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Posted Saturday, May 9, 2009
Graeme Johnson is not a new face on the Folk Festival Circuit by any means, having performed right around the Country for over a decade or so. He's won his fair share of awards as well over this period of time. However, 2009 sees Graeme taking it to another level with the awarding of his first Overall Male Performance Champion Award at a NSW Festival recently. This was followed by a Runner-Up Overall Male Champion Award at the Man from Snowy River Festival in Victoria. For a Festival review of each of these events please see below.
Done deal at Dunedoo
Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival Review 2009
The 11th Annual Bush Poetry Festival was held over the weekend of the 5-8th March 2009 at the bustling little Warrumbungle Shire Council hamlet of Dunedoo in Mid-Western NSW. Don’t let the little town title fool you though; the 11th Bush Poetry Festival is a premier event on the Bush Poets calendar for those that enjoy performance & written verse. Competitors come from all over the country to have a crack at the ‘coveted’ titles on offer.
The event started with a casual ‘meet & greet’ at the local caravan park on the Thursday night with a ‘round the campfire’ session to warm everybody up.
Friday night saw the first performance section ‘kick off’ the weekend with the Yarnspinning Competition at the Golf Club. The Club was packed to see Claire Reynolds from NSW take the title in this lively & spirited event where the “winner takes all”. “Johnson’s Antidote” Bush Band finished off the night.
Saturday saw the competition proper commence bright and early in the School Auditorium (decorated by wall hangings from a local artisan) with 3 more performance sections, Traditional, Original & Contemporary encompassing 61 individual performances of a very high overall standard.
The Sat evening “Variety Concert” was hosted by Festival judges Milton Taylor & “Lenny” Knight who entertained the crowd with their songs, bush verse & jokes. Other esteemed judges for the weekend were Monica Foran & Anne Neal. Weekend Comperes were Gary Lowe & Max Neal.
Sunday saw a “Poet’s Breakfast” & “Poet’s Brawl” (i.e. the 1 minute poetry competition) held in the local park with the Poet’s Brawl being won by “The Itinerant” Bernie Keleher.
Overall Female Champion was Susan Carcary.
Overall Male Champion was “The Rhymer from Ryde”.
Man from Snowy River Festival Review 2009
The Man from Snowy River Festival made a welcome return to Corryong in 2009 after having been cancelled in 2008 due to the equine flu. For those not ‘in the know’ the Snowy River ‘Meet’ is a combination of one of Victoria’s biggest Bush Poetry & Music Competitions staged at the same time as an event known as the “Stockman’s Challenge”. In the “Challenge” riders and their steeds test their skills to see who will become the modern “Man from Snowy River”. A busy time for one & all.
The Bush Poetry Competition saw competitors from all over Australia vying to have their names inscribed on the perpetual trophies that adorn the Corryong Visitors Centre all year round.
Junior competitions were held in the Youth Hall during the Thurs and a ‘meet & greet’ for the audience to get to know the poets was held in the “Bottom Pub” at night.
Poets Breakfast were held Fri, Sat & Sun, with the adult competitions being held over Fri & Sat. When heats were not being staged a friendly camaraderie ‘sprang up’ around the campfire, which by the way, never seemed to expire.
Big Jack at Corryong
Buskers hawked their wares on the streets and Australia’s own ‘Jack Thompson’ recited Banjo’s work at the “Man from Snowy River” re-enactment at Thangool.
John Peel from Victoria won the “Jack Riley Heritage Award” & the “Man from Snowy River” recitation sections. “The Rhymer from Ryde” won the Campfire & Aussie sections.
Male Overall Champion went to John Peel.
Runner-up Male Overall Champion went to “The Rhymer from Ryde”.
Female Overall Champion went to Betty Walton.
Runner-up Female Overall Champion went to Annette Roberts.
Other achievements for 2009 “The Rhymer from Ryde”
1st Place: Oasis Hotel Written Competition, Tamworth Country Music Festival
2nd Place: Written Section Caboolture Urban Festival (QLD)
HC: Written Section Dunedoo Bush Poetry Festival