Bundanoon DanceFest 2024

The return in 2023 was welcomed by the social dancing fraternity and the calling, dancing, music and socialising were heart warming.

The Bundanoon DanceFest has an international and Australia-wide reputation as a major event in the social dance calendar. With its broad range of dance styles and the amazing standard of dance teaching and the unswerving commitment to live music, it is quite remarkable.

This year the program styles include English, Scottish, Contra, Australian, Irish, Bordonian, European, and even a taste of line-dancing.

The DanceFest acknowledges the absolutely vital underpinning of our dance teachers and musicians.

live music

Tickets information and sales available here

Autumn Gathering 2024

Gunning 23 - 25 February 2024

This was held and there was a relaxed and informal gathering of folk who enjoyed the camping and music experience.

Dancing in Fetters in Freemantle 2024

At the Freemantle Prison 16 Sep 2023 to 28 Jan 2024

1 The Terrace FREMANTLE WA 6160

Over 45,000 people have visited the Dancing in Fetters exhibition at the Fremantle Prison!!   In December the Prison had the highest month of visitations on record.


Bush Traditions Gathering 2023

The 2023 Bush Traditions Gathering happened again on the Labor Day Long Weekend October at the Goulburn Club. A weekend of fine music, interesting workshops and grand company in a delightful olde-worlde venue. Thanks to our hosts and in particular to Mary Booth and Ron McLaughlin for their support.


Bundanoon DanceFest 2023

The DanceFest happened in Bundanoon over the June long weekend. The weather was kind, the music was excellent and the dancing was fantastic, enjoyed by all who turned up. Dancers and musicians travel great distances to attend this festival of social dance, Melbourne and Brisbane and many places in between. We had Bush, Bavarian Ballroom/New Vogue, Colonial, Contra, English Country, Estonian, Scottish, Scandinavian, Irish. The Festival is a favourite of many experienced dancers and the standard of dancing is high. This allows callers to chance their reputations by calling new and often quite complex sequences. Some fell apart but most succeeded, often spectacularly. A memorable moment for me was to witness Peter Foster call a complex dance sequence with six quadrille sets in close formation. I don’t remember what Peter called it so I shall call it Foster’s Ratchet. In this sequence dancers perform a number of movements within their sets and then at the end of the sequence dancers turn their backs on their set and exchange places with dancers in adjacent sets. Yep, there are dancers on the edge who do a meanwhile before dancing on. Thus are the sets repopulated and the sequence repeated.  Extraordinary stuff! 
Ray Mulligan


Photograph of those who stayed to the end!

Dancing in Fetters at The Rocks 2023


110 George Street Sydney

At the Rocks Discovery Museum from 1 February to 28 April, 2023.

More information, opening times etc...

The launch was on 3rd Feb with music and dance organised by David Potter with Sydney musicians and dancers. This component of the launch was supported by Bush Traditions Inc.



Dancing in Fetters Tour

May 2023 on Norfolk Island

The exhibition is going to Norfolk Island in May 2023 and we have created a week of folk activities associated with convict culture. Workshops each morning (dance,music, song, maybe theatre), free time in the afternoon to explore the island, then an event in the evening (dance, concert, sessions, an act from the play).

It is a wonderful opportunity to see Norfolk Island and to be guided by Don and Sue Brian who have lived there and researched its history. Additionally there will be times when music, dance and song are called for so participation will be guaranteed.

If you are interested in joining the tour please email the organisers so you can be informed of bookings and the program.

National Folk Festival

CANBERRA 7 - 10 April 2023

A lot happened at the National this year

Collected Tunes Sessions

This was held in the Session Bar with a number of tune leaders taking folk through a new set of tunes.

The Camp (Ngura)

This new festival venue with an Australian content focus got off to a good start under the coordinator Emma Sputnik with Dave Johnson assisting with programming. The marquee was located in a prominent position with a food van, Biggies, providing superb slow cooked meats with native spice rubs.

