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But darling, I have nothing to wear!

Are you interested in coming to the Derwent Regency Festival, where there’ll be wonderful live music, lively dancing, interesting history, fine food, games and fun for all, over four days of diverse entertainment, but worried about what to wear?

Fear not! Regency attire will be admired but is not required. You’re welcome in whatever you like, ‘though for the Grand Ball and the Sunday House and Garden Party in particular, neat evening dress would be preferable.

If you do want to make an attempt at a period outfit, you can go a long way with some simple op-shop or reuse finds.

Gentlemen, want to make the ladies swoon with your Mr Darcy look? Here are some videos for you:

Ladies, if you fancy creating your own Regency outfit from op-shop items, here’s a handy video link:

See also…

There are many other online resources for dressing up in period outfits. Search for “easy regency outfit”.

Of course, feel free to come in any attire you like, but if you do make an effort on a period outfit, it will be admired. It all adds to the fun.

2020 Song and Tune Writing Award Winners

Performers Compose Themselves For Awards Night

(Article from the Folk Federation’s Drumbeat Magazine, Feb 2021)

A Covid 19 year set a grim picture for the Folk Federation’s Song and Tune Writing Awards in 2020. But with courage in the face of adversity and all that – the competition forged ahead and culminated on Saturday November 21st in a brilliant concert celebrating Tasmanian talent, creativity and originality.

Whilst we had expected a “bumper crop” of songs as people may have hunkered down during lockdown periods the actual number of entries was down slightly from last year.   However the standard was high with 15 separate acts performing on the night, each allocated 2 songs. All of the entrants into the competition this year attended the concert which may also be a first (although one was via pre-recorded video, not for any pandemic-related reasons, simply by virtue of being an in-demand professional musician).

The concert featured performers from right across the state including Louise Conroy and Michael Horton from Launceston and Chris Okunbor from Wynyard and the organisers would particularly like to thank these performers for making the huge effort to be there on the night.

A special feature of the night was the younger talents of Jess Earney – who won the Under-19 award (best composition – song or tune), while Jemma Rose Sweeny and Rosie Cann also wowed the audience with fantastic performances. A special moment was when Jemma performed on the piano unassisted by sound technology creating the perfect lounge room atmosphere.

The winner of the Mike Silverwood Award -Song category was Dave McNamara for his song “Three Loves” while Dave also shared the honours of the best tune this year with Rachel Meyers for their tune – “Nipaluna Sky”.

At the eleventh hour, the organisers also chose to award a $100 prize each for a Highly Commended song and tune, the winners of which were Louise Conroy for her song Red Dancing Shoes, and CC Thornley for his tune Queenstown Rains. CC couldn’t be there on the night but in a Song Comp first he pre-recorded a spiffing YouTube track featuring his song which was played for the crowd.

The judges must have gotten something right because Dave and Rachel shared the prize of the People’s Choice award in a tie for best Performer/Act with Stephanie Katz – a repeat of a previous year when the result for the People’s Choice was tied. Each year the fact that every artist gains a number of votes in the People’s Choice confirms the variety, appeal and talent on offer at the Awards concert.

A lovely aspect of the competition was the emerging use of Tasmanian indigenous language – palawakani in song lyrics with Sally Brown and Té Sman featuring songs with many indigenous references. Thanks to our other performers who all gave very credible renditions of their songs – Matthew Valentyne, Cheryle Holmes and Brendan Wakely who kicked the night off with his moving song about Tassie’s environment – Mountain Peak.

Once again a huge thanks to the Folk Federation Team, the Fern Tree Tavern and especially David Beniuk who mixed and set up sound requirements with ease and managed the Covid safe procedures nimbly in between. Thanks also to those regulars who “keep coming back” to support the night and check out the songs and stories that Tasmanian folk artists are telling.

All in all it was a terrific concert and bodes well for forthcoming competitions and concerts.

2018 Song and Tune Writing Awards Winners

“Apologies for the belated thank you for giving me the opportunity to hear and experience the wonderful music and songs at last Saturdays showcase concert for Mike Silverwood Memorial Song Writing Award.  And to contribute my little bit.

Some great songs and lovely performances. Congratulations to the winners, John and Floyd, and to the winner of the ‘tunes’ prize (whose name I didn’t quite catch).

Over-all a fantastic night with a beautifully supportive audience. Thank you to the David’s, Peter, Roger, “Elizabeth” (?) and all who contributed to making it happen. May it go from strength to strength.”

— Ian Paulin

The Folk Federation’s annual Song and Tune Writing Awards for 2018 are over.  The awards were announced at a wonderful concert on October 20th at Wesley Hall, with a wide range of acts and tunes and songs in a variety of styles and covering many and varied topics, including some important issues such as Nauru, gambling, race relations in Tasmania, social justice and the rights of working people. The concert included seasoned performers and composers as well as “newcomers” stepping up and producing high quality performances.  We hope they are all encouraged in their future endeavours.

