‘It’s a very magical place to play’: Melbourne’s Liz Stringer to bring her powerful live performance to Port Fairy Folk Festival

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‘It’s a very magical place to play’: Melbourne’s Liz Stringer to bring her powerful live performance to Port Fairy Folk Festival

Photo by Kristoffer Paulsen
Words By Tammy Walters

One of Australia’s most admired and versatile songwriters and instrumentalists is making a return to Port Fairy Folk Festival.

40 years after their Sydney inception racking up 20 million album sales worldwide, Australian music groundbreakers and political shakers Midnight Oil embarked on their last globe stage trek, RESIST. THE FINAL TOUR 2022. Following multiple reunions across their colourful career, this one promised to not pull a John Farnham or Elton John, closing the door after 18 months of touring. Along for the ride was Melbourne songwriter and one-third of Dyson Stringer Cloher, Liz Stringer. 

Wrapping on a Monday, 3 October 2022, Stringer returned to Australia as a changed performer and songwriter.  

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“The great thing about the Oils experience is that I really felt like I was supported by my music community through the connections and friendships I made. The fact that they showed so much belief in me and what I do has helped my growth as an artist, which is huge,” Stringer explains.

“I learned so much from all four of them in different ways but what was really striking to me about being so close to them for so many shows was how committed they were every single show. There was never one where they didn’t give 100% and that dedication and belief was quite inspiring and made me feel more comfortable to lean into the more intense presentation of my work. They are such an incredible musical group/band and they compose songs as opposed to writing them and that’s been massive for me as a songwriter and the mechanics of how they build them has struck a chord with me.”


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A post shared by Liz Stringer (@lizstringeraus)

Some of those intense moments came from Stringer’s 2021 album First Time Really Feeling, an album that is deeply personal to the songwriter. The album received the Best Independent Blues and Roots Album or EP at the 2022 AIR Awards, with ‘Dangerous’ shortlisted for best song of the year at the APRA Awards. Stringer was further nominated for the Music Victoria awards for Best Solo Artist off the back of the album.

First Time Really Feeling is so personal and was a new phase of writing for me and took leaps and faiths for me to do personally. It was a positive metamorphosis for me but it was also really painful. I am really proud that I got through it and did it, and I think people responded differently to the album which is great but I think most importantly I have a stronger connection with myself.”

Within that album and touring cycle, Stringer was billed for the 2022 Port Fairy Folk Festival alongside the likes of Emma Donovan and the Putbacks, and Kee’ahn but a bout of Covid led to the performer’s cancellation. In the ultimate redo, Stringer will be stepping up for 2023 joining The Waifs, Kim Churchill, Josh Pyke and a plethora of both international and local talent across 10 – 13 March.

“I was due to play last year and unfortunately the coronavirus got me days out. I’m glad to be returning this year, I’ve played many times across my career,” Stringer explains.

“Obviously it’s one of Australia’s biggest festivals and as a songwriter, it’s a very magical place to play. I love that part of the world. I was living in Europe and decided I wanted to play the festival, came back to Australia and played it the next year. It’s a great atmosphere.”

Also stopping into the Port Fairy Folk Festival stage is William Crighton. Crighton and Stringer will have just started their co-headline 10-show tour across Australia. The duo were reunited during Crighton’s support stints across Europe with Midnight Oil.

“Deciding to tour together was very organic. I don’t even know if there was a proper conversation about it. We have a very similar ethos about community and politics. There were a lot of kindred values there and we just knew that it would happen eventually.”

She continues, “One of the things he and I have in common is we both are strong solo artists so the tour will be a lot of fun to explore playing shows with both our bands and some solo sets.”


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A post shared by Liz Stringer (@lizstringeraus)

Following these shows, Stringer will be stepping away from the stage and walking back into the studio for solo album number seven.

“I won’t be doing a lot of live touring after April. Last year was awesome but there are stresses there that didn’t exist before the pandemic so it will be nice to have a break and get back in the studio,” Stringer comments.

“I think I’ve covered and closed the book on those personal experiences in First Time Really Feeling and I am in a good place so this album will be different but not far removed from my previous material.”

Catch Stringer on the Port Fairy Folk Festival stage in March before she goes into studio hermit mode. Tickets are at www.portfairyfolkfestival.com