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Fairbridge Festival 2023 cancelled to search for a new home


Diggin the Jig, Fairbridge Festival 2019. Photo by Chris Webster

FolkWorld Inc. (FolkWorld) has made the difficult decision to cancel Fairbridge Festival in 2023 and secure another venue to hold future festivals. The family-friendly music and camping event has been held at Fairbridge Village, Pinjarra since 1993.


This news follows on from FolkWorld’s announcement last month that Fairbridge Village may no longer be a suitable venue for the festival, which was due to be held next year from 14-16 April.


Drew Dymond, President of the not-for-profit member organisation FolkWorld Inc., said the board had reluctantly decided to cancel the festival following matters recently raised by staff of Fairbridge Western Australia Inc. (Fairbridge WA) – the personnel who manage Fairbridge Village.


“Despite discussing potential solutions with Fairbridge WA Inc., the risks to proceeding with the festival with things being what they are this close to festival time, are unfortunately too great,” he says.


“Although Fairbridge WA would still permit us to hire the venue for 2023, changing the festival plans to address the issues raised at this late stage would risk the integrity of the festival, and the capability of FolkWorld to deliver the experience our loyal members and supporters have come to love and deserve after 30 years. We need to focus our efforts on securing a suitable venue for ongoing festivals.”


Drew stated that Fairbridge WA had indicated it was focusing on its core business areas rather than hiring the venue to large groups like festivals, raising significant uncertainty around the longevity of the festival at Fairbridge Village.


Restrictions faced by the festival included limiting capacity by approximately 50% and not being able to utilise some venues on site. In addition, areas usually used for camping and parking would not have been available in 2023 due to biosecurity measures in place on the surrounding farmland. More details can be found here.


“We will be forever grateful to Fairbridge WA Inc. for letting us host this amazing event year upon year at this historic site,” he says. “While our intentions were to put on a festival in 2023, the cancellation does present an exciting opportunity for FolkWorld to refresh, further develop other events such as the Quest Youth Songwriting Competition, and of course, to find a new home and partners for our flagship event.”


Drew says the Festival will continue to be a celebration of folk and global music, dance, culture, and camping – an inclusive family-friendly event – in its new, yet to be found location.


“Encouragingly, we have already received some warm and interesting invitations to consider as festival venues, and we would be more than happy to hear from shires and venues who are interested in collaborating to host this unique Western Australian event.”


FolkWorld thanked its community of audiences, artists, volunteers, vendors, staff, sponsors, suppliers and members for contributing to the festival over its long history, and says it plans to open up its membership to those interested in taking an active part in the organisation’s and festival’s evolution.