- Category: About
The Cygnet Folk Festival is one of Australia’s most iconic folk music festivals. Very highly regarded by musicians and festival-goers from all over Australia and overseas, competition to come to Cygnet is at an all time high amongst performers, and last year we had a record number of applications! The Festival is a showcase of eclectic music genres featuring both local and international talent, dance, poetry, masterclasses, film, kids' entertainment, food, wine, art and local handicrafts all set in the breathtaking scenery of Tasmania's Huon Valley.
Musicians and volunteers plan their annual holidays around coming to Cygnet in January each year and many come from interstate and overseas especially to be part of this wonderful event. The incredible talent of local and visiting musicians is celebrated over the January weekend and we are proud that so many amazing performers and festival goers take part in what the Festival has to offer each year.
The Cygnet Folk Festival began in 1982 and is a not-for-profit community event organised by a volunteer management committee (Huon Folk Inc), a paid Festival Manager & Art Director and many dedicated people volunteering their time and expertise. Huon Folk Inc is open to membership as an incorporated association: to become a member please click here for the online form.
Cygnet has a population of less than 1,600 people and for such a small community, the Festival is impressive in its size, scope and quality.
The Festival attracts thousands of visitors every year. A rich cultural community event, the Festival provides entertainment to a wide audience of Festival attendees, making people smile, providing opportunities and a springboard for young musicians, opportunities for local businesses, and new friendships.
The aims of the Festival are:
- to offer folk, ethno, world, singer-songwriter, roots and acoustic music, dance, poetry and workshops from local, national and international artists.
- to encourage interest in and awareness of folk music and associated activities to people of diverse ages and backgrounds.
- to provide support and opportunities to young musicians.
- to foster mutually beneficial relationships with the local community, businesses and associations.
Download or view the Huon Folk Inc Constitution (Rules of Association)
- Category: About
Where is Cygnet?
Cygnet is located just 55 km (about 50 minutes drive) south of Hobart, the capital of Tasmania, Australia’s beautiful southerly island state.
How to Get to Cygnet
You will need to take a flight, or catch a ferry from the mainland of Australia.
Hobart Airport to Hobart
- The Hobart International/Domestic Airport is located 19 km (about 20 minutes drive) to the east of the city of Hobart.
- Hire cars and taxis are available at the airport.
- A Redline Airporter shuttle meets every flight and stops at various locations around the Hobart CBD. To ensure a seat is available on the shuttle it is recommended that you book in advance.
Hobart to Cygnet
Cygnet is an easy 50 minute drive from Hobart through some of the world's most unspoilt, picturesque countryside and coastal areas.
If you are driving, you can choose to drive through the beautiful Huon Valley or along the stunning coastal Channel Highway:
Alternatively, you can take one a bus:
The Spirit of Tasmania overnight ferry service operates between Melbourne and Devonport on the north coast of Tasmania.
During the summer months there are additional day-time sailings. The Spirit of Tasmania carries cars, motor bikes, trailers, trucks and other vehicles.
Devonport is approximately 4.5 hours drive from Cygnet taking you through scenic Tasmanian landscapes and historic towns. Car hire is available in Devonport.
Things to Do While You are Here
The Huon and Channel regions are some of the loveliest parts of our island. Take some extra time to visit the many attractions in this beautiful, unique area and experience Tasmania's fine food and cool climate wines. Plan a holiday and stay for a week or two!
The Huon Trail is the perfect touring route to take you around the area to the south of Hobart. In just a 20-minute drive, you will find a world of extensive and serene waterways, wild coastlines, quiet farmlands, boutique vineyards, and rugged but accessible World Heritage wilderness. The Huon Trail leads you to ideal places for a relaxing holiday or short break, offering an inspiring mix of outdoor adventures, accommodation to suit all budgets, delicious food – especially cheeses, cherries, stone fruits, berries, meats and the freshest of seafood – top class cool-climate wines, a rich maritime, forest and rural heritage, and friendly, creative people.
There are four areas along The Huon Trail – the Huon Valley, the D'Entrecasteaux Channel, Bruny Island and the remote and wild Far South. Each of these areas offers unique experiences and attractions ranging from towering sea cliffs, dramatic mountain peaks, ancient forests, wondrous underground caves, pristine waterways, native flora and fauna and truly sensational landscapes.
