Cardrona Folk Festival 2014

Cardrona Valley, Central Otago

24-27 October 2014 (Labour Weekend)









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This year marks our 38th year in the same venue but is actually the 39th festival as we had two festival in a year in 1979 when we switched from March to Labour weekend – where we have been ever since. So there’s a big one coming up next year! As usual everything takes place at the historic Cardrona Hall and surrounding reserve, and runs from Friday 24th to Monday 27th October 2014. This year our guest lineup features several of our old favourites, who we are always pleased to welcome back to Cardrona. They are:



GRAHAM WARDROP (Christchurch):

It’s been 4 years since Graham last came to our festival – far too long a gap for New Zealand’s finest virtuoso guitarist, and one of our very best singer songwriters as well. Graham has been extremely busy internationally in the last 4 years, partly due to needing to escape from his earthquake damaged house – but mainly because his fame is spreading to other countries around the world that are beginning to learn what they’ve been missing all this time. He’s only recently returned from his latest tour of Canada, where he is a firm favourite. He’s still busy writing new songs, recording new albums and working with countless other musicians. Rumour has it that Graham may well bring a surprise musician with him! It’s really great to have him back at Cardrona.




One of New Zealand’s finest multi instrumentalists and a truly superb songwriter, it is always a pleasure to invite Marcus back to Cardrona, where he first played 38 years ago at our very first festival. A regular member of “The Chaps” and various other groups, it is when playing solo that in my opinion you see and hear the very best of Marcus’s talents. His wonderfully crafted songs are spreading around the world and have been recorded by many international artists such as Andy Irvine. Several times on my own UK tours I have suddenly heard a Marcus Turner song coming from a floor singer at a folk club.

As well as presenting songs in a concert spot of his own, Marcus will be using his instrumental skills as part of the ceilidh band on Saturday night. The very best of New Zealand folk music, this guy is world class!



MARY BARR (ex UK, now Waihi):

Mary and her husband have recently immigrated to New Zealand from the UK, where she is well known on the folk scene in the south of England. I first met Mary many years ago, when she booked me at the Seaford folk club which she ran down on the Sussex coast. I really enjoyed her singing and especially the tongue in cheek humorous songs. Mary will be presenting a mini-concert called “Sisters in Song” – a set of songs about women, some by women, some by men and some traditional but all telling stories from the female point of view. Some will be comic songs and some serious. Knowing Mary this should be very entertaining.



BARRIE McDONALD (Christchurch):

Now he’s retired from work, Barrie is at last free to visit more festivals around New Zealand, so it’s brilliant to have New Zealand’s leading accordion player back here again. Barrie has offered to anchor the ceilidh band on Saturday, and with his superb playing and wonderful timing, this should make it a really cracking dance. I’m sure we can get him to do a concert spot as well.




Begun over 25 years ago, this has become one of the most popular events at Cardrona and the idea of bush poetry session has now spread to most other festivals around the country. Each year it is getting longer and better with most of it consisting of hilarious and original material.  There is usually always another chapter to Steve Barkman’s ongoing saga of the Cardrona festival!



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As always there will be several blackboard concerts, so that all singers and musicians - and children - can get a chance to let us hear a couple of their songs or tunes. Our unaccompanied harmony session in the wee church on Sunday morning is always very popular, with contributions welcome from anyone who has a good chorus song we can join in with. There is always plenty of space and time for jamming sessions. Remember to bring earplugs if you don’t want to hear music in the small hours – after all, this is a folk music festival, and there is always time for Just One More Chorus.


The cost for a weekend ticket (Friday to Monday) is $80; with secondary children at $30 (wee ones are free). Bring everything you need, as all we supply is a flat (and usually dry) paddock, a couple of taps, hopefully fine weather and heaps of music and fun. The new luxury toilets are now working perfectly but the historic longdrops have also been recently renovated for festival-goers who suffer from nostalgia or who don’t like queuing! This is a self-catering festival but meals are available, at a price, up the road at the Cardrona Hotel.


The ski chalets next door to the site are no longer available, as they have permanent residents in them. Those who want accommodation should contact Ben Brae resort or the Cardrona Hotel. Please make your own bookings for these. Other affordable accommodation is available in Wanaka 25 kms away, along with a wide choice of restaurants and cafes. Best book now though. Showers are also available at nominal cost at the Wanaka motor camp, so if you go down to top up liquid supplies, take your towel.


Hope to see you at the festival




For further information and bookings contact

Martin & Kay Curtis, 2256 Cardrona Valley Road, RD2, Wanaka 9382

Tel/fax: 03 443 8152

Email: martincurtis(at) (you need to substitute the @ sign, to discourage spammers!)


Last Updated: 10th August 2014