Frances Folk Gathering back for 15th year

FIFTEEN years on from its first instalment, the Frances Folk Gathering is back for another round.

From Friday until Sunday, Frances will come alive as a swell of folk enthusiasts swarm into the town.

Gathering committee chairman Michael McGregor said all was in place as the gathering nears.

"It's starting to build," he said. "Everything is going ahead as planned."

The committee are keeping things under their hat with a guest artist and guest band to be announced at the event, but promises the gathering will be as usual - "the free festival you are in and not just at" with workshops performances and all the "normal" Frances Folk gathering things.

In previous years the hot weather has been an issue but Mr McGregor was pleased to announce things won't be so uncomfortable this year as the hall now has air conditioning - a great benefit for the dancers.

"The dancers have struggled before, they had to finish early in the evening because they simply were too tired after dancing in the heat before," he said.

"Dance workshops were particularly difficult as it is a physical activity - when you are up on stage playing an instrument it's not so bad."

Various workshops will now be held in both the hall and the hotel.

Fundraising for the gathering has been an ongoing issue with no funding from the State Government but two events held in the lead-up to the gathering have proven a great help, along with the greatly appreciated support of the Naracoorte Lucindale Council.

The gathering is looking for a "noteworthy contribution" from attendees this year - rather than a donation of a coin they wish to see notes handed in.

"The thing is if we get 1000 people and they each donate $10, that is $10,000 to the gathering," Mr McGregor said.

"And that's half our funding."

He said the gathering was still free and the donation was not compulsory.

"But it would make life easier for us," he said. "Sponsors come and go and you can't always rely on grant money."

Mr McGregor and the rest of the gathering's organisers are hoping for a good crowd at the gathering, not just those travelling into the town but also the locals of Frances and district.

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