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.
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!!