Please visit the Huon Valley Tourism Association for more information
- Category: About
The Burtons Reserve Festival Camp site is located at the Southern end of town on the edge of the Cygnet waterfront and within easy walking distance of all venues.
This beautiful area is a bird sanctuary & wetlands. The Festival Committee wishes to thank the Huon Valley Council for giving special permission for camping by Festival patrons.
IMPORTANT: The whole of Burtons Reserve has been declared a prohibited area for dogs under section 22 of the Dog Control Act 2000 to protect sensitive habitat for native wildlife. No pets will be allowed at Burtons Reserve. Cygnet Holiday Park at 77 Mary St is pet friendly, please click here for more details.
Camp Site Managers - Port Cygnet Scout Group
In line with the Festival's commitment to working with local community organisations, we are pleased to announce that the Port Cygnet Scout Group has again volunteered to manage the Burtons Reserve camp site. In appreciation of this support, the Festival will be making a donation to the Port Cygnet Scout Group to assist them with their invaluable work with local young people.
Please refer to the Tickets page for details on how to purchase camping tickets. Camping in Burtons Reserve is only available in conjunction with a weekend Festival ticket.
Camping tickets are per person. Camping tickets are required for Festival patrons aged from 13 years to adults. For children aged 0 - 4 years of age, camping is free, however you must register all children via our ticketing page. Please note that children must camp with an adult and must obtain a camping wristband from the Festival Box Office.
PLEASE NOTE: All vehicles entering the campground require a Vehicle Pass - be sure to purchase one with your festival and camping ticket. If you choose to park your vehicle in the campground you will not be able to move it during the festival. If you need to use your vehicle or do not wish to purchase a Vehicle Pass, you can park in the Festival public parking area, at your own risk, for a gold coin entry fee.
All vehicles entering the campground require a Vehicle Pass - be sure to purchase one with your festival and camping ticket.
If you choose to park your vehicle in the campground you will not be able to move it during the festival.
RV/campervan/caravan vehicles including annex, guy ropes, etc. must not exceed site allocation of 7m in width by actual length of vehicle.
It is strongly recommended that RVs empty their septic waste at the Huonville waste dump prior to heading into Cygnet. The Huonville RV dump point can be found on The Esplanade opposite Huon River Jets Boats which is conveniently located on the road that leads into Cygnet from Huonville. A fresh water tap can also be found on the Esplanade across the road from the RV dump point near the public toilets.
Camp Ground Access Times
Camping Times: 9am Thursday prior to the Festival until 1pm Monday (day after the Festival)
Please note: The gate to Burtons Reserve will be locked at 10am on Monday (day after the Festival) and camping cannot be extended beyond this time.
What Should You Bring?
- Besides your tent and all your camping gear, don't forget to bring the following:
- The weather during the Festival can vary so come prepared for a bit of rain, warm/hot sunny days and cool nights.
- Sun Glasses
- Sun Cream
- Refillable Water Bottle
- Battery Powered Light
Burtons Reserve Camp Site Facilities
- Powered and water sites are not available at the Burtons Reserve Festival camp site. (See Commercial Accommodation for powered sites at Cygnet Holiday Park)
- Potable water is available.
- The site has public toilets and the Festival provides additional portable toilets.
- Basic shower facilities.
- Picnic shelter with four large tables, one small table and two electronic barbecues.
- For the children there is a boat playground and a swing area.
- Your car can be parked near your tent but you will not be able to move it during the Festival.
- You are welcome to bring your own cooking facilities (no fires allowed).
- There are 2 supermarkets and 2 butchers in the village.
- A laundromat is located in the village next to the Newsagent.
- See our FAQs section for info about banking facilities in Cygnet.
- There are restaurants, cafes, takeaways, food stalls.
Security & Camping Sites
- The Burtons Reserve camping area will be supervised during the Festival with all night supervision and security on Friday and Saturday nights.
- You can camp in tents, cars, caravans or campervans
- Camping is pre-paid but sites are not pre-allocated. We operate on a first come first served basis. On arrival you will directed to an area depending upon the size of your camping requirement (tent, camper, caravan, RV etc.). If you would like to camp with friends you must arrive together.
- Camping is restricted to approved camping sites.
