© Warren Fahey
I have performed at a heck of a lot of folk festivals over the past umpteen dozen years – and added Cobargo in 2009. These days festivals (thankfully) come in all shapes and sizes and Cobargo is definitely in the smaller category. This is more of a compliment than criticism and particularly if one is interested in a festival with a genuine community feel and a campsite that feels like a coastal hollow. There’s a terrific atmosphere at Cobago and I can honestly say it was one of the most welcoming festivals I have been to over the past decade. The session bar – open air and open to all – is a real treat.
Each year Richard Depledge, on behalf of the Yuin Folk Club, the producers of the festival, assembles a sampler of the year’s main performers. Like any sampler it is simply a taste of what you missed at the last festival – or might hear at the next. Like most samplers it jumps al over the place like a crazy frog. The informative CD booklet gives background to the artists and all the tracks come from their various recordings, not surprisingly all independent releases or ‘unreleased’. There’s not much information on the various songs and this is something I find frustrating – I always want to know where the songs come from whether they are old, new or whatever. Sound quality is surprisingly good which is probably more a comment on how advanced independent and ‘home studios’ have become in achieving a listenable sound. My favourite tracks include John Shortis and Moya Simpson’s ‘Politically Correct Waltzing Matilda’ (hysterical!), The Lurkers’ ‘Shoot To The Moon’ and Alan Musgrove’s ‘All A-Cheatin’. Pete Wild probably sums up the spirit of the area in his evocatively cheeky ‘Bega Town’ as does Damon Davies in his ‘Sweet Home Cobargo’. Beautiful Cobargo is on the NSW south coast and accessible from Sydney or Canberra. (I trust I’ve smooched up to them sufficiently enough for them to invite me back soon!)