Thoughts on Triple J Hack's Review of the NFF

Like many humans over the easter long weekend, I attended the National Folk Festival (You can read all about my experience here :D) Upon my return from this paradise of folk music I encountered a very strange article. This article to be exact

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I don’t know how I feel about it, but I certainly feel something. Is folk music only for old people? The headline poses a question, almost in a click bait style, and I can’t get the contents within out of my head. SO without further adieu, here are some rambling thoughts I’ve been having about the post NFF Triple J Hack Blog Post. 

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The first paragraph presents us with some statistics about the festival. “In 2017, just one out of ten attendees was aged between 18 and 29, with a further 12 per cent under the age of 18.” Then we get a comparison to Bluesfest, which “Only faired slightly better” with a little less than 20 percent of attendees fitting in this age bracket, and finally a comparison to Woodford, which has 30 percent of attendees in this age bracket. The article then rambles for a bit about the festivals vibe and "what even is folk music anyway?" It’s not positive, but it’s not negative either. It’s decidedly neutral. 

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There are three major things I briefly want to address in regards to “young people at folk festivals (specifically young people at the NFF) ”.

1) It’s an expensive experience or time costly experience. If you don’t want to shell out hundreds for a ticket with camping, you’ve got to work 20 hours across the festival, not the mention the price of travel, food and possibly an impulse purchase from the instrument makers. (I mean, heaps of other festivals are also expensive, but their also kind of relaxing holiday fun times which leads me to my second point) 

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2) It’s not a relaxing holiday. I knew a significant amount of people at the festival, and anecdotally, pretty much all of them were busy. Like properly real life sort of busy rehearsing, and performing and busking and working and seeing things and attending workshops and having 4 hour long jams. It’s not a “paradise holiday escape” like other mainstream festivals can be.

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3)Folk music doesn’t get the same mainstream support as other music. When was the last time you heard the crazy lively tunes of Trouble in the Kitchen on triple J? Or seen a review of bleeding gums murphey pride of place on The Music? For folk music to reach a younger audience it needs to have more mainstream support. 

The final thought I’ve been having overall about the article is why does the perceived success of a festival rest on how many 18 - 29 year olds attend? Also, why is folk worth less as a genre if the majority of listeners aren’t young? 

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The NFF has been going for over 50 years! I can’t think of another festival that’s survived this long, let alone one that has the same patron loyalty (I met people who have attended every year for 30 - 40 years). 

So is folk music only for old people? Quite frankly, I don’t care. The age bracket of the people who play/listen to folk and attend folk festivals does not affect how much I, as an 18 - 29 year old love the music and the culture. Never has, never will.

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*These photos were not taken at the festival. They were taken before a video shoot on a rainy dark  afternoon. YAY context!

On being creatively fulfilled

Creative fulfilment is better than any other feeling I have ever felt ever. Over the last month I have consistently created more things and played more gigs than any previous period. I'm exhausted, I've barely been home, what little free time I had has vanished, but it's ok, because I feel so creatively fulfilled. 

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Earlier this month I had the pleasure of shooting a gig for Bakoomba (who are a super rad African Fusion Band) this allowed me to buy something I've been thinking about buying for ages. I finally bought a "nifty fifty" (aka a 50mm 1.8 lens). I can't believe it's taken me this long to purchase one of these. It's now the best lens I own. (I shot this blog post on it! Look at all the creamy backgrounds :D) 

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Due to the tiny depth of field and my current solo photo technique it's going to take me a while to get into a groove with the lens. But once I do my fashion photos will be so crisp with such beautiful creamy backgrounds! 

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I'm not going to say much more than this. It's kind of late, I'm exhausted from an insane week and my words have all but disappeared. I will however leave you with a link to an article/interview did on my new Flute Quartet :D https://www.cutcommonmag.com/watch-the-world-premiere-of-jennifer-hankins-flute-quartet/

A note on Friendship.

As an adult it's super easy to get caught up in the exhaustion of life and routine and trying to keep it all together and stop seeing people and doing things with those people. I know because that's progressively been my life for the past year or so. That's all changed recently, and it's so good. 

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It's really nice having friends, and it's really nice being a friend. These people are your chosen family. They don't have to be with you, or care about you, but they do. Likewise, no one is forcing you to hang out, or be there for them, but you are anyway because you love them. 

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Romantic love is such a major focus of our media and species. "Finding your other half" and settling down as a pair, and having a person who knows you like no other. Romantic love is great, but it's rarely forever, and when your forever falls apart on you, it's your friends that are there to catch you when you fall.  

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I've had an incredible amount of support from friends over the last few months whilst I was ejecting a particular toxic human from my life. I honestly don't think I would have recovered nearly as well without all their love and support. 

As my friend Peter Lawrie would say: You are special, you are important and you are loved <3