GALLERY: Good vibes at Illawarra Folk Festival

More than 10,000 people will flood through the Bulli Showground gates this weekend, drawn to the allure of plinking banjoes, strumming guitars, stamping feet and some yoga.

The Illawarra Folk Festival is enjoying its 29th birthday and more than 150 acts from around the Illawarra, Australia and the globe are providing the soundtrack to the party.

Festival artistic director David De Santi said the festivities were spread over 11 stages from the showground pavilion to the racecourse itself, with almost every space in between turned into a pop-up performance venue.

"We've made great improvements to the site this year, which add to the colour of the area. We create spaces from what's there," he said from the Grandstand Bar yesterday.

It was filled with folding tables and chairs.

Far from its humble beginnings in Jamberoo, the now Bulli-based festival has become a well-loved institution on the Australian (and, indeed, international) folk circuit. The intimate setting and laid-back vibe create a friendly atmosphere many musicians are keen to experience themselves.

"We have people who plan their year around the festival, who come every year," Mr De Santi said.

"We have 150 acts playing, 40 of them locals, but got more than 500 artist applications."

When asked what had led to the longevity of the festival, Mr De Santi said, "It's a community thing. We have a little community here."

"We have 350 volunteers, but even musicians lend a hand in setting things up. It's an inclusive festival. I call it the folk village."

As the festival approaches its 30th year, there are no plans on slowing down. As soon as one festival is over, organisation for the next year begins.

"It's always fun for us, creating a space like this," Mr De Santi said.

Shane Moon with her two-day-old baby girl, Harriet, the youngest festival-goer. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Shane Moon with her two-day-old baby girl, Harriet, the youngest festival-goer. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The popular Dom Flemons from the US at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The popular Dom Flemons from the US at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Miss Chiefs on stage at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Miss Chiefs on stage at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Vendulka Wichta, Amelia Gibson and Laura Zarb of the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Vendulka Wichta, Amelia Gibson and Laura Zarb of the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Amelia Gibson of the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Amelia Gibson of the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Miss Chiefs perform at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Miss Chiefs perform at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Ineke Veercamp of Bowral at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Ineke Veercamp of Bowral at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Julz Strykowski, Tina Marie Sheil and Cally Darling of the Three Sisters perform at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Julz Strykowski, Tina Marie Sheil and Cally Darling of the Three Sisters perform at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Steve Tyrell performs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Steve Tyrell performs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Sonia Bennett from Seven Hills at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Sonia Bennett from Seven Hills at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A sign of the times at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A sign of the times at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Raglans on stage at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

The Raglans on stage at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Festival-goers James and Dylan at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Festival-goers James and Dylan at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Linda Meyns and daughter Ella at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Linda Meyns and daughter Ella at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A festival-goer gets some shade at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

A festival-goer gets some shade at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Photographing the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Photographing the Miss Chiefs at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

ZenThai Shiatsu masseuse Sonia Brown at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

ZenThai Shiatsu masseuse Sonia Brown at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Nathan and Mali at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

Nathan and Mali at Bulli Showground. Picture: KIRK GILMOUR

"Each year we create a slightly different monster."