Cygnet Folk Festival 2008

On Saturday morning, we drove to the Cygnet Folk (music) Festival. Cygnet is a small historic town on a bay near the confluence of the Huon River with Storm Bay, south of Hobart. The Huon River is adorned on both shores with miles of fruit orchards. Bright red apples decorate thousands of trees near the road, fruit stands sell apricots, raspberries and most importantly — cherries. We had been enjoying cherries that we bought from farmers at the Saturday Salamanca Market in Hobart, and wanted to see how fresh we could buy them, direct from the orchard. For $20.00 we bought a 2 kilogram box of Grade A cherries. What a delight. Each cherry perfect, large and sweet. We wish we could send you some.

We used our “Seniors” cards to buy tickets to the festival at a cut rate. We usually don’t admit to being seniors, but when we can save $30, we’re not shy. The program contained descriptions of the performers. There were simultaneous performances at eight different locations in town, preventing us from seeing every single event, so we found a coffee shop where we could study the program and quickly tried to prioritize the entertainers we wanted to see.

Similar to last’s year’s experience, we seemed to enjoy the fiddlers and the Eastern European performers the most. But, also, there was The Spooky Men’s Chorale. An a cappella group, they sing with “pointless grandeur, buffoonery and a preoccupation for power tools.” The New Zealand born poet and singer Kath Tait was another of our favorites. A fun comedian and fine singer, her clever observations of human nature kept us in stitches.

BabaGanoush was our favorite gypsy music group. Four professional musicians: a lovely, dark haired violinist , a tall, smiling clarinetist, a sensational accordionist and an energetic double bass player. They knocked our socks off, and even brought a smoothly moving belly dancer. If you sample their music here you will be looking forward to their next gig.

We enjoyed the groups dominated by outstanding fiddle players. The sidewalks and parks were dotted with small groups of musicians surrounded by happy audiences. The cafes and pubs showcased some of the music groups, too. The outdoor performances were good for families who could spread out on the lawn and let the kids have some freedom.

I, unfortunately, let our little digital camera slip from my wrist while we were walking from one performance location to another — from a church hall, down a grassy hill, through the open air craft market, and across the street to the Town Hall. I retraced my steps several times, inquiring at the craft stalls if anyone had turned in a camera. I registered my loss at the ticket office, and never expected to see the camera again. Steve remarked that some happy person had found a gem.

The next morning, as I walked down the hill in Hobart to join Steve at Cafe Zum, I noticed that I was sighing, sadly grieving, and kicking myself. To help myself get over the sadness, and get on with the day, I made myself sigh over and over again. It was very much like the Yoga mantra “Ham-sa”, with the accent on the exhaled “sa”. My fairy god person must have once again intervened, because as I was sighing in Hobart, someone was returning my camera to the ticket office in Cygnet. As Steve and I were eating breakfast at the internet cafe, a man from the Folk Festival ticket office phoned me to say that my camera had been turned in. A miracle. How ecstatic I was. I cannot offer a reward because the person who turned in the camera did not leave a name. I will write a letter to the Hobart newspaper, thanking the kind person, and brightening other people’s days with a story of kindness and honesty.

Scattered showers rained out some of the outdoor performances on Sunday, but also helped lessen the fire danger, and helped the fire fighters who continued to battle bush fires all over the state.

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