COVID-19 claims Folk By The Sea

Buck and Deanne played at Folk By The Sea last year

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced organisers of Kiama’s annual music festival, Folk By The Sea, to reluctantly cancel this year’s three day event, scheduled for September 25-27.

“Folk By The Sea attracts performers from overseas and around Australia, and obviously we are not in a position to invite those performers to our festival this year,” says festival coordinator Rod Cork.

“There is also no certainty musicians and even patrons would be allowed to travel to Kiama by then.

“We also have no idea what the regulations and restrictions on public gatherings will be by September.

“Even if the situation is improving by then, there is a chance that if COVID-19 was to flare up again later in the year, that a ‘lockdown’ would be reinstated.

“We had reached the point where we either started contracting for performers, services and promotion for the festival, or cancel.

“Having decided that the risks were too great, we reluctantly decided to cancel.”

Artistic Director David De Santi says the Illawarra Folk Club had received 205 artist applications for Folk By The Sea from all over Australia, and it was a blow to have to decline them.

The Illawarra Folk Club remains hopeful of running a limited one day event in the Kiama Pavilion on September 26, using local artists and performers from Sydney and other nearby regions.

“Obviously the constraints on this will be what may be ‘legal’ at the time, making performers and the audience are safe, and the potential financial risk to the Illawarra Folk Club,” says Mr De Santi.

“We are certainly willing to do something to support the folk music community, and a clearer picture of what may be possible will develop over the coming months.

“We will provide updates when appropriate.”

Mr Cork is optimistic about resurrecting something from the cancellation of Folk By The Sea for performers and music fans.

“We hope that this idea is more than just a possibility.

“We feel by the end of September public health concerns hopefully will have eased considerably, and that people will be ready for some live music!” he said.

Plans for the Illawarra Folk Festival, held annually at Bulli in January, continue apace.

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