The Italian connection at the long-running Illawarra Folk Festival is well known.
Artistic director David De Santi has once again organised a number of Italian-style events and music but the 29th edition of the annual festival also includes many overseas acts.
In fact, Japanese Irish music band John John Festival will perform seven gigs at Bulli Showground during the four-day event from January 16-19.
The three-piece band will help kick off the festival at the traditional Thursday night opener, which is a charity concert with proceeds going to Union Aid Abroad-APHEDA and the Illawarra-based disability support organisation Greenacres.
John John Festival is one of 12 overseas acts which include bands from Gambia, Denmark, Germany, Ireland, the US, the UK, Canada, Brazil and Japan.
They’ll be joined by headliner Archie Roach and more than 130 acts from around Australia for the festival of folk, world, roots, bluegrass, gypsy and Celtic music, as well as poetry, comedy and dance.
‘‘We are very excited to have John John Festival in our line-up. We’ve got our biggest international line-up ever, and having a Japanese band playing Irish music really is something different,’’ De Santi said.
‘‘They are a real feel-good act that Australian audiences are going to love.’’
The artistic director said the range of Australian and local talent was also exceptional, adding the fiddle was the featured instrument for the 2014 festival.
The Illawarra Folk Festival is run by the Illawarra Folk Club and a team of volunteers, and is the largest folk festival in NSW — attracting up to 10,000 people to Bulli over the four days.
Advance festival season passes ($125) are available until January 14. Tickets can also be purchased at a number of venues leading up to the festival as well as at Bulli Showground during the event.
Information, tickets: www.illawarrafolkfestival.com.au or 1300 887 034