FolkFedNSW Young Folk Artist Awards – Now Open

by | May 7, 2024 | Articles, Industry News

One of the most valuable activities undertaken by FolkFedNSW in recent years has been its annual Young Folk Artists of the Year Awards which are offered in two categories, under 19 years and 19 – under 25 years of age. These awards have been running since 2019 and, even under difficult circumstances during the COVID years were able to continue. The aim of the Awards is to foster an interest in folk music and to assist young people in developing their performance skills however, FolkFedNSW also sees them as an important link in the chain, supporting the exciting youth programs and activities being offered by some of our NSW Folk Festivals such as Illawarra, Cobargo and, most recently, Bundanoon.

Each award includes $500 cash, along with a number of mentoring and performance opportunities over the year of the award. Andy Busuttil of Blue Mountains Sound is offering a 3-track demo for each of the Young Artist Awards. This includes recording, mixing and mastering.

When the first Awards were offered they went to aspiring young singer-songwriters and, while this is an important part of the folk continuum especially in the context of an evolving and current genre, it has been recently pleasing to see young instrumentalists in the mix performing both music in a traditional context as well as self-penned tunes. Pictured below (LHS) 2022 under 19yrs Young Awardee Emma Foot (fiddle) accompanied by well known folk troubadour Rosie McDonald performing at the 2023 Sydney Folk Festival and (RHS) young concertina players Millicent and Tristan White receiving the 2023 under 19yrs Award.

Some of our young awardees are already making their mark on the folk scene. Young Rory Phillips the 2023 under 25yrs awardee, in addition to performing his own material is also performing gigs with iconic folk band The Bushwackers. Felicity Dowd the 2020 under 25yrs awardee, was recently named Folk Alliance Australia’s 2023 Young Folk Artist of the Year and gave some outstanding performances earlier this year at the 2024 National Folk Festival.


Pictured above LHS Rory Phillips far right performing with the Bushwackers at SydFolkFest23 and RHS Felicity Dowd (guitar / vocals) at SydFolkFest23.

The 2024 Awards are NOW OPEN and FolkFedNSW is again looking forward to welcoming and working with a new group of aspiring young musicians. The Young Folk Artists Program is coordinated by Craig Sinclair who keeps in touch with the Awardees as the year goes on to organise mentoring and performance opportunities. Craig is especially keen to build the base of young folk artists who are engaged with this, whether or not they receive the award, with a longer-term view to identify ways of connecting young artists and facilitating collaboration.

You can see more information about the Young Folk Artist Awards HERE, including the current Terms and Conditions and the 2024 Application Form.

Cover photo: FolkFedNSW’s Young Folk Awardees 2022 and 2023 at SydFolkFest23 are with their tutors and YFA Program Coordinator Craig Sinclair.


  1. Craig Sinclair

    Looking forward to seeing the applications coming in! Love being part of this program

  2. Christine Wheeler

    So good to see the reach and success of this program continue to grow. Thanks to all who contribute to its success and to the Folk Federation NSW for making it happen. Go young artists!


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