Cardrona Folk Festival 2013






This year marks our 37th year in the same venue but is actually the 38th 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. As usual everything takes place at the historic Cardrona Hall and surrounding reserve, and runs from Friday 25th to Monday 28th October 2013. This year we have another exciting line up of festival guests including some old favourites who we are always pleased to welcome back to Cardrona. They are:




I have known Les for many years as we often meet up at festivals during my own UK tours.   He is also a regular visitor to the North London folk club (The Herga) where it all started for me in the 60’s and where I still drop in whenever I am in the area. So I can personally vouch for the fact that Les is a great singer and superb festival man – always involved in singarounds and enjoying being part of the whole weekend. He has several strings to his bow, so to speak… not only is he an excellent singer of traditional songs and shanties; he is proving to be a songwriter of real talent. Several of his own songs are now being sung nationally and internationally by other artists, many of whom mistakenly think they are by that popular writer A.Non. His songs about World War 1 are stunning and admired by non-other than Mr E Bogle himself. Les also accompanies himself very well on guitar.

Les’s website is



THE CURTIS FAMILY BAND (Cardrona, Dunedin and W. Australia):

It will be a pleasure to welcome to the Cardrona festival for the first time my brother Rick, who lives in Perth in W.A. Rick has been on the folk scene for 40 years, and is an excellent tin whistle player, singer – and a long standing member of Perth’s famous Morris Men. He has played whistle on several tracks of my CD’s, as has son number two Ross, who now lives in Waikouaiti.    Ross was at the very first Cardrona festival – just out of his push chair probably! - and was so inspired by Barrie McDonald that he took up the piano accordion, an instrument at which he became very proficient. The three of us are going to put together an afternoon concert of songs and tunes that could be quite varied – especially as it is difficult to practise together as we are all spread out.



APPLECROSS (Christchurch):

The foursome that got together and premiered at Cardrona last year, Applecross consist of our old friends Tony Kiesanowski, Sue Galvin, Gary Elford and Jane Edmed. Since 2012 they have been working hard on expanding their repertoire as a group and their afternoon concert should be very entertaining – the irrepressible Sue is bound to make sure of that! They are also going to run half of the ceilidh on Saturday night, with Gary doing the calling.   

As the members of Applecross also want to do some dancing during the evening, the other half of the ceilidh will be led by Dave Hart on melodeon, with Martin as caller. As usual for the Cardrona dances other session musicians are welcome to join them for a fun night on stage.




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!




This theme “cocktail” hour was so popular at our Goldrush festival last year that the invitation is out there for anyone who feels like setting up a “shanty” again.   It happens after the last of the Saturday afternoon concerts, and is up to everyone who feels like participating.   Turn your tent or marquee into a grog shop or shanty and we’ll all do the rounds singing songs and sampling your wares on the way.  Home brew most welcome!   Even Gin & Raspberry!




As always there will be several blackboard concerts, so that all singers and musicians - and children - can let us hear what they can do. 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.  With Les Sullivan as our guest we should have some interesting new songs to learn this year. 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) remains at $75 for adults; with secondary children at $25 (wee ones are free). Bring everything you need, as all we supply is a flat (and usually dry) paddock, a couple of taps, 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.


Pre-registration is not yet necessary, though if the festival gets any more popular this may have to come one day.


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: 24th August 2013.