The results for 2018 are:

  • Mike Silverwood Songwriting Award – John Hughes – “Only Weeds”
  • Tune Award – CC Thornley – “Sentimental Rag”
  • U-19 Award – Equal 1st – Floyd Taylor – “Wonder”
  • U-19 Award – Equal 1st – Eve Cooper and Rupert Bullard – “Glow”
  • People’s Choice Award – Floyd Taylor

Well done to all those who submitted entries and thank you for supporting this competition. Congratulations to the winners and thank you very much to those who make it all happen, particularly our Competition Co-ordinator, Peter Hicks, this year’s judges, Anna Graham and David Beniuk, Cathy Hutchinson, David Wanless and their team of helpers who organised and set up the hall for the concert and Roger Joseph for sound engineering and lights on the night.

2017 Song and Tune Writing Awards Winners

The Folk Federation’s annual Song and Tune Writing Awards for 2017 have concluded with a fine concert on October 21st at Wesley Hall, with a great range of acts and standard of performance. This included seasoned performers and composers as well as “newcomers” to the genre stepping up and producing high quality performances.  We hope they are all encouraged in their future endeavours.

The results for 2017 are:

  • Tune Award – CC Thornley – “Doin’ Stuff”
  • Song Award – Jackie Gregory – “Hammett”
  • U-19 Award – Callum Roberts – “Out of Time”
  • People’s Choice Award equal 1st – Callum Roberts and Jane Palfreyman

Well done to all those who submitted entries and thank you for supporting this competition. Congratulations to the winners and thank you very much to those who make it all happen, particularly our Competition Co-ordinator, Peter Hicks, this year’s judges, Anna Graham and David Beniuk, Cathy Hutchinson and her team of helpers who organised and set up the hall for the concert and Graeme Beer for sound engineering on the night.

2017 FolkTas Grant Awarded

2017 FolkTas Grant Award

The 2017 FolkTas grant was awarded to Rachel Meyers for her project “A Jew in Tasmania: diaspora to home” which is a deeply personal musical project considering the experience of diaspora, emigration and Jewish culture as the basis for Rachel’s own musical practice.

Rachel is an accomplished musician herself and performs as an experimental Klezmer duo with Dave McNamara as “Meyers & McNamara” who are currently working towards their debut album. They have performed with several bands, such as The Tinderbox Collective, The Counterfeit Gypsies and Duo Swango. Rachel has also completed a postgraduate research degree in musicology and worked on various other research projects.

The Folk Federation of Tasmania’s committee wishes Rachel well with her ambitious CD and performance project and looks forward to the full lecture/ recital and accompanying album launch at Hobart’s historic Synagogue in 2018.  Benefits will flow to the folk community and beyond with Rachel’s themes and musical collaborations, beginning with an early presentation at the Cygnet Folk Festival 2018.

2016 FolkTas Grant Awarded

The 2016 FolkTas grant was awarded to Theresa Young for her series of three bushdances, to be held at the Orford Town Hall (later changed to Buckland).  The purpose of this proposal, Theresa wrote, was to give some more community dancing opportunities to those living on the South East Coast of Tasmania. It would be an opportunity for everyone to meet new people, be active and be joyful!

After the events, Theresa wrote in Drumbeat, the Folk Federation’s regular magazine:

The town of Buckland played host to three sweet and lively bushdances in the months of August, September and October. People of all ages filled the dance-floor of the charming Buckland Hall at each dance, travelling from all over the South-Eastcoast, Midlands, and
Hobart areas.  

We were privileged to have stages full of musos playing and singing celtic, Tasmanian and American tunes on banjos, mandolins, accordians, guitars and fiddles. The first dance was played and called by Moonshine Whiskers and the Ragged Pony; the second, by Tasmania’s Devil’s Own; and the third was played by the enormous and delightful Hobart Old Time String Band, called by David Wanless and sound engineered by Glenn Warland.

We danced traditional dances like the beloved heel-and-toe, and were thrown into some wild and beautiful newer ones too. On the final night,  we even learnt some lovely dances
of David Wanless’ own creation. Suppertimes were also a mix of tradition and novelty, with tables filled with old favourites like savoury toast, as well as innovative creations like
falafel and bocconcini kebabs.

Thank you to the Folk Federation of Tasmania for supporting the dances with their annual FolkTas grant, as well as to the local Glamorgan Spring Bay Council for a community grant. These wonderful events would not have been possible without this backing.

Theresa Young

2015 FolkTas Grant Awarded

FolkTas Grants Announced, August 2015

Well, the Folk Federation of Tasmania committee has made a song and dance about the FolkTas Grant and is pleased to announce that the Folk Tas Grant has been awarded to two quality applicants! Both projects will support and enhance our folk community, but in different ways.

The Folk Federation is proud to give support to the Ethereal Ensemble’s book of Tasmanian original music, poetry and images inspired by Tasmania’s natural world. This unique and affordable book will have a wide appeal for Tasmanians and has the potential to reach beyond, with its easy to read music scores, elegant colour images and beautiful poetry.

