International crown for Port Fairy Folk Festival

December 20, 2019 BY

Founder of the Port Fairy Folk Festival Jamie McKew.

The founder of the Port Fairy Folk Festival will be awarded the Elaine Weissman Lifetime Achievement Award at next year’s International Folk Music Conference (The ExChange) in Geelong.

Jamie McKew has been lauded for his unwavering commitment to folk music for more than 40 years and his instrumental role in creating opportunities for thousands of Australian artists.

McKew said receiving the award – which has previously been won by Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell, Alan Lomax and the Smithsonian Folkway – was a great privilege and challenge.

“It is a privilege to receive an award such as this because it also recognises all who contribute to the vast and complex folk music world.

“We acknowledge all artists, volunteers, crews, media, other festivals and all who have supported us over 40 plus years.

“The award is really a recognition for the booming Geelong music scene and for Port Fairy Folk Music Festival which was dreamed up here in Geelong in 1977.”

Local artists on showcase at The ExChange include Marcia Howard (Geelong) and Fenn Wilson (Bellarine Peninsula), as well as Benny Walker, Liz Stringer, Alana Wilkinson, Alice Skye, Eleanor McAvoy, Emily Wurramara, Holly Arrowsmith, Hat Fitz and Cara, Jellyman’s Daughter, John Smith, This Way North, The Maes, Will Kimbrough and others to be announced.

Port Fairy Folk Festival director Caroline Moore said the festival was thrilled to be partnering with Folk Alliance to bring The ExChange conference to Australia.

“It is brilliant for our industry, our artists, and our audiences, and we’re delighted it will take place in Geelong in the lead up to our festival.”

Other partners include the City of Greater Geelong, the Geelong Regional Library Corporation, Woodfordia, Sounds Australia, the New Zealand Music Commission and Folk Alliance Australia.

The ExChange will be held in Geelong from March 2-4.