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Significance of the Name

– Turning Wave

When establishing both the Turning Wave and our Festival we searched long and hard for a name that embraced the idea of the connections between Ireland and Australia. We wanted to be more than a “folk” festival and not be tied to a specific place. While many names were discussed we kept coming back to The Turning Wave – Poems and Songs of Irish Australia, edited by Colleen Z Burke and Vincent Woods (Kardoorair Press, Armidale NSW). This anthology and its name stood out as encapsulating everything we wanted to represent and the name is used with the kind permission of the authors.

When establishing both the Turning Wave and our Festival we searched long and hard for a name that embraced the idea of the connections between Ireland and Australia. We wanted to be more than a “folk” festival and not be tied to a specific place. While many names were discussed we kept coming back to The Turning Wave – Poems and Songs of Irish Australia, edited by Colleen Z Burke and Vincent Woods (Kardoorair Press, Armidale NSW). This anthology and its name stood out as encapsulating everything we wanted to represent and the name is used with the kind permission of the authors.

The Turning Wave - Poems and songs of Irish Australia - book cover

IMAGE: The Book That Named the Festival

The Festival

It was decided that the most effective way to establish Turning Wave was through a festival. The first one was held in 2006 and was two years in the planning. Gundagai proved to be the perfect location with both its iconic connection to Australian folklore and, to Irish immigration in the form of a number of Irish orphaned girls who settled there in the late 1840s. The Festival was modelled after a typical Irish fleadh (festival) where the town was the centrepiece. Along with concerts and various arts related events a teaching component was to be a major feature. With this in mind, each year special guests were invited from Ireland to present master classes in Irish music as well as to perform as part of the concert program. Turning Wave had six years in Gundagai before moving up the Hume Highway to Yass. The last festival was held in 2017. The event has had a three-year hiatus due to illness and the death of its Director and most recently to the Coronavirus pandemic. We look forward to Turning Wave returning to the festival circuit in the future.

It was decided that the most effective way to establish Turning Wave was through a festival. The first one was held in 2006 and was two years in the planning. Gundagai proved to be the perfect location with both its iconic connection to Australian folklore and, to Irish immigration in the form of a number of Irish orphaned girls who settled there in the late 1840s. The Festival was modelled after a typical Irish fleadh (festival) where the town was the centrepiece. Along with concerts and various arts related events a teaching component was to be a major feature. With this in mind, each year special guests were invited from Ireland to present master classes in Irish music as well as to perform as part of the concert program. Turning Wave had six years in Gundagai before moving up the Hume Highway to Yass. The last festival was held in 2017. The event has had a three-year hiatus due to illness and the death of its Director and most recently to the Coronavirus pandemic. We look forward to Turning Wave returning to the festival circuit in the future.

Crowd and stallholders at Turning Wave markets

IMAGE: Markets in Carberry park were always a popular feature of the Gundagai festivals.

Turning Wave Festival’s Irish Guests:

Gundagai
2006 – Conor Keane (accordion); Enda Ó Catháin (fiddle)
2007 – Ruth Boylan (concertina)
2008 – Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (fiddle, whistle & uilleann pipes) with Eithne Ní Catháin (voice & keyboard) & Enda Ó Catháin (fiddle)
2009 – Michelle Mulcahy (concertina & harp) & Mick Mulcahy (accordion); Aoife Granville (flute & fiddle); Antón Mac Gabhann (fiddle) & Mick Ó Connor (banjo)
2010 – Briege Murphy (guitar & voice); Maura Walsh (concertina)
2011 – Louise Phelan (fiddle); Peter Phelan (whistle & uilleann pipes); Catherine (flute & accordion) & Michael Sands (guitar & banjo)

2006_2 Enda&Conor Perform

Turning Wave Festival’s first Irish guests Enda Ó Catháin and Conor Keane perform at the opening of the 2006 Festival in Gundagai.

Yass
2012 – Aoife Johnston (concertina & whistle); Louise Phelan (fiddle
2013 – Fintan Vallely (flute); John Devine (uilleann pipes); Evelyn Conlon (Irish author)
2014 – Tricia Hastings (fiddle); Mairead Hurley (concertina, flute & whistle)
2015 – Aisling Lyons (harp & concertina); Sean Lyons (whistle)
2016 – Lydia Warnock (fiddle)
2017 – Tara Finn (whistle, flute, concertina & uilleann pipes)

The Living Tradition Award

This award was instigated by Turning Wave to recognise an individual who has, through their dedication and commitment contributed to one of the many facets of the Australian / Irish traditional music or related arts landscape for the better. The Award has only been presented three times.

2009 – Kevin Doyle “the grand old man of traditional music in Sydney” for his commitment and dedication to Irish traditional music in Sydney for over 60 years.

2010 – Margaret Winnett for her tireless devotion to the teaching and preserving of the dance traditions of Ireland in Australia.

2011 – David De Santi for his innovative behind the scenes work with the Australian folk community as musician, festival and folk club organiser, researcher and NLA grant recipient.

This award was instigated by Turning Wave to recognise an individual who has, through their dedication and commitment contributed to one of the many facets of the Australian / Irish traditional music or related arts landscape for the better. The Award has only been presented three times.

2009 – Kevin Doyle “the grand old man of traditional music in Sydney” for his commitment and dedication to Irish traditional music in Sydney for over 60 years.

2010 – Margaret Winnett for her tireless devotion to the teaching and preserving of the dance traditions of Ireland in Australia.

2011 – David De Santi for his innovative behind the scenes work with the Australian folk community as musician, festival and folk club organiser, researcher and NLA grant recipient.

Presenting and accepting award

IMAGE: Kevin Doyle receiving the 2009 Living Tradition Award from His Excellency Máirtín Ó Fainín, Irish Ambassador to Australia.

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