the biggest ‘name’ at this year’s event.  Perhaps that’s why the tent was so chockers.  I can’t imagine where he’d be or what we’d all be listening to now if this guy channelled all his creative energy into 3 minute songs to suit the radio stations!  Thank goodness he chooses not to do that.  Amazing musician.

After such a long time in the same tent it was time for some fresh air, which is where we caught a bit of the Kwela Swingsters.  This is a Melbourne bunch of musos (including Gavan McCarthy from Jugularity on bass, as if there’s not enough incestuousness in this whole folk scene already) playing the kind of music that you would hear in Soweto or Kwazulu Natal.

From the bright daylight of the outdoors, from the chirpy happy music of the Township we plunged into the Sheebeen, one of the central, one of the largest, one of the most popular, and one of the most expensive tents in the whole festival.  Also the only one that sells Guinness, which probably accounts for all those ‘mosts’.

No classy act on stage this time, though.  I couldn’t even tell you the name of this band.  Maybe they don’t have a name.  A covers band, which doesn’t sound like what you’d expect at a folk festival.  But this is Sing-a-long Sunday night at Port Fairy, and it’s more fun than you can poke a stick at.  And I’ve poked a lot of sticks!  Imagine a thousand people standing shoulder to shoulder singing “Those were the days my friend”, Proclaimers songs, and the Time Warp, all at the top of their alcohol affected and not quite recording quality lungs.  Great stuff.

Next, Judy Collins, who’s been around since forever, and sung every song there is, with everybody who is anybody.  She was pretty big back in the 60s I think.  I bet she was a really great live act back in the day…

And actually that was about it.  There was still stuff going on late on Sunday night, but we”d more or less had it by then, so we wandered back to the tent and called it a night.  On Monday morning there were a few acts still performing, but we’d seen them at some stage over the weekend, and the road homewards was beckoning.

No doubt we’ll be back there next year for more.


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