Graeme Morrison is a mild-mannered criminal lawyer by day and by night a folk music enthusiast.
The 66-year-old is one of the long-time volunteers for the region’s biggest music event, the Illawarra Folk Festival.
“It’s a relief, it’s something different to what you do day to day,” he said.
Now in its 34th year, the four-day festival will host 160 musicians across 11 stages with a colourful array of international food stalls, craft stalls and the festival bar – which Morrison is accountable for.
The main bar manager joined the troupe of hundreds of volunteers in 1997, he has been lending a hand ever since.
“[Musical director] Dave De Santi is very persuasive,” he said.
He and a group of his friends met De Santi who invited them to help with the then much smaller festival held in Jamberoo.
Initially he began as bar manager but Morrison has “progressed” to become the secretary of the Illawarra Folk Club and one of their main photographers.
The involvement has also spurred him on to pick up some musical instruments for the first time in his life, the auto-harp and mandolin.
From Thursday January 17 to Sunday January 20, the Bulli Showgrounds and surrounds become a haven for an eclectic mix of people.
The Folk Festival attracts young families through to the young at heart, who hail from around the Australia and overseas.
“Folk has to be the broadest of all genres,” Morrison said.
“You’ve got roots, you‘ve got Celtic, and you’ve got so many different variations of music.
“Most amazing performers and you can join in ... other places there’s very little interaction but here the performers become part of the crowd.
“I think the people who are associated with folk are friendly, they’re family orientated a lot of them, it’s just a really nice group to be with.”
He said most people don't realise there are up to around 400 volunteers who are the working cogs behind the musical machine.
“The hours we put in is quite incredible,” Morrison said. “The planning for the next one starts two weeks after this one finishes.”
The Illawarra Folk Festival runs from January 17 to 20 at Bulli Showgrounds. www.illawarrafolkfestival.com.au
YOUR GUIDES TO THE FOLK FEST
A colour map of the festival site HERE
Artist program for Wednesday/Thursday HERE
Artist program for Friday HERE
Artist program for Saturday HERE
Artist program for Sunday HERE