Verandah Music Festival 2023

Verandah Music Festival 2023 Review

Halfway to Forth – Photo: LTTL

Verandah Music Festival 2023

Evandale, Tasmania

Day 2 – 26 November

By Jim Jacob

By Rob Dickens

The idea for the Verandah Music Festival was born in early 2020 when Tasmania was in COVID lockdown. Partly inspired by images of people singing on balconies in Europe, two families in the beautiful village of Evandale took to their verandahs to lift the spirits of people passing by. 

The easing of restrictions was celebrated with extra musicians and this delightful concept took flight with the inaugural festival in November of that year, immediately winning a community award.

For the 2023 event, performances over the two days occurred at Festival HQ where the main stage sits on a church front portico and eight other designated spots within walking distance around the historic precinct, including two venues at the popular local craft market. Ticket prices are highly reasonable – Weekend Pass $35, General Admission $20 per day, Concession $15 per day, Children under 16 free. Ticket numbers are capped to ensure maximum punter comfort.

The food and beverage options brought in were well-selected and diverse – Red Brick Road Cider, Food of Himalayas, The Burger Van, Roamer Bean for coffee and sweets and good-value Devonshire teas. You could also frequent the local permanent establishments and the market to satisfy other tastes. Evandale is flat so walking the short distances between stages was easy and provided many scenic glimpses of the town’s architecture and history.

We could attend only on Sunday and, on that day, we experienced shades of English folk, bluegrass, salty shipwreck yarns, contemporary harmonies, exotic choral material, traditional Celtic tunes and bluesy rock, all highly engaging.

Ross Smithard and Up Jumped Trouble – Photo: LTTL
The view from the back of Verandah 1 -Photo: LTTL

The Clementines are an all-female three-piece with guitar, subtle percussion and gentle harmonies, offering pop covers with refreshing makeovers, acapella, gregorian chants and Italian folk tunes. They performed under a side verandah of a beautiful historic home, looking out on a fully populated, leafy and bloom-laden garden. Delightful.

Matthew Dames and Anna Talbot – Photo: LTTL

Another highlight was the English folk set of Matthew Dames and Anna Talbot. Tales from Billy Bragg, John Spillane and Chris Drever and the wonderful “Galway Shawl”, with precise rhythmic guitar picking and bodhran (with a kangaroo skin!) and, again, alluring harmonies.

Sisongke Choir – Photo: LTTL

Sisongke Choir are a Hobart-based community choir presenting songs of yearning and freedom from around the globe in joyous harmony.

The music genres of the day were perfectly rounded out by Halfway To Forth (brothers Dan and Kyle Lizotte) whose set combined some nice covers of Blind Willie Johnson, Tom Waits and Van Morrison. Better still was their original material, blending blues, ballads and boogies – the lockdown-themed “Little Acts Of Kindness”, plus “Johnny Appleseed” and “A Few Things”, with some new songs as well.

This was the last act of the day and, as their set progressed, families had gathered around in greater numbers, with many children playfully gyrating before watchful mums and dads, all before an appreciative audience.

A lovely picture.

A unique event.

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Verandah Music Festival 2023 Review

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Author: Rob Dickens

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