FUN TRADITION: Richard and Ailee O'Shea are gearing up for the 40th annual Maclagan Squeezebox Festival.
FUN TRADITION: Richard and Ailee O'Shea are gearing up for the 40th annual Maclagan Squeezebox Festival. Megan Masters

Crack out your dancing shoes for folk festival fun

RICHARD O'Shea reckons few musical instruments pack a punch like an accordion or squeezebox.

And being something of an expert on the topic as the owner of O'Shea's Music in Dalby, he would certainly know.

Mr O'Shea was gearing up for the annual Maclagan Squeezebox Festival and said part of the attraction for players and enthusiasts was the full sound produced with the lightest of squeezes.

"There is no instrument that has a fuller sound, with bass and treble together,” Mr O'Shea said.

This year is the 40th instalment of the festival and Mr O'Shea put its enduring popularity down to a variety of factors, including the fact that a person with an accordion could be heard in the largest of rooms without an amplifier.

Another endearing factor is the friendly people, many of whom camp out at Quinalow Caravan Park the night before to enjoy some impromptu music and festivities.

"The hall is overflowing and people come from all over Australia and camp at Quinalow and whip out their instruments and have a practice run,” Mr O'Shea said.

"People enjoy talking to like-minded people and playing some of the older, more traditional music, but they're also adapting to become more modern.

"It's an instrument used in a lot of different genres.”

He said folk festivals were growing in popularity across the nation as more mainstream, popular bands added folk and bluegrass sounds to their catalogues.

This year's festival will be held tomorrow at Maclagan Memorial Hall and anyone who loves a good, old-time tune and a spot of dancing is encouraged to come along and enjoy the fun.

The action for this year's event will kick off at 9am and finish up with an old time dance starting at 7pm.

Mystique will provide the toe-tapping tunes and there will be a licensed bar as well as food and drinks available.

Throughout the day there will be opportunities to walk up and play as well as concerts and stalls such as Mr O'Shea's, where people can see the latest developments on a very traditional instrument.

The official opening will be held at 11am.

Part of the fun was catching other unusual and traditional instruments in action and organisers were always on the lookout for people keen to perform something a little out of the ordinary.

To find out more about the Maclagan Squeezebox Festival find it on Facebook or visit www.maclagansqueezeboxfestival.org.


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