The curent members of the Huon Folk Inc Committee and Managment are:
Anne Foale - President
Anne Foale has supported the Cygnet folk festival for many years. As audience member firstly, then a volunteer, as supporter during her ten years as Principal at St James College and committee member since 2015 and now as President for the past 4 years. Anne grew up in Cygnet and now lives in Hobart. She is a very regular visitor to Cygnet and has strong connections in the Huon Valley and particularly Cygnet, with much of her family still living there and she feels very much a local. Anne can be credited with inviting the festival to use many of the facilities of St James College and she actively encouraged the growing partnership between the Festival and the College. Now retired after a long career as an educator, Anne enjoys seeing the school in which she works being closely integrated with community events and traditions. Anne is married to Rob and has a son and a daughter, a son-in-law and two gorgeous granddaughters. Anne makes no claims of musical talent but enjoys using her executive skills to support the continuation of this grassroots, sustainable and family friendly festival known and loved for over 40 years.
Michael Russell - Vice President
Michael and his wife moved from the Blue Mountains to the valley in December 2016. They have bought a small acreage on which they are growing vegetables alongside a couple of horses and three sheep.
They are loving the Huon Valley and can’t understand why they didn’t make the move years ago!
Michael comes with a background in managing community events. He believes passionately in community events and the important role they play. He has joined the Cygnet Folk Festival committee because he wants to use his experience and contribute to his new community and because he loves music!
Robert Alcock - Treasurer
Rob has been a long time supporter of the festival since he moved to Hobart in the late 1990’s from Launceston. Tasmanian born and bred, Rob predominantly enjoys indie / folk music, and was significantly influenced by the folk rock band, Weddings Parties Anything in the 1990’s.
Rob has played acoustic guitar since his teenage years and although he has played in bands over the years he now spends much of his spare time writing and recording songs (very amateurishly he points out). He says that he is continuously inspired by the quality of the performers at the CFF not just nationally and internationally but also the local Tasmanian talent.
Rob works in the Health industry and has been in a senior financial role for the last 25 years and brings to the committee commercial, business and project management skills. Above all however, he simply wants to contribute in any way he can to the ongoing success of "this fantastic music festival".
Chris Ellis - Committee member and Database Manager
Chris Ellis is a Tasmanian-born and raised descendent of a good number of Van Diemen’s Land convicts and Cornish gold miners. He worked as a biochemical scientist at the Royal Hobart Hospital in the 70s before his itchy feet led him to Melbourne and Victoria, where he raised his family and taught in primary and secondary schools for nearly three decades.
For more than twenty years, Chris has been immersed in the Victorian folk music scene, as a punter and as a performer. He has performed as a soloist and in various band line-ups playing traditional Celtic tunes, blues, bluegrass, country, and the odd popular standard in pubs, bars and festivals throughout Victoria and Tasmania. Chris had a long association with the Port Fairy Folk Festival as a volunteer, performer, and stage manager.
Recently tired from teaching, the call of the old home place was too hard to resist, and so Chris has returned to live in Cygnet permanently. He is presently working with the Integrity Commission of Tasmania. When he eventually retires, he aspires to finish writing the family history and to sit on the veranda playing the banjo or whittling.
Michael Bentley - Committee member and Public Officer
Michael moved from Adelaide to Hobart in 2011. Tasmania, for him, offered the best scale for living and working well. He has a chocolate border collie named Fionnuala and is often out walking with her in the city and on nearby reserves. Michael is a keen trail runner and participates in many events on kunanyi.
As a long-time lover of folk music in its broadest sense, Michael seeks out good music whenever he can.
Michael’s work is in public health and health services research, where he has developed skills in project management. His research interests are in social complexity of and ecological approaches to health, equity and the environment. Michael may not have the answers, but he asks the right questions.
