Next Gathering:

February 22nd, 23rd, 24th  2019

Always the last full weekend of Febuary

2017 wrap up

Posted: 6 March 2017

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The 2017 Frances Folk Gathering is now behind us and we can look back on a weekend which most feedback would suggest was one of the best.  A lot of factors made it a success. 

We had amazing artists: an absolutely fabulous special guest in Pete Denahy who was hilariously, side-splittingly funny and musically very entertaining.  Jude Iddison, a brilliant fiddle player from WA teamed with Andrew Clermont for some of the most spectacular fiddle playing most people have heard.  The Hansen twins, Merrily and Ginger, together with our own Matthew Lykos were justifiably well-received and a joy to hear. 

Andrew Clermont’s Supper Club also featured Hugh and Janet Gordon and the irrepressible John Francis, entertaining in the Main marquee through the evening.  We also had some great acts on the Blackboard through the week-end co-ordinated by Roger Calcraft

Local school Principal Natalie Gherardin organised a very successful Schools program on Friday and a very entertaining Kids’Talent Competition on Sunday.  Thanks to Don Fraser of the VFMC who brought forward his trip just to help out with the bush dance workshop when our regular supporters Pete and Annie Thornton had to pull out. 

Lavinia Hannaford organised, with a lot of local assistance, a terrific Art Exhibition and Annie O’Dea’s portrait of the well-loved Nel Groot was  a very popular winner. 

The dances were very well-attended and popular thanks to Lasseter’s Gold and the VFMC.  The Bandemonium was high quality with Henk Groot’s Bad Pennies romping and stomping to take out the prize. 

The Mixed Grill was also terrific this year with a consistently high quality of acts ripped predictably to shreds by the, as usual, vicious and corrupt judging panel.  Congratulations to Jane Bower for her tireless work in making sure it was a ripper! 

The catering was of its usual high standard thanks to the Bowls Club, the Footy Club and the hardworking volunteers of the Café de Folk.  The Frances Hotel/Motel was, as ever, at the heart of the Gathering with Ken and Anne Montgomery leading their team to keep the Guinness, Great Northern and coffee flowing.  The Frances Store also kept up a steady supply of coffee newspapers and lunches. 

The Acoustic Beetles, led by John (Howard James) Lennon got us all singing along, the Naracoorte Highland Pipe Band stirred our hearts and the Sunday Morning Market got us out of bed spending money on fantastic crafts and food stalls. 

We had fabulous workshops, great sessions and some excellent Competitions, led this year for the first time by Geoff Byham 

Thanks to all of the volunteers both in Adelaide and in Frances without whom none of this would happen.  Special thanks to the Organising Group in Adelaide and the Friends of Frances led by Sally Hawkins.  Thanks also to Mayor Erika Vickery for opening the Gathering and for being such a wonderful supporter.  For those who have not found them, a photographic record of the 2017 event ( and previous events can be accessed through the website or though and we thank Ian Fisk for having been our historian-through-pictures for many years. 

Thanks to the Naracoorte Herald for their active support in publicising the Gathering to the local community.  They are a truly great local paper. 

Thanks to everyone to came to be part of ‘the festival you are in and not just at’.  Numbers this year were very high and venues were consistently well attended. It was great to see you all there! 

Last but not least, heartfelt thanks to our sponsors and supporters: CUB and Bulmers (thanks Sean and Ricky), Naracoorte Lucindale Council, Dale Cleves Music, Naracoorte Cottages, Nufarm, Mrs Barbara Carruthers, the Hills Folk Club, Circle H Farms, DiGiorgio Wines, Tender Cuts Butchers and Naracoorte Foodland

We look forward to seeing you all next year.  If you are inspired to help with the organising of the 19th Frances Folk Gathering in 2018, please contact the Chair of the Organising Group Michael McGregor on 0419 820 605 or  

If you missed it, don’t worry: we will see you in Frances on 23-25 February 2018.