Orroroo, Beltana and Red Cliffs

The Once and John Flanagan continue on their Small Halls tour! Just when you thought their stories couldn’t get better, these next few towns brought a whole new level! The next town they went on to visit was the friendly community in Orroroo, which includes the friendly animals too…

Dear Orroroo,
When we pulled into Orroroo, the small town was hoppin’. High school kids were singing in the square and the locals were setting up for an amazing 3 course meal that we were more than happy to partake in. After supper, I (Geri) took a stroll to help me digest. I saw my first kangaroo of the trip (really far in the distance) and these most gorgeous puppies that had escaped from a fence nearby. They had mama doggy worried sick. They went back in after some coaxing. Later in the evening, before the show, I brought Phil by to see ‘em and lo and behold they had snuck out again. This time daddy puppy joined mommy puppy in the worry. We gave them many head and tummy scratches and put them back where they belonged. Mom and dad got some head scratches too. Sweetest puppy family ever! Little friggers. Have they never seen the size of the vultures?

Posted by The Once on Friday, 22 March 2019

 

I digressed a little to share that. Hope you are still with me. It’s worth it. Trust me. The town were celebrating the end to a TWENTY year battle for a pipeline to get fresh, drinkable water. They were elated. As they should be. The town HAS been in a drought for 2.5 years. Yes. You read that right. I can’t even imagine it. The crowds, like all the towns so far were epic. Some high school students even opened for John Flanagan and ourselves. DOLLS. Friggin’ dolls. The MC was the local shop owner and he slayed it! The whole town was in such a good mood. We couldn’t believe our luck to arrive on such a monumental day. The ABC radio folks were there and we got to have a great interview and hear and talk all about it. One for the books. Later the next day, before we drove out to Beltana, I met a lady who told me that she and her husband moved to Orroroo a little while back. Her husband was sick. She said no one saw him except the nurses and volunteers who cared for him. Still, when he died, the whole community came out to pay their respects. Now that’s a town to keep you around when a drought is on.
Thanks for everything Orroroo. We wish you all the best. See you down the road.
The Once 

How amazing is that, what a tight knit and supportive community. It’s the people like this that are able to create an amazing town from nothing. After they were able to separate themselves from the lovely community (and puppies), they headed back to the dirt road to Beltana…

Dear Beltana,
For a start, you were worth the bumpy road that surely switched our kidneys and liver in the bounce. We have to be all shifted up after that. We have to. If I remember correct the town had 35 people. We managed to get over 50. So some people bounced in to see us. Thanks for that! This is a small town like I grew up in. 16 houses if you remember the story. Beltana, you used to be a bigger town but farming went by the wayside after severe drought and made it hard for people to stay if the story I heard was correct. And correct me if I am talking out of turn. We had an amazing welcome from some of the Adnyamathanha people. It was very powerful to hear the traditional persons of the land speak their enchanted language.  The sunset has some of the most beautiful lines in the sky. Phil hauled me outside to see ‘em. I was told later that the lines those that are depicted on the Japanese flag. Neat hey?

The sky likes like those on the Japanese flag

Posted by The Once on Friday, 22 March 2019

 

Me and a local we’re fighting about what is cooler, those lines or the northern lights. Ha. We both win, I says. John O’Dea was the local opening act. He was beautiful. He is Australiana at its finest… The honour was ours. Andrew and I got two CDs each. We did our show, got heckled to play Country Road, got the best hugs, said our goodbyes and bounced on out of there terrified that we would see a Kangaroo. Those things can jump. And out of nowhere. Imagine if moose jumped 4-6 feet each time they moved……? So scary. Beltana you rock! Thanks for the love. We felt it. Especially when you let us borrow your brush and gave us ice cream.
The Once

Sounds like these towns are really showing off what makes them Australian! Such talented people to be found in all corners of this beautiful country. It was then time to say goodbye to South Australia, and head to Victoria! The first show in this state was Red Cliffs, and it was a big one…

Hey Red Cliffs,
We woke up at the crack of dawn and hit the road by 6 am to come do a show for you folks. Because of you we saw over 60 kangaroos, 4 emus, 8 vultures half our length and 100s of sheep and cows.
It was hard to try and take a nap for what we would miss. It was St. Patrick’s Day! Our tour manager is Irish so we went looking for a pub on arrival. We passed by Big Lizzy! What a size of a machine! Never seen the like.

