GALLERY: Illawarra Folk Festival 2013

Artist Leslie Refine with her artworks at the Illawarra Folk Festival at Bulli Showground.
Artist Leslie Refine with her artworks at the Illawarra Folk Festival at Bulli Showground.
Young American Grammy award-winning country blues artist, Dom Flemons revives traditional standards on stage. Pictures: ROBERT PEET

Young American Grammy award-winning country blues artist, Dom Flemons revives traditional standards on stage. Pictures: ROBERT PEET

Bec Smeaton pouring a drink at the bar.

Bec Smeaton pouring a drink at the bar.

Patrick Kelly and Miles Rooney.

Patrick Kelly and Miles Rooney.

Musicians play while people enjoy their lunch break at the festival.

Musicians play while people enjoy their lunch break at the festival.

Bellydancers Pippa Spice, Bronwyn Campbell and Fiona Macpherson.

Bellydancers Pippa Spice, Bronwyn Campbell and Fiona Macpherson.

He may be just 13 months old, but Tarrawanna's Michito Henderson is already a regular at the Illawarra Folk Festival.

Miles Rooney, 14, (guitar) and Patrick Kelly, 18, (violin) play gypsy jazz in a quiet corner of the grandstand between their gigs.

Miles Rooney, 14, (guitar) and Patrick Kelly, 18, (violin) play gypsy jazz in a quiet corner of the grandstand between their gigs.

Attending the festival for his second year yesterday, the tiny music fan - along with his three-year-old brother Tomoki and parents Manami and Dave - was one of thousands enjoying its colourful sights on the last day.

"We like to bring the kids because it's a fairly relaxing atmosphere and you don't have to worry about them too much," Mr Henderson said.

Director David De Santi said organisers had worked hard to make the festival appealing to all ages - a direction that appeared to have paid off as groups of teenagers ate gozleme and curry alongside old-time hippies in the food tents.

"Friday's heat might have kept numbers down overall, I think we're about 1000 down from last year, but what we're really happy about this year is the great variety of ages and people who are here having a great time," Mr De Santi said.

"There are more young people than we've ever seen before, and the youth acts have been a highlight."

Whether they came from overseas - like American Grammy award-winning blues artist Dom Flemons - or just down the road, younger artists certainly held their own against tried and true folk favourites.

For up and coming musicians Patrick Kelly, 18, and Miles Rooney, 14, the chance to play in their own bands, Paddy and the Wonderband and the Con Artists, alongside folk legends was invaluable.

"It's been great, because there's so many different styles of music, which means we can get different ideas," Patrick, from Austinmer, said.

"It's just amazing to be able to walk around and from gypsy-jazz to country rock, there's some great stuff going on for young people which means we get good exposure."