The Festival of Small Halls summer tour will begin  on 15 November. American folk raconteur Vance Gilbert and Australian singer-songwriter Liz Stringer are kicking off the festival this year.

The festival is a unique regional touring concept, working with community groups and regional councils across Australia to take some of the best international and national music into rural and remote areas of the country.

The festival begins in Wyreema, a small town west of Toowoomba and finishes up in Eudlo in the Sunshine Coast hinterland on the 17 December. Several of the twenty planned locations have populations below 500 citizens.

“Bringing the music to regional folks removes a light layer or film of music’s arrogance and audacity. It makes the music work a bit to be part of the fabric of

the place. That’s authentic,” said Vance.

Vance has released 12 albums over a 25 year career. He has opened for acts like Arlo Guthrie and Aretha Franklin and has a song on a Grammy-nominated children’s album. This will be Vance’s debut trip to Australia.

Liz has become increasingly popular in the international music community. She recently recorded her album at Type Foundry Studios in Portland, Oregon and has been in-demand on the North American touring circuit.

Liz will participate in the Festival of Small Halls just before she heads back to Canada to record another album.

“I’ll be looking for stories out on the road,” said Liz.

“I’ve always made a point of doing a lot of regional touring.

Small towns have personalities and stories that can be a lot easier to access, because of their size. Australia is a big, diverse and beautiful country and touring in regional areas gives me the opportunity to see more of the country and learn more about Australia, and the different experiences of Australians, from the locals. The best stories I’ve heard have been told to me by locals in small towns.”

Woodfordia Inc, producers of the iconic Woodford Folk Festival, The Planting Festival, and the Artisan Camps, support presenting musical performances in regional towns and believes that anyone who wants to listen to live music should have the opportunity.

The tours are designed to be annual events, with the same communities hosting a tour each year, building on the night to include workshops, local artists, street fairs – whatever makes the show unique to that location.

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