Tablelands Folk Festival



Sing like the birds at Queensland’s longest running folk festival

by Bronwyn Hodgkins  TN158   P28 – 30

OK, here we go!

Pack the camping gear and water bottle.

Slip on a shirt, slop on sun screen and slap on a hat.

Don’t forget the shades and a big cheesy grin.

The October 27-29, Tablelands Folk Festival planning is already underway.

Held in far north Queensland, near Cairns, we usually try to align the Festival with the United Nations Year of…………….

But it’s a bit of a challenge this year with 2023 declared the International Year of Millet.

That’s bird seed to you and me!

Millet feeds the world, it’s easy to grow, it’s nutritious, it’s affordable, it’s hardy and versatile and so is our fabulous Festival.

So, following on from last year’s ‘Bright Seeds’ project with our magnificent seed lanterns, assisted by Memetica and RADF, and the 2020 theme of Plant Seeds and Sing Songs, we’re inspired by Kylie the Singing Budgie’s recent performance at World Pride and we’re theming the 2023 Festival – Sing Like The Birds.

We’ve attracted singers and musicians from around the Country and from all Nations to join us this year as performers, volunteers and patrons to our

much loved Tablelands Folk Festival, right here in the historic, friendly, picturesque village of Yungaburra (Janggaburru).

A fantastic South African Acappella group will perform and also teach rhythms and dance.

There’ll be such variety of entertainment this year, for young and old and everyone in between, it’ll make your head spin (in a really good way).

Spread the news, plant some seeds, sing like the birds.

Start getting excited!

As you can probably tell, I love this festival and everything about it and as Festival Program Director, I do my utmost each and every year to bring new sights, scenes and sounds to those attending for the first time and also for those who return each year.

To me, it really is a festival with true community spirit.

But, it’s not just about me…

I asked a few regular festival goers what this festival means to them and what keeps them coming back year after year and this is what they had to say:

JM said: “It is an intimate, inclusive and accessible event featuring eclectic, authentic and surprising acts, something for everyone.

“It’s a safe creative space and a yearly ritual – once you’ve been, you’ll be hooked.

“It’s the family you see every year.

“You can choose your level of involvement from observer/ audience to volunteering, to MC ‘ing or full blown membership and organising”.


BH said: “The festival has a great sense of community and is ever evolving.

“It’s a great platform for new and emerging local and interstate talent.

“It’s great to see the focus, growth and importance of the Welcome to Country openingceremony.

“The way the future of the festival is celebrated through things like the Children’s Fair, culminating with the Children’s Parade through the main street, stopping the festival in Its tracks so the kids can get a cheer and concluding with a volunteers party to end all parties.

“When it’s time for a little break, there are a number of complementary activities and services like the health and wellness fair, re-vegetation groups and a plethora of food options that cater to all, which, as a coeliac, suits me down to the ground.

“It’s the annual event that resets my soul”.


JMS said: “What the festival means to me?

“I have attended the festival for many years since the age of 3 months.

“I find it a magical experience.

“Both of my parents have performed at the festival many times and I have now also played there myself.

“I feel at home at this festival, it feels very safe and always has”.

“It’s an event that is loved by all goers, musicians, volunteers and families alike”, said Program Director, Bronwyn Hodgkins.

“Beautifully inclusive of all music and all people at all ages, stages and abilities in life.

“It’s like a great big family reunion.

“We’d love to adopt you this year in whatever capacity – come check us out.”






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