Nuff Said.

Posted by The Once on Saturday, 23 March 2019

 

Then we climbed into the casino (the heat had us on our asses) for a pint. When we got back to venue, Tiny Feet we’re getting ready to play. They were our local openers. Steph and Ben are there names. Holy were they ever good. What a dynamic duo! The talent in these small towns is, again, world class. All and all, the night was great and the food was perfect. Well worth the 7 hours (plus stops).
Thanks for havin’ us Red Cliffs. And thanks for clapping along to everything. Now that’s exuberance!
The Once 

Sounds like an awesome first week! Looking forward to hearing more stories about the next few weeks on the road.

Allendale East and Lameroo

On the road they go! The Once and John Flanagan have finished their first week on the road, and they have a few stories to share. They started in South Australia, first visiting the small town of Allendale East…

Dear Allendale East,
Do you know you were our first Small Halls show? We came into your town, gasped at the blue water in the hills, stared into your caves and saw your brand new Street Art at your school.

Street Art making its way into small towns to add vibrancy.

Posted by The Once on Wednesday, 20 March 2019

 

I (Geri) walked up and down the streets so often the dog that started barking at me madly gave up and lay down. It was our first opportunity to catch the vast starry sky far from the city lights, and we can’t thank you enough for having us so we could witness that. Thanks for singing and laughing with us. See you down the road.
The Once

The bass player, Greg, also made a couple friends!

Greg’s friends

Posted by The Once on Wednesday, 20 March 2019

 

The perfect way to start off a massive tour. The next stop was the beautiful Lameroo, where the all the kids joined into the fun…

Dear Lameroo,
I think what we will remember most about you is your kids and how amazing they were for a shot at $5. All they had to do was stay quiet while dancing and expressing themselves. They rushed the stage while the adults stuck to the back. They blew our minds. Really will remember Kingsley and his story about the cows. Really hope he is writing now and sharing his music. The kitchen became our after party. We ate delicious treats while we packed up our gear and discussed the importance of mental health. Again, the stars blew our minds. These small hall shows are blowing our minds.
The Once.

The night sky is obviously really beautiful out at these small towns!

Before the fall

Posted by The Once on Thursday, 21 March 2019

 

It’s great to see all the beauty that can be found out of the city, in the scenery and in the people. And the tour continues, hopefully with even more stories from the road…

A Tour Through the Eyes of Liam Gerner

Sold out shows, wild animals and community support, pretty much sums up what Festival of Small Halls, Summer Tour 2019 looked like for Liam Gerner and Fru Skagerrak. A road trip like no other from Queensland down to Cygnet, Tasmania, back up to Bowenville and all in between.  Full of laughter, folk music and new friends. Whilst on the road Liam, documented snippets of his experience. Here is a tour through the eyes of Liam Gerner.

In a short space of time, Liam and the women of Fru Skagerrak had performed at Woodford Folk Festival and were on their way to begin the Festival of Small Halls tour. What better place to start then the ‘edge of the world’ in Stanley, Tasmania.

Tonight show 2 Wynyard Tasmania at Wynyard Hall Wynyard Wharf Hotel. Show 2 of Festival of Small Halls Australia. With Fru Skagerrak Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Friday, 4 January 2019

Great first show in Stanley, thanks heaps Liam and Fru Skagerrak and the FoSH’s team! – Wayne Tuxworth

Next stop, was Wynyard the home to the Table Cape lookout and the largest Australian fossil of a marsupial. A great performance from the girls as well as the audience.

Show 3. Tonight we play beautiful Sulphur Creek in their Memorial Hall, Jan 6 . Tomorow Rowella Fru Skagerrak Festival of Small Halls Australia Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Saturday, 5 January 2019

 

Sulphur Creek, the place were an abundance of tea was consumed, cookies were inhaled and lots of happy faces crowded around together.

