COME AND PLAY
By Chris Phillips
The Newport Fiddle & Folk Club can trace its humble grassroots beginnings around founder & director Michael Stewart’s kitchen table. They were just a handful of music loving locals who felt the need to play & share their music.
11 years on & the not for profit run NFFC have over 150 members, a team of committed volunteers (still including Michael & some of his kitchen table mates!) who run 2 committees & many events, have many regular club nights on offer to anyone who cares to turn up & have just put on their 8th successive year of the annual Newport Folk Festival.
The purpose & philosophy of the club is to provide opportunities for amateur & experienced musicians, singers & music lovers – both young & old – to share their music within a like-minded community. NFFC provides a supportive environment where music lovers may make use of many opportunities to play, listen or perform, such as a monthly club & join in night, open stage night, blues night & Celtic Craic night to name a few.
Annually there are also large & collaborative events for the general public to attend & enjoy like the Newport Substation Christmas Carols (Dec), Newport Lakes Bush Dance (March) & the Newport Folk Festival (1st weekend of July).
The club has expanded over the years to also boast many groups under its nurturing wing, like the Newport Bush Orchestra, Newport Strings (classical ensemble), Strings West (a children’s & youth string ensemble & choir school) & the Newport Community Choir. There are so many ways to be involved, quite literally for all ages, musical interests & skill levels – you don’t even have to be from Newport!
NFFC have also hosted so many talented musicians in performance, such as Nick Charles, Mike Compton (USA, bluegrass genius of note), Ash Davies’s ‘Ned Kelly’ show, The Bushwhackers & Vin Maskell’s ‘Stereo Stories.’ In September NFFC hosted Australian musical legend Shane Howard at the Newport Bowls Club, & in October will host unique & contemporary Adelaide folk band, The Timbers – both as part of the ‘Live at Newport’ series.
NFFC stands by its Newport Festival motto ‘Come & Play’ & has an open door policy to all who seek to open their hearts & allow music into their lives.