- Please do not camp in unauthorised, non camping areas.
- There are designated “earlybird” and “night owl” areas. Please be mindful of others when camping here.
- Fires are strictly prohibited.
- Cygnet Folk Festival does not accept liability for the security of belongings, tent equipment, vehicles, etc., and all campers must accept responsibility for their own equipment.
- Please be courteous of your neighbours at night and keep noise to a minimum.
- Please make sure that all your camping equipment stays within your allocated space.
- You are welcome to bring your own cooking facilities (no fires allowed). Please note gas cylinders must be in date.
- Category: About
The curent members of the Huon Folk Inc Committee and Managment are:
Anne Foale - President
Anne Foale has supported the Cygnet folk festival for many years. As audience member firstly, then a volunteer, as supporter during her ten years as Principal at St James College and committee member since 2015 and now as President for the past 4 years. Anne grew up in Cygnet and now lives in Hobart. She is a very regular visitor to Cygnet and has strong connections in the Huon Valley and particularly Cygnet, with much of her family still living there and she feels very much a local. Anne can be credited with inviting the festival to use many of the facilities of St James College and she actively encouraged the growing partnership between the Festival and the College. Now retired after a long career as an educator, Anne enjoys seeing the school in which she works being closely integrated with community events and traditions. Anne is married to Rob and has a son and a daughter, a son-in-law and two gorgeous granddaughters. Anne makes no claims of musical talent but enjoys using her executive skills to support the continuation of this grassroots, sustainable and family friendly festival known and loved for over 40 years.
Michael Russell - Vice President
Michael and his wife moved from the Blue Mountains to the valley in December 2016. They have bought a small acreage on which they are growing vegetables alongside a couple of horses and three sheep.
They are loving the Huon Valley and can’t understand why they didn’t make the move years ago!
Michael comes with a background in managing community events. He believes passionately in community events and the important role they play. He has joined the Cygnet Folk Festival committee because he wants to use his experience and contribute to his new community and because he loves music!
Robert Alcock - Treasurer
Rob has been a long time supporter of the festival since he moved to Hobart in the late 1990’s from Launceston. Tasmanian born and bred, Rob predominantly enjoys indie / folk music, and was significantly influenced by the folk rock band, Weddings Parties Anything in the 1990’s.
Rob has played acoustic guitar since his teenage years and although he has played in bands over the years he now spends much of his spare time writing and recording songs (very amateurishly he points out). He says that he is continuously inspired by the quality of the performers at the CFF not just nationally and internationally but also the local Tasmanian talent.
Rob works in the Health industry and has been in a senior financial role for the last 25 years and brings to the committee commercial, business and project management skills. Above all however, he simply wants to contribute in any way he can to the ongoing success of "this fantastic music festival".
Chris Ellis - Committee member and Database Manager
Chris Ellis is a Tasmanian-born and raised descendent of a good number of Van Diemen’s Land convicts and Cornish gold miners. He worked as a biochemical scientist at the Royal Hobart Hospital in the 70s before his itchy feet led him to Melbourne and Victoria, where he raised his family and taught in primary and secondary schools for nearly three decades.
For more than twenty years, Chris has been immersed in the Victorian folk music scene, as a punter and as a performer. He has performed as a soloist and in various band line-ups playing traditional Celtic tunes, blues, bluegrass, country, and the odd popular standard in pubs, bars and festivals throughout Victoria and Tasmania. Chris had a long association with the Port Fairy Folk Festival as a volunteer, performer, and stage manager.
Recently tired from teaching, the call of the old home place was too hard to resist, and so Chris has returned to live in Cygnet permanently. He is presently working with the Integrity Commission of Tasmania. When he eventually retires, he aspires to finish writing the family history and to sit on the veranda playing the banjo or whittling.
Michael Bentley - Committee member and Public Officer
Michael moved from Adelaide to Hobart in 2011. Tasmania, for him, offered the best scale for living and working well. He has a chocolate border collie named Fionnuala and is often out walking with her in the city and on nearby reserves. Michael is a keen trail runner and participates in many events on kunanyi.
As a long-time lover of folk music in its broadest sense, Michael seeks out good music whenever he can.
Michael’s work is in public health and health services research, where he has developed skills in project management. His research interests are in social complexity of and ecological approaches to health, equity and the environment. Michael may not have the answers, but he asks the right questions.
