The highly successful Port Fairy Folk Festival has been operating for 40 years under the helm of its founder, Dr Jamie McKew, who has now handed over the reins to the new director, Caroline Moore. In 1977 Dr McKew — and the Geelong Folk Club — saw the potential for something special for the booming folk music scene in this seaside town in Victoria’s south-west, the home of his mother and grandmother. From humble beginnings, using the backs of trucks as stages and receiving assistance from the Lions Club and council, the festival now utilises many of the town’s venues and facilities. Ms Moore has lavished high praise on her predecessor while promising to maintain the same level of excellence.
The effervescent Ms Moore has valuable contacts and experience in the music industry after managing the Apollo Bay Music Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival. She is busy evaluating the myriad of performer applications for the festival which engages 2000 volunteers, enjoys a high level of community support and attracts 25 000 people to the town. Both Dr McKew and Ms Moore applauded the dedication and skills of the incredible organising committee, which has made a major contribution to a festival which attracts top national and international artists while allowing exposure for emerging artists.
This not-for-profit festival funnels money back into the south-west region, funding projects and infrastructure such as a swimming pool, an elderly citizens hostel, redevelopment of the local hospital and rescue boats for the surf club. I take this opportunity to acknowledge the inspiration, passion and hard work of Dr Jamie McKew, whose vision and service has made a significant contribution to arts and culture while guiding and enriching the iconic music festival. I wish Caroline Moore and the community all the best for their ongoing festival.