Cobargo Folk Festival, the best little festival on the South Coast
March is festival month!
Over 20 years ago, a group of mates gathered to play folk tunes in the foothills of Gulaga Mountain on the Sapphire Coast of NSW. They played into the night, and within days the Cobargo Folk Festival was born. This year it will be held on March 2 – 4. See the full program here!
In 2018 there more 40 bands and performers coming from across the world, the region, and the paddock. There are 9 venues, with 4 main stages, a dance hall, bar and camp ground. Along with music, there’s poetry, spoken word and yoga. Australian musicians Kim Churchill and Daniel Champagne found a welcoming stage here in their youth, and their stars continue rise buoyed by a firm grounding in folky vibes of the south coast.
Headliner Eric Bogle will return to Cobargo after a gig 20 years ago. His music has been recorded by dozens of artists around the world, including the Dubliners and The Pogues. He has created over 20 albums with hits like ‘The Band Played Waltzing Matilda’ and ‘Green Fields of France’.
Neil Murray returns after more than 30 years, with a repertoire that includes ‘My Island Home (famously covered by Christine Anu) and ‘Blackfella-Whitefella’. Sapphire Coast locals will be familiar with high liners Kate Burke & Ruth Hazleton, The Northern Folk and our own Swamp Stompers. (Read about the full line-up here.)
Outside of the festival’s home at Cobargo Showground, the town’s streetscape is genuinely vintage, with some buildings dating back to the mid-1800’s. Dotted among the cafes, between the pub and the local produce store, you’ll find crafty makers working with leather, clay and galleries displaying the work of artists. Each Saturday is market day, and more makers, musicians and producers (including a fishmonger) pop-up along the street to tout their wares.
Camping under 5 billion stars
Festival goers with weekend tickets can add 4 nights camping at the showground for the low price of $30, but you have to get in early as tickets are already selling fast. There are hot showers and toilets, and more flat camping this year. Children under 18 can camp free with an adult ticket holder.
The Cobargo Hotel Motel can accomodate RVs, and also offers motel rooms, laundromat and all the creature comforts you’d expect from a country pub. More info on festival camping.
Encouraging emerging artists is a firm tradition, with some 700 young acts finding a welcoming space on The Crossing Youth Stage during the past 12 years. Presented by The Crossing Land Education Trust, the focus is on encouraging emerging musicians to develop stage confidence and self awareness and the sets always fill up fast. The Bunyip venue is devoted to younger folk under 12 years of age, with concerts, story telling and activities hosted by experienced presenters.
Off site accommodation
Accommodation at Cobargo fills up fast, but there are more options at the coastal port of Bermagui, a 25 kilometre drive from Cobargo on the Cobargo Bermagui Road. The second closest town is Bega, 44 kilometres south on the Princes Highway.
Early bird tickets are on sale now and will be cut off sometime in February (we will update this blog when we know more).
Weekend passes and camping for adults are $130, or $50 for children aged 12 to 17 (children under 12 are free with a paying adult). There are a range of day and night passes too. Browse and buy tickets.
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