Raymon Mainsbridge - Committee member and Public Officer
Ray began his professional career as a teacher of English and History in high schools in regional New South Wales. He later switched to the law and worked for thirty two years in a large national law firm, mostly in Sydney but also in Perth, specialising in commercial litigation. In more recent years, as leader of his firm's pro bono and corporate responsibility programme, he has advised many not for profit and community organisations on a range of issues, from incorporation and governance to employee disputes.
Ray has no musical ability of any kind (although he does have a son who is a professional singer and actor based in New York). Notwithstanding this, he loves listening to music of most kinds and going to live performances. He has been a regular and enthusiastic attendee of the Folk Festival over the past five years, ever since he and his wife Anne bought a property just out of Cygnet and started the slow process of moving there from Sydney.
Michael Thomsen - Committee member
Michael is a qualified medical herbalist working primarily in research and cancer support. He has written a number of scientific publications and contributed to several books and journals in this field.
Michael has for many years also built websites especially for musicians and artists and creates the visuals integral to the performances of Australian folk group Silkweed’s multi-media shows.
Michael is a long-term and regular supporter of folk and community music events. Michael lives in Hobart.
Alice Toner - Committee Member
Alice grew up surrounded by music and festivals across Australia and ‘felt at home’ within a Creative environment, so it felt natural to follow that career path. She went from being a muddy but enchanted by ‘Folk Life’ child at Woodford, to performing on stages as a folk musician herself and working within the Entertainment Industry.
Within the Huon Valley Alice ran the Open Mic at the Bottom in Cygnet and currently coordinates the Franklin Folk Club, Geeveston Feast, Franklin Market, is a radio host on Huon FM with her shows “Something Folky” and “The Drive Home” and manages various events at The Palais Theatre in Franklin. Earlier in life, Alice worked for Brisbane City Council as a Librarian and studied Law, Psychology and Sociology at UTAS. Alice is currently enrolled at the Hedburg (UTAS Conservatorium of Music).
The Cygnet Folk Festival is where Alice can weave her love of the Huon Valley Community and Folk Music together, at her favourite festival in her home, the Huon Valley. Alice lives in Ranelagh with four parrots and two dogs. Alice also grew up as a horse trainer and instructor and currently works at Huon Family Vet.
Bridget Binnie - Festival Coordinator
Bridget lives in Franklin and has worked in the arts for 15 years as a professional performing artist, arts administrator, festival and event producer, artistic director and publicist.
She is an established independent performing artist working mainly in the areas of contemporary dance, physical theatre and circus.
Bridget has worked in arts administration and management for; SPACE at the Salamanca Arts Centre, Second Echo Ensemble, The MOVES Festival, Festival of Voices, Taste of Tasmania, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Marshmelody Festival, Jackeys Marsh Forest Festival and the International Tasmania Circus Festival.
She regularly works freelance at festivals across Tasmania in the areas of stage and venue management, artist liaison, operations, logistics, event coordinator and site crew.
Bridget is passionate about making community events and has a strong love of music.
Erin Collins - Artistic Director
Erin is a musician and writer whose work has been showcased at performances and festivals as diverse as the National, Cygnet, Tamar Valley, Maldon and Majors Creek Folk Festivals, Ten Days on the Island, Junction Arts Festival, Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, the Wooden Boat Festival and From France to Freycinet, in addition to Regional arts and other touring. She has been involved with the Cygnet Folk Festival, predominantly as a performer since the mid 1990s.
Over the past two decades Erin has qualified in courses, masterclasses and seminars in event management and festivals and combines her experience of performance with management of festivals and events.
Erin has worked as perfromer, producer, company manager and musical director for shows during Ten Days on the Island, presented for festivals as Band Manager for Australian Folk group Silkweed, presented for “Mostly Folk” on Hobart FM community radio and is the Tasmanian producer of the Woodford Folk Festival initiative, Festival of Small Halls in partnership with the Cygnet Folk Festival.
Erin has steered the artistic vision as Artistic Director for the Cygnet Folk Festival since 2011. Erin lives in Hobart.
- Category: About
The committee would like to sincerely thank all our sponsors
If you are interested in sponsoring the Festival, you will find all the details in our Sponsorship Package 2024.