It’s a SOLD OUT show Tonight in Rowella with Fru Skagerrak and I Festival of Small Halls Australia . Tomorrow Nunamura Hall, tues 8 Jan. Thankyou for a great show last night Sulphur Creek … Woodford Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Sunday, 6 January 2019

 

Rowella was the first of it’s kind, sold out! The community really got behind the initiative of small halls which is to celebrate the artistry of folk music whilst supporting the local community and their businesses.

Tonight we play Nunamara Memorial Hall Jan 8. Thanks Rowella for the amazing sold out gig last night. Tomorrow we play Longford Hall Tasmania. Fru Skagerrak Festival of Small Halls Australia Woodford Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Monday, 7 January 2019

Thanks Rowella for the amazing sold out gig last night

Nunamara was home to beautiful sunsets and a beautiful community that loved playing apart in the growth of their towns hall.

Tonight we play Longford Hall Tasmania, Weds Jan 9. Thanks Nunamara for the great gig last night. Tomorrow we play Meander Tasmania.. Woodford Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Festival of small Halls

Posted by Liam Gerner on Tuesday, 8 January 2019

 

There’s no escaping the fact that Longford was an incredible show. There was also the incredible experience of broadcasting the show through a local radio interview.

Tonight SOLD OUT Meander Town Hall, Tasmania. Thankyou Longford Hall for last nights fantastic show. Tomorrow we play the amazing Cygnet Folk Festival … Festival of Small Halls Australia Illawarra Folk Festival Woodford Folk Festival Fru Skagerrak

Posted by Liam Gerner on Wednesday, 9 January 2019

The Longford gig was fantastic, bring on Cygnet. -Stephen Foster

Meander put out all the stops from pick up trucks to bunya pines and to top it off a delicious barbecue. 

This weekend I play Cygnet folk Festival – Sat 1pm St James Church. Sunday 12pm st marks hall for small halls showcase with Fru Skagerrak . Thankyou Meander Tasmania for the sold out show . Next we play Triabanna, Forcett and Southport in Tasmania then to NSW Cygnet Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Festival of Small Halls Australia Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Friday, 11 January 2019

 

Cygnet Folk Festival was a good breather for all to appreciate the community and its talent as well as providing the opportunity to perform.

Tonight I play in Triabunna – Tues 15 Jan with Fru Skagerrak . Thankyou Cygnet Folk Festival Tasmania for an unforgettable weekend, I had fun doing the debate (thanks Spotify for paying off the judges) and thanks for all the shows they rocked thanks also to Lucky Oceans and Josh Bennett for playing with me. Next we play Forcett 16/1 and Southport 17/1 in Tasmania then to NSW for Illawarra Folk Festival Festival of Small Halls Australia … Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Monday, 14 January 2019

 

East Tasmania’s second largest township and one of the last show for Tasmania was Triabunna.

Tonight I play in Forcett Hall near Hobart Tasmania – Weds 16 Jan with Fru Skagerrak . Thankyou Triabunna for 1 seat away from Sold out show last night. Tomorrow we play Southport 17/1 in Tasmania then to NSW for Illawarra Folk Festival Festival of Small Halls Australia … Woodford Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Tuesday, 15 January 2019

 

Final tour stops for Tasmania were Southport and Forcett and were successful, playing outdoors to a larger crowd of the community.

Today we take the small halls show to the Illawarra Folk Festival we have 3 shows over the weekend. Thankyou to all the amazing towns and halls folk in Tasmania who have hosted our concerts. Truly unforgettable Big special thanks to Cygnet Folk Festival. Festival of Small Halls Australia Woodford Folk Festival Fru Skagerrak

Posted by Liam Gerner on Thursday, 17 January 2019

 

With Tasmania all done and dusted it was time to head up to New South Wales for the last leg of the tour. Kicking it off with Shellharbour.

