Suzannah Espie has just been announced as Mullumbimby Music Festival’s next patron. As Harry James Angus and Mama Kin did before her, Suzannah promises to give something special to the festival by immersing herself in the kaleidoscope community of Mullumbimby.
‘I love the fact that the festival is so intrinsically tied up with community and everyone seems to be behind it. It’s not always the way with a festival; when I am there I have felt so much love from the place. After playing the festival a few times I felt so close to Mullumbimby and to the people there. It’s just the perfect-sized festival for me.’
Festival director Glenn Wright has carefully picked his patrons as he believes they need to be more than wonderful performers and musicians.
‘They need to get involved with the community, help younger artists and bring creative ideas to the programming. There needs to be a level of respect from their peers. Suzannah has played Mullum many times and the audience at her gigs is always filled with other musicians. Suzannah is never average; she is always there in the moment and true to her craft. She is not a selfish performer; she is a communicator and the music always comes first. She was an easy choice for us and we are privileged to have her as part of our festival family.’
Suzannah will take up her role as patron in October when she returns from performing in Nashville as part of the Sounds Australia contingent of Australian artists at AmericanaFest 2016.
‘I am arriving a week before the festival to meet with industry professionals and friends I’ve made over the years who reside in Nashville. I’ve been there before, many years ago, for the first time with my old band Git in 2002 and then again when I went to Memphis to represent Melbourne in the International Blues Challenge in 2008. Being surrounded by so much incredible music day after day was such a creative shot in the arm, but it was also an enormous boost to my confidence to have my performances and songs received so warmly in the place where the music I play was born. I just can’t wait to get back there to be immersed and inspired.’
So perhaps it will be a little bit of Nashville that Espie brings back in October when she steps into her mentorship role.
‘I am going to do some mentoring of young musicians from the area and I am putting together a vocal group with local women and muso friends who will join me onstage. I will be performing at the opening night, doing something special there and generally being ubiquitous… and of course doing a whole lot of singing with Hamish Stuart, who is putting on a late-night funk thing. I am up for doing as much collaboration as one person possibly can!’
Mullum Music Festival 2016, November 17–20.
For tickets and programming information about Mullum Music Festival go to mullummusicfestival.com.