Raymon Mainsbridge - Committee member and Public Officer
Ray began his professional career as a teacher of English and History in high schools in regional New South Wales. He later switched to the law and worked for thirty two years in a large national law firm, mostly in Sydney but also in Perth, specialising in commercial litigation. In more recent years, as leader of his firm's pro bono and corporate responsibility programme, he has advised many not for profit and community organisations on a range of issues, from incorporation and governance to employee disputes.
Ray has no musical ability of any kind (although he does have a son who is a professional singer and actor based in New York). Notwithstanding this, he loves listening to music of most kinds and going to live performances. He has been a regular and enthusiastic attendee of the Folk Festival over the past five years, ever since he and his wife Anne bought a property just out of Cygnet and started the slow process of moving there from Sydney.
Michael Thomsen - Committee member
Michael is a qualified medical herbalist working primarily in research and cancer support. He has written a number of scientific publications and contributed to several books and journals in this field.
Michael has for many years also built websites especially for musicians and artists and creates the visuals integral to the performances of Australian folk group Silkweed’s multi-media shows.
Michael is a long-term and regular supporter of folk and community music events. Michael lives in Hobart.
Alice Toner - Committee Member
Alice grew up surrounded by music and festivals across Australia and ‘felt at home’ within a Creative environment, so it felt natural to follow that career path. She went from being a muddy but enchanted by ‘Folk Life’ child at Woodford, to performing on stages as a folk musician herself and working within the Entertainment Industry.
Within the Huon Valley Alice ran the Open Mic at the Bottom in Cygnet and currently coordinates the Franklin Folk Club, Geeveston Feast, Franklin Market, is a radio host on Huon FM with her shows “Something Folky” and “The Drive Home” and manages various events at The Palais Theatre in Franklin. Earlier in life, Alice worked for Brisbane City Council as a Librarian and studied Law, Psychology and Sociology at UTAS. Alice is currently enrolled at the Hedburg (UTAS Conservatorium of Music).
The Cygnet Folk Festival is where Alice can weave her love of the Huon Valley Community and Folk Music together, at her favourite festival in her home, the Huon Valley. Alice lives in Ranelagh with four parrots and two dogs. Alice also grew up as a horse trainer and instructor and currently works at Huon Family Vet.
Bridget Binnie - Festival Coordinator
Bridget lives in Franklin and has worked in the arts for 15 years as a professional performing artist, arts administrator, festival and event producer, artistic director and publicist.
She is an established independent performing artist working mainly in the areas of contemporary dance, physical theatre and circus.
Bridget has worked in arts administration and management for; SPACE at the Salamanca Arts Centre, Second Echo Ensemble, The MOVES Festival, Festival of Voices, Taste of Tasmania, Adelaide Fringe Festival, Marshmelody Festival, Jackeys Marsh Forest Festival and the International Tasmania Circus Festival.
She regularly works freelance at festivals across Tasmania in the areas of stage and venue management, artist liaison, operations, logistics, event coordinator and site crew.
Bridget is passionate about making community events and has a strong love of music.
Erin Collins - Artistic Director
Erin is a musician and writer whose work has been showcased at performances and festivals as diverse as the National, Cygnet, Tamar Valley, Maldon and Majors Creek Folk Festivals, Ten Days on the Island, Junction Arts Festival, Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, the Wooden Boat Festival and From France to Freycinet, in addition to Regional arts and other touring. She has been involved with the Cygnet Folk Festival, predominantly as a performer since the mid 1990s.
Over the past two decades Erin has qualified in courses, masterclasses and seminars in event management and festivals and combines her experience of performance with management of festivals and events.
Erin has worked as perfromer, producer, company manager and musical director for shows during Ten Days on the Island, presented for festivals as Band Manager for Australian Folk group Silkweed, presented for “Mostly Folk” on Hobart FM community radio and is the Tasmanian producer of the Woodford Folk Festival initiative, Festival of Small Halls in partnership with the Cygnet Folk Festival.
Erin has steered the artistic vision as Artistic Director for the Cygnet Folk Festival since 2011. Erin lives in Hobart.