Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival hits the world stage

We interview Bridget Rees on the eve of The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival about her recent invitation to the United States to participate in the Performing Arts Discovery: American Sounds. the role of this festival is to introduce American artists to international festival programmers.

The much-awaited Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, an acoustic weekend of concerts, workshops, jamming, dancing and so much more, is fast approaching.  Festival organiser and undisputed mainstay Bridget Rees has barely touched down- both physically and metaphorically, having just returned from a complete immersion into America’s world of Bluegrass.  (Pictured above on right, with civil rights musician Odessa Settles).  This hardworking stalwart has been internationally recognised for her contribution to the world of Bluegrass.

“I had the honour of being invited to participate as an official guest of Performing Arts Discovery: American Sounds.  This project introduces international programmers from outside the United States to American artists, who represent quintessentially American music, highlighting the diversity of traditional music from the South. The overall aim being to build and expand relationships with  and to create new opportunities for American musicians to tour abroad,” says Bridget.

Bridget was one of eight international presenters or programmers, from as far afield as Serbia, France, Switzerland, Ireland, Belgium, the U.K. and of course Australia who were honoured with an invitation.  “The project included attending the ‘World Of Bluegrass’ hosted by the International Bluegrass Music  Association in Raleigh, North Carolina and then we travelled to The Performing Arts Exchange in Orlando, Florida,” says Bridget.

“It was an amazing time and an opportunity that I never really thought I would be able to experience.  Meeting and getting to know my fellow programmers and facilitators has opened up a whole new world to add to my musical friends.”  And exciting for those of us who make the annual pilgrimage to Dorrigo for our own Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival- as the influence of Bridget’s new contacts will add a whole new dimension to this and future Festivals.
“I had the opportunity to meet up with nearly all of our overseas performers coming to Dorrigo this year and to spend time with the performers who have graced our Festival in the past.  Spending time with the artists who have played such a role in my own musical journey was extraordinary,” says Bridget.
It was also exciting for Bridget to get a sense of the esteem in which the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival is held internationally.  “Our reputation is strong.  At the moment two major c.d.releases feature tunes inspired by Dorrigo!”
We interview Bridget Rees on the eve of The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival about her recent invitation to the United States to participate in thePerforming Arts Discovery: American Sounds. the role of this festival is to introduce American artists to international festival programmers.

Bridget with American country and bluegrass singer, musician, producer, and composer, Ricky Skaggs.

Bridget relished in discussions with American noted folklorists and historians and meeting so many organisers, musicians and idols.  Another highlight was participating in the Musical Youth Programmes.  The Old Time Music School, an integral part of the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival, and held this week in Dorrigo, provides up and coming musicians the opportunity to learn from the old-time musical masters.  Participating in the youth programmes in America only confirmed for me the importance of passing on the tradition of Old-Time and Bluegrass music.  And to see many of these young artists taking to the stage was inspiring,” says Bridget.

“I have met with so many wonderful musicians, artists and Festival organisers and programmers.  We’ve exchanged ideas and are so excited about collaborating into the future.  And I’m so grateful to my fellow committee members for supporting this opportunity.”

Only onward and upward for the Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival!!

For the full Festival Programme Click HERE 
We interview Bridget Rees on the eve of The Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival about her recent invitation to the United States to participate in thePerforming Arts Discovery: American Sounds. the role of this festival is to introduce American artists to international festival programmers.

Bridget’s daughter Angela with internationally acclaimed musician Rita Forrester

One Comment

  • Phil Wilson says:

    Dorrigo Folk and Bluegrass Festival … Everything I read says it”s in Friday, Saturday , Sunday…. But when? … I had to jump into Google to discover it is on 26-28 Oct.
    Thanks for all the great info and background. It adds more depth to what is happening in my shire.
    Xxx

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