Hundreds of tent pegs were hammered into Bulli Showground yesterday as the first visitors to the Illawarra Folk Festival arrived.
The showground was the site of multiple reunions between people brought together by their love of folk music and the festival lifestyle.
Peter O'Neil, the event's marketing and media director, said 10,000 people were expected over four days of music across 12 stages.
"You could say this is a bit of a calm before the storm. People are still arriving, putting up tents, greeting old friends - because some people they only see each other at this festival," he said.
The festival choir - open to anyone who wants to sing - met for the first time yesterday but is expected to develop songs to a high standard by Sunday night.
The choir will perform as back-up for musicians including Christine Anu, and as an act in its own right.
"Normally festival choirs are quite fussy about who they have but one of the philosophies of our festivals is inclusiveness," Mr O'Neil said.
Performers at this year's festival include Jeff Lang, The Song and Dance Man, Mike McClellan and Don Flemons.