Fairbridge Festival @ Fairbridge Village, Pinjarra
w/ Kid Dingo, Carla Geneve, Darling, Nika Mo & many more
Friday, April 20 to Sunday, April 22, 2018
Fairbridge 2018 was a smorgasbord of activities, as one would expect. The three-day camping festival offered up an array of workshops, market stalls and culinary delights for the impressive turnout. The music, however, is always going to be its main attraction. Though it’s dubbed as a folk festival, Fairbridge covers anything a bit left field.
For the ‘cool youth’ who attended, the Backlot venue was the place to be; similarly young musicians took to the stage and impressed the crowds, one after the other.
Kid Dingo, an Adelaide native turned Perth teacher, served up a surprising set of synth-driven indie pop on Friday night. Quirky titles such as Crime Scene in Mt Lawley got the crowd giggling before the song had even began, and his cartoon-like beats interested the kids and adults alike. His audience interaction was much appreciated, even freestyling off the back of information given by a young man who didn’t give him a lot to work with. His tunes certainly didn’t stay within the realm of pop either; many tracks diverged into jazz and rap, leaving us excited to see what each track would be like. If you were looking for a legitimately unique act at Fairbridge, this was the one to see.
Later that evening, Carla Geneve deliverd a stunning set to a large audience. For those who hadn’t heard her music before, this performance was surely enough to hook them. Tunes like Louis Theroux, Juliet and Greg’s Discount Chemist wowed everyone with their distinct brand of intelligent simplicity. Her slick riffs, cool bass and clean drums tied in with a touch of humour made for a performance that’d fool you into thinking she was an industry veteran. At just 19 years of age (the same age as yours truly), she’s one of those rare people who leaves you in a kind of idolising haze, thinking “Hey, maybe I could do something like this too”.
The next morning made for something slightly different. The Fairbridge chapel filled to the brim with a more mature audience to hear the dulcet tones of Darling, an all-girl a cappella group. Performing modern and traditional tracks alike, their set had a little something for everyone and even offered almost every member a solo. Contemporary tracks including Kimbra’s Settle Down and The Staves’ No Me, No You, No More attracted just as much fervour as the gospel classics, which you may have expected the older audience to appreciate more. The ladies’ vocal prowess was certainly on display and demonstrated the level of practice that must have gone into formulating such a set.
On a weekend full of incredible music, the final highlight that can’t go unmentioned was that of Nika Mo, a duo comprised of Annika Moses from Darling and her friend Jacob Wylde accompanying on guitar. A self-described garage folk group, their music reminded me of Geneve’s in its personal nature, albeit with a tad more of a melancholic air. Technical difficulties did little to hinder the show, with Moses seeming unrattled by the disturbance and continuing with a smile. Tracks like It’s Still The Same Time Of Day were so intensely revealing that you almost felt like an intruder listening with your ear to a door; you had to give it to Moses for having the guts to display such honesty in her art. The crowd was silent for the most part, totally enthralled by her storytelling abilities and sweet voice. It was the greatest end to a captivating weekend.
Whoever is in charge of the bookings at Fairbridge deserves a raise; year after year it seems the best up-and-comers are given a chance to impress alongside seasoned veterans of the folk scene, and rarely do they falter. Although the mud and rain were hard to deal with, the music made it worth the while. For those who don’t mind a little dirt, give Fairbridge a go in 2019.