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Hi, all, I have not been here for quite a while. Here's hoping that things are well with you.

I have a buddy who moved to Australia: Bairnsdale, north of Melbourne, in Victoria. He has been playing diatonic and chromatic harmonica for quite some time and was delighted when I pointed him towards Anglo concertina; now he wants one, and has asked if I could help him to find a reputable dealer or shop in the general area where he could explore the instrument before making the huge commitment.

Any suggestions that I can pass on to him?

Thanks,

Rob

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Hi Rob, as a background, Australia is like the population of Idaho spread over the entire US. Even though your friend is only a few hours from the second largest city there are no shops selling new concertinas there, or anywhere else in Aus as far as I am aware. If he was to attend a larger folk festival he might find a few people with concertinas and if asked nicely they might let him try their instrument. The National Folk Festival would be a good one to try, it is at Easter and only about 7 or 8 hours away.

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I agree with Chris - a festival or a session in Melbourne might turn up a concertina player. There'd be a few at the National. The only concertinas I've ever seen in music shops are the bright garish ones we used to disparage as "Chinese Lanterns". I'm not sure if they are still around.

 

Bairnsdale is a small city well to the East of Melbourne - beautiful area but pretty isolated. If your friend has reason to motor up the coast road into southern New South Wales, he's very welcome to drop in here at Malua Bay and try out a concertina. But it's a bit over 5 hours away!

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If he was to attend a larger folk festival he might find a few people with concertinas and if asked nicely they might let him try their instrument. The National Folk Festival would be a good one to try, it is at Easter and only about 7 or 8 hours away.

 

He wouldn't have to attend as large a festival as the National, or go as far or wait as long. There's a beaut little festival at Cobargo on the far South Coast of NSW and it's happening from 21 -23 February, next month!

 

Concertinas will be prominent. There's to be a forum on concertina, "The Concertina Convergence", moderated by myself and also featuring Richard Evans who plays the duet and is a maker of anglo concertinas! Also featured are Kate Burke and Mike Martin, two excellent local anglo players and as well on anglo we've got Alistair Brown from the UK.

 

The intention of the "Convergence" is to showcase the different types of concers and playing styles. So a little technical discussion but mostly performance. Afterwards (or before) there will be plenty of networking, sessions, etc. I expect there will be a few concertinas coming out of closets.

 

Of course Alistair will feature in other concert spots during the festival, as will I myself.

 

So, see you there. It's only about four and a half hours from Bairnsdale, a Sunday drive compared to other parts of Oz.

 

I'll post more info on this festival in the news forum a little closer to the event.

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