Being part of the Small Halls Crew you always hear the same question along the road. What is the next stop? You tell them and no matter if it is forty-five minutes, two or five hours down the road, most of the time we get the same response, “never heard of it.” My answer is always the same with a smile, “that is exactly what the last place said about you.”
I tell people, we go the places you know and drive an hour past that. Caldwell, Pomonal, Allendale East, these are all places most people could not point to on a map, but believe me the small communities across rural Australia are alive and well. When their line on the tea-towel tour poster comes up, they welcome us with open arms. So overwhelmed with gratitude we would drive that far to bring them music, the hospitality they show is immeasurable and clothed in bunting. We always leave trying to explain – it is we that will never be able to repay all the kindness they have shown us.
Yes, Small Halls is a festival, it brings music into rural Australia, but it is so much more then that. It is the slight give of a wooden floor inside a building that holds one hundred years of a community’s story. It is the couple married for fifty years sitting in the back row listening to the music you brought to town and remembering the day they celebrated their wedding in that exact room. These halls new or old hold the stories, celebration, days of remembrance, of generations of people. If only for a night we are lucky enough to be a part of that story, of that history.
Thank you to all the halls for taking us in, for making us feel like we were coming home, and for opening up your halls to a crazy caravan of people, just trying to bring some tunes to your corner of the world. It is a feeling that can only be experienced and my words will never quite do it justice.
-Merit Femino (Tour Manager)