Tonight I play Thur Jan-24 Goulburn NSW, St Saviours cathedral Hall with Fru SkagerrakTomorrowJan-25 Nangus Hall…Jan-27 Orange Bloomfield HallJan-30 Clarence Town Clarence Town School of Arts HallJan-31 Frederickton Frederickton HallFeb-01 Toormina – Toormina Community CentreFeb-02 Eureka – Eureka HallFeb-03 Bowenville – Bowenville HallFestival of Small Halls Australia Woodford Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Wednesday, 23 January 2019

 

Exploring the town of Goulburn meant exploring the architectural pleasures of the church. As well as the stark contrasts the land had to offer.

Tonight I play Nangus fri Jan-25 NSW, with Fru Skagerrak .. it’s a cool 46 here. Goulburn was a wonderful show last night Next shows..Jan-27 Orange Bloomfield HallJan-30 Clarence Town Clarence Town School of Arts HallJan-31 Frederickton Frederickton HallFeb-01 Toormina – Toormina Community CentreFeb-02 Eureka – Eureka HallFeb-03 Bowenville – Bowenville HallWoodford Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival @festival of small halls Australia

Posted by Liam Gerner on Thursday, 24 January 2019

 

Hot, hot, hot! Nangus definitely brought the heat sweltering 48 degrees, that didn’t stop the community from getting involved though.

Tonight we play Orange NSW at Bloomfield Hall Sun Jan-27 with Fru Skagerrak .. Nangus was such a special show, thanks to all the local characters who made it so, despite it being about 50CNext Festival of Small Halls Australia shows..Jan-30 Clarence Town Clarence Town School of Arts HallJan-31 Frederickton Frederickton HallFeb-01 Toormina – Toormina Community CentreFeb-02 Eureka – Eureka HallFeb-03 Bowenville – Bowenville HallWoodford Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Saturday, 26 January 2019

Loved the show last night in Nangus with you and the girls Fru Skagerrak It was so bloody hot you all did very well to survive. Great talent all round. Thanks for bringing the show to this part of the world 👍🏻❤️ -James Callan

Another packed house for both Orange and Clarence a great turn out for the community. There was a lot of history within the development of the arts that were on full display.

SOLD OUT Tonights gigs in Toormina NSW Friday Feb First with Fru Skagerrak. Fun!! Last nights sold out show in Fredericktons stunning hall was fantastico. But Here is a video about the amazing Clarence Town hall, a really special hall that one, turn up the sound!Next Festival of Small Halls Australia shows..Feb-02 Eureka – Eureka HallFeb-03 Bowenville – Bowenville HallWoodford Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival. Also thanks Fiona at ABC Coffs Coast for having us in this morning 🙂

Posted by Liam Gerner on Thursday, 31 January 2019

Thank you so much for including Clarence Town on your tour! Seems everyone enjoyed the evening! – Vanessa McFarlane

The final leg of the tour consisted of Frederickton, Toornina, Eureka and Bowenville.  And to close off a very successful tour the second last show was sold out.

Tonight we have our last show of what’s been a brilliant adventure this Festival of Small Halls Australia tour with the amazing Fru SkagerrakTONIGHT Sunday Feb-03 Bowenville – Bowenville HallThankyou to all the amazing halls and their communities, and to these fantastic festivals Woodford Folk Festival Illawarra Folk Festival Cygnet Folk Festival

Posted by Liam Gerner on Saturday, 2 February 2019

 

Festival of Small Halls Summer Tour 2019 was a hit with sold out shows, packed community halls and for many a newfound love for folk music.

 

Reflections on a Summer of Love

As we look towards the change of the seasons, we invite you to grab a cup of tea and come on a journey with us…

Look back through the Spring/Summer that was 2018/19. We toured six musical acts through three states on three tours. We performed 96 shows at 58 small halls, five of Australia’s finest festivals and one hospital. Our road took us across the red dirt of the outback, into the rainforests of the far north, back down the shining beaches of Australia’s east coast and all the way down to Tasmania’s southernmost town. We found small halls, not so small halls, relived glamorous balls, saluted memorial walls and wondered at memories inlaid in the walls.

We are so pleased and proud to share this short film, created by Harry Jakamarra on the Festival of Small Halls Spring Tour 2018 with Madison Violet, Harry Jakamarra and Elwood Gray.

Experience life on the road, from outback Queensland to the Queenscliff Music Festival through the lens of these wonderful and talented musicians.