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    • The Auckland Folk Festival celebrates 50 years this January, with the announcement of their exceptional kids’ and dance programmes

Gig & Concert News - The Auckland Folk Festival celebrates 50 years this January, with the announcement of their exceptional kids’ and dance programmes

The Auckland Folk Festival celebrates 50 years this January, with the announcement of their exceptional kids’ and dance programmes

23 January 2023 - 0 Comments

With just over a week until the Auckland Folk Festival opens for the 50th time we're delighted to unveil not only our kids’ and dance programmes but the three Tui award nominees taking to the stage on Sunday night.

Our kids’ and dance programmes are set to be a huge hit, as we welcome two of New Zealand’s childrens ‘superstar’ entertainers, Kath Bee and Suzy Cato!

Suzy Cato needs no introduction as one of New Zealand’s national treasures, widely known for her work entertaining children and families for many years. She is best known as the host of several New Zealand children’s television programmes, most notably Suzy’s World and You and Me. Kath Bee has written some of NZ’s most loved children’s songs including Individuality, Dad I Wanna Be A Camel, and most recently the APRA NZ Best Children’s Song winner, E Tū Tāngata - Stand Together is making its way into every school across Aotearoa. Published by Native Tongue Publishing, Kath is a multi-award-winning songwriter, with a career spanning almost 20 years.

Our kids’ stage will be running through the entirety of the festival with activities, songs and dances for all. Come and sit under a shady tree as your kids learn to make music, dance and sing with friends. The kids’ zone has proven one of the most popular elements of our festival over the past 10 years.

We have a full dance programme showcasing a huge variety of dancing from all around the world. All workshops are designed for all ages and stages from beginners to experts. You can expect both Scottish and Irish Ceilidhs, Persian/Iranian dance, Bangladeshi folk dances, Maypole dancing, South American folk dancing, EuroGyspy and Chilean just to name a few!

Other highlights of the dance programme include Balfolk Aotearoa presented by Michael Parmenter and Katie Grace, which will provides an opportunity to rediscover the joy of dancing with others in a fun and supportive community environment. Balfolk is a popular dance movement based on traditional folk dances of Europe.

City of Auckland Morris have been performing traditional English dances in Auckland for over 40 years, a lively and energetic side delighting audiences with dances from the Cotsworlds and Border Regions of the UK.

Formed in 2021, the Whangarei City Morris dancers are the youngest Morris side in New Zealand. Their dances come from a number of traditions, primarily from the Cotswold village of Adderbury and Border Morris, from the England/Wales borders.

We also have a full Celebration Programme running through the entirety of the Festival as we both celebrate 50 years of history and look to our future. Surprise musical guests from the last 50 years will be making appearances throughout the Festival.

Tūī nominees named
We are also super excited to celebrate the three Tūī Best Folk Artist award finalists, with T-Bone and Butter Wouldn’t Melt set to take to the stage on the Sunday of the festival, in what is always a hotly anticipated concert!

The three finalists for the 2023 Best Folk Artist Tūī award are Butter Wouldn't Melt for the album 1931, Mel Parsons for the album Slow Burn, and T-Bone for the album Good ‘n Greasy.

The three artists will perform on Sunday evening on the 50th annual Auckland Folk Festival main stage before the award winner is announced.

Mel Parsons' nomination makes her a four-time finalist for the award. The multi-award-winning indie-folk touring artist's latest album Slow Burn showcases her trademark smoky vocals and lyrical prowess as well as her razor-sharp wit and deft hand on the guitar.

T-Bone's debut album Good ‘n Greasy was released on June 17th and debuted at No. 2 on the New Zealand Album Charts. A love of Americana music, good wine and great food brought them together and their 11-song album features songs about food, playing music, new beginnings, love lost and found. The songs are influenced by zydeco, old-time, blues, bluegrass and folk and have both strong Americana flavours and a distinct Kiwi folk feel. They are sure to get your toe tapping!

Duo Butter Wouldn't Melt, made up of Andrea Reid and Nick Burfield, has been entertaining clubs, bars and festivals across the country since the release of their debut album 1931. They have a sound influenced by the Americana greats but sing tales sprung out of the fern-covered hills of Wellington or the dry fields of Hawkes Bay. They blend dulcimer, whistles, guitar, double bass and soaring counter-melodies and will melt your heart with their soulful stories, vibrant voices and faraway fables.

Auckland Folk Festival 2023 Full Lineup:

Across the Great Divide

Albi & The Wolves

Alpaca Social Club

Butter Wouldn't Melt


Ethno Aotearoa

Folk Bitch Trio (AUS)

Kerryn Fields

Manus McGuire (IRE)

Monty Bevins


Rough Town

Sneaky Bones (USA)

Songs from the Old Country

Sweet Bottom (NZ/USA)


Te Kaahu

Te Wehi Haka

The Frank Burkitt Band

The Jellyman's Daughter (SCO)


We Mavericks

Wheel of Experience


Next: Introducing BAkeR: EP 'Eternal Now' out February 26th

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