Halls in Murtoa, Pomonal and Goroke will become impromptu concert venues next week, as the Festival of Small Halls Autumn Tour 2019 rolls into the Wimmera.
It will be something of a homecoming for one of the artists performing, John Flanagan, whose mother Marie and uncle Gid had a farm in Rupanyup.
"My mum might try to get my uncle and aunty along - they're now in Horsham," he said. "I think maybe the things that most connect about the songs I write are the everyday things that affect everyone. I've got a song about my dad that's quite personal.
"But I guess the difference with performing in places like Murtoa is that people who don't have as much music through the town appreciate it and don't take it for granted."
Flanagan, who combines 1970s folk influences with Americana and Bluegrass, has drawn comparisons to Paul Kelly for his skill as a lyricist.
Funnily enough, Flanagan has written a song, "Last of the Cassette Men", about Kelly.
"I got to pick him up and drive him from his house in St.Kilda into Melbourne, and it was an opportunity to tell a personal story about him while also talking about what a great songwriter he is," Flanagan said.
The international act for this year's tour is The Once, an award-winning Canadian folk quartet whose songs have been placed in international films and television programs.
Singer Geraldine Hollett said the tour was exactly what the group member wanted to do at this stage in their careers.
"When we started out in Canada, we got to shows in small towns around bigger cities, so when the opportunity came to do that in Australia, we had to try it," she said.
"I guess the biggest difference is the size of the places are smaller, so it's way more intimate and the stories almost become more prominent than the songs themselves.
"You can get to know the audience and they're not going to say, 'Just sing already!'."
The two acts will travel to a total of 25 venues across regional South Australia, New South Wales and Victoria for a series of dates between the Port Fairy Folk Festival and the National Folk Festival in Canberra.
Murtoa Mechanics Hall president Carolyn West said she was expecting a big crowd.
"We’ve tried to get the festival before, and this year we’ve been successful," she said.
"Our town can expect a beautiful night of original music, as well as a chance to catch up with friends during a supper break. It’s an all ages event and all are welcome."
A spokeswoman from Woodfordia Inc, the company producing the Festival of Small halls, said people could head to their website to invite the festival to their town.
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