Festival Bush Orchestra

Held at The Camp with a programme that is a reprise of the nine years Dave Johnson has been leading the Bush Orchestra. The music is available HERE.
And don't forget that it was Graham McDonald who initiated this valuable addition to the NFF, followed by Greg O'Leary.

Slow Tunes Sessions

Held in the Session Bar as usual first thing each morning with Alan and Linda Swift and Wayne Millar. The music is available HERE.

Bush Traditions Autumn Get-Together

Gunning, 24 - 26 February 2023

An outdoor, camping oriented, low cost weekend held in Gunning. Most punters camped for the weekend and the air was filled with the sounds of music from the 40 or so who rolled up.

The Showground was excellent for the event with plenty of free camping and reasonable facilities. The hall was found to be disturbingly echoic on the Friday so Saturday and Sunday activities were in the large supper room with convenient access to the kitchen.

All in all Gunning got the thumbs up as a beaut venue for a Bush Traditions music and camping weekend.

Special thanks to Don and Sue Brian for sussing out the facilities and to Ray Mulligan and Moir Holmes for the inspiration.


Bundanoon Sessions Weekend

Queen's Birthday 10-13 June2022 in Bundanoon

When the Bundanoon DanceFest was cancelled, some regular musicians put in a request for a music weekend in its place.

Essentially this was a music sessions weekend with time slots allocated to some focussed sessions eg Backblocks Tunes, Sea Shanties, etc and other informal sessions.

BSW 2022

The music used is available for download: Local Living Legends; Wall-toWall Waltzes; Saturday Slow Session; Backblocks Tunes; Ukranian Tune; Putting in the Lilt

Some feedback

Thanks for the great weekend of Australian trad… I managed to squeeze in the couple of tunes I knew and had especially fun at the Saturday morning slow session.
Gerry Harris

Thanks again for a really wonderful weekend of music playing and learning, and for the organising that went into enabling our gathering again of the Bundanoon music "family". 
It was so good to meet up with people again and to have time to sit and chat as well. 
We played some really beautiful tunes again and I came home with many new ones to learn as well. 
Denise Hibbs

What a great weekend of sessions we shared at Bundanoon over the long weekend.
A big thanks to everyone who contributed, especially Dave for organising venues, programme and the booking system, and to all those who coordinated singing or music workshops/sessions, or those who just came along to be part of it.  The music and company were excellent, with plenty of beautiful tunes, lively tunes, interesting tunes, as well as songs, and the hilarious ‘Silly Songs’ session on Sunday night set the tone for a fun and relaxed final evening of song and music.  
Carole  Helman

I very much enjoyed Saturday at Bundanoon. Thanks for your organisation.
Ron McLaughlin

Ron was at Shayne Kerr’s workshop on the musical saw and I mentioned a saw player I’d invited to a Bush Music Festival in Marrickville in the early 1980s. Would you believe he was Ron’s grandfather’s cousin, known in the family as Uncle Walter!

Ron sent this info from a 1995 booklet of The Mclaughlin Family compiled for a family reunion gathering:
Walter McLaughlin, 10th child of John and Isabel McLaughlin born 1909 worked on the land most of his life. He later located to Sydney where he worked for CSIRO. Walter is a talented musician on the piano. Of late he has become renowned as a busker at Circular Quay where he plays the gum leaf and musical saw.
In 1972 Walter was World Champion Draughts player. When he was 83 he married Theresa Williams. They currently live in Sydney where Walter still does busking.


Settlers Session in Canberra

A New Music Folio organised by Moir Holmes with versions suitable for laptops and for printing.

Bush Traditions

Check here to see who is behind the events you enjoy.

The 2024 Australian Heritage Dance calendar, which is generated by Brian Samuels is here.

Online version of John Merediths collection of portraits and the text of his book.

nfsaReal Folk Videos
Some classic bush music now on YouTube

concAnglo Concertina Tutor
A set of bush tunes arranged with fingering and all for Anglo Concertina players.

This website is maintained and developed by David Johnson.
Suggestions and contributions for inclusion welcome.