The committee was privy to seeing some examples of the work to be included and believe that the book will be a long lasting resource which will bring people together to play the music and still hold appeal to others with its poetry and images. The committee is very much looking forward to seeing the final product early next year. The book will be launched at a special Ethereal Ensemble concert and details will be posted as they come to hand or see

The other successful applicant is the Harp Society of Tasmania with an equally inspiring, but different project of folk fusion into the wider community. The Harp Society will run a free weekend of all things harp; open to the general public and held in Spring 2015. Westbury has been chosen as it is central, particularly to those in the north of the state, and is home to one of the Harp groups. Proposed are free teaching sessions, introductions to regional harp groups, a harp healing workshop, showcases of local harp makers and performers and possibly some catering.

On the Saturday evening, there will be a fundraising concert featuring the Tasmanian Harp Ensemble who will present a repertoire of Tasmanian traditional tunes at the Westbury Hall. The fundraising goes towards their trip to France in May next year to present these Tasmanian tunes at a harp festival. Further details will be posted on the FolkTas email list or contact Jenny Smith…

2014 Song and Tune Writing Awards Winners


“for an original song or tune in traditional or contemporary folk style”

Just a quick follow up and announcement of winners of this year’s FFT Song competition and concert, at Wesley Hall in Hobart.

Mike Silverwood Memorial Award for the best song awarded to David Beniuk for “Never Rains”
Tune Award to Cate Foley-Burke for “Icing on the Strings”
and u-19 award to members of BEX – Brianna Waldon, Emily House and Alex Cooney for “Hold Your Ground”
People’s choice award went to Annwen and Marshall Roberts.
It was a fabulous concert with great variety and all the acts keenly listened to by a very appreciative audience.
Thanks to everyone who helped out and looking forward to doing it all again in 2015.

2015 Song and Tune Writing Awards

  • “for an original song or tune in traditional or contemporary folk style”

    • See entry form: Folk Federation of Tas Song Writing Awards entry form 2015
    • These awards are made to encourage creative music writing in Tasmania.
    • An independent panel of judges will announce the major awards at a concert on Saturday 24th October
    • The concert will feature the finalists. The judge’s decision will be made before the night but not announced until during the concert. A People’s Choice award will be decided on the night.

    There are three categories, plus a Peoples’ Choice on the night of the concert 

    • Mike Silverwood Memorial Song Writing Award 1st $150
    • Instrumental Award 1st $150
    • Under 19 Song or Instrumental Award 1st $150
    • People’s Choice Award 1st $50

    Entries to be submitted by Saturday 26th September 2015

    Further information: ring Peter on 0409 216 752

2013 Song and Tune Writing Award Winners


“for an original song or tune in traditional or contemporary folk style”

A big thank you to all the entrants, participants, supporters, judges, hosts etc for another successful Folk Federation of Tasmania Mike Silverwood Memorial Songwriters Award, writes Peter Hicks.

Report on Songwriter’s Concert Brookfield Margate 2013


On Saturday Nov 16th I had the privilege of hosting  terrific collection of songwriters and instrumentalists who on hand to display their turn of phrase and creativity.  We were also bidding farewell to a fantastic centre of folk in southern Tasmania – the Brookfield, Margate.


A great mood was created by members of Ethereal who performed a short bracket including two pieces which were submitted as part of the competition.  The blend of harps, brass wind and didgeridoo is unique and this act deserves all the accolades they have coming to them .  Look out for their new CD coming soon.  Their tune Morning Delta was judged  winner of the tune award which has been renamed the Helen Lindsay award in honour of the enormous amount of effort Helen has put in to the folk scene over the past decade.

Marty Spurway-Smith launched the singer songwriters with a great bracket including Song for a Single Father  which was judged as the best song for 2013 by our Northern judging panel of Beth Sowter and Patrick Gambles.  It was a good choice although the performances from all acts was testament to the fact that any of the songwriting acts could have been winners on the night.  Rory Campbell gave us a treat with a bracket consisting of the songs he submitted and a more jolly piece – The Banana Song which had many audience members in tears – with laughter.


Anna Hebblewhite performed her thought provoking reflective pieces with amazing poise and her beautiful piano playing and singing had the crowd hushed.  Also thrilling was young Finn Clarke who announced he had only started playing piano in April and proceeded to perform three original pieces with great confidence and flair.  Shaun Pearce was accompanied by Graeme Ewing and as usual played a bracket including his entry on the Mt Lyell mining disaster which was an epic in the best sense of the word.


A thrilled audience cast their votes and waited while the organisers went to count the tally. Steve Gadd and Emily Wolfe entertained with original and traditional tunes.  The vote for People’s Choice went to the wire with two performers polling equally and voting went to preferences. But there could only be one winner and Finn Clarke walked away a worthy winner.   We are all looking forward to next year’s competition but it will be hard to find a venue that could match the atmospheric surrounds of the Brookfield.


The winners were:

FFT Song Comp winner:  Marty Spurway-Smith for song “Song for a Single Father”

Tune Award:  Winner: Ethereal for tune “Morning Delta”

u-19 winner:  Beatrice Harrison-Day for tune: “Music Teacher”

People’s choice: Finn Clarke

Commendation:  Marc Smith for song “Leaving the Land”

Commendation to :  Matthew Dames for song “Piano Girl”