Keith Preston, President (SA)
Keith is Arts Manager at the Australian Migrant Resource Centre in Adelaide since 2007 and is involved in managing and coordinating a range of arts projects with artists from new arrival communities which includes traditional music & dance, school exhibitions and presentation of several key cultural festivals. Each year he produces a major concert at the Adelaide Festival Centre. He is involved with a range of performance projects through HATs Inc, including the acclaimed Adelaide Songs project. He currently plays with fusion band Moonta Street who blend European and Chinese music, Sufi Highway a South Asian and Middle East music show and works regularly as a performer of traditional puppetry. He has just written a musical comedy which will be produced in 2021. He previously worked for many years as coordinator of the SA State Folk Festival (Victor Harbour), the SA Medieval Festival and established the SA Folk Centre. Keith has experience in arts organisations, festival management, overseas touring, band management and youth development.
John McAuslan, Treasurer (Vic)
John McAuslan is now 5 years retired as director of the Brunswick Music Festival and Across The Borders Pty Ltd. (ATB), an event / artist management and international touring agency. Across The Borders was in the business of event management and international touring for over 18 years. ATB were the event managers of the Brunswick Music Festival, the Sydney Road Street Party and the Mechanics Institute PAC from 1997-2013. John started in the folk music movement as a performer and from the early 80s as an organiser; he was director of the 1986 National Folk Festival; an Australia Council-funded music coordinator in Brunswick and label manager of Brunswick Recordings for Brunswick Council (1990-93), a groundbreaking label featuring Victorian multicultural and Anglo/Celtic recordings, which produced 18 titles on vinyl, cassette and CD. He served as Treasurer on the original board of Folk Alliance Australia (FAA), served on the Victorian Folk Life Association and was a member of the Victorian Government festivals grant panel. In 2008 he was awarded the Graeme Squance Award for services to folk music in Victoria; he served as the chairperson of Folk Alliance Australia 2011-2013, and now returns as Treasurer of the FAA.
Cherie Harvey, Secretary (SA Regional)
Cherie Harvey is founder and manager of HATs Inc (Heritage Arts & Traditions), a multi-award winning arts organisation based in the Clare Valley wine region in South Australia. HATs Inc is based in the historic Auburn Courthouse and is upheld as a model for presenting arts and music in regional areas. HATs specialises in presenting touring acts, developing new projects and engaging with a regional audience. Cherie has a long association with folk music and dance and was Chairperson of the Folk Federation of SA from 2000 to 2004.
Erin Collins (Tas)
Erin is a musician and writer whose work has been showcased at performances and festivals as diverse as the National, Cygnet, Tamar Valley, Maldon and Majors Creek Folk Festivals, Ten Days on the Island, Junction Arts Festival, Queenstown Heritage and Arts Festival, the Wooden Boat Festival and From France to Freycinet, in addition to Regional arts and other touring. She has been involved with the Cygnet Folk Festival, predominantly as a performer since the mid 1990s. Over the past two decades Erin has qualified in courses, masterclasses and seminars in event management and festivals and combines her experience of performance with management of festivals and events. Erin has worked as performer, producer, company manager and musical director for shows during Ten Days on the Island, presented for festivals as Band Manager for Australian Folk group Silkweed, presented for “Mostly Folk” on Hobart FM community radio and is the Tasmanian producer of the Woodford Folk Festival initiative, Festival of Small Halls in partnership with the Cygnet Folk Festival. Erin has steered the artistic vision as Artistic Director for the Cygnet Folk Festival since 2011. She lives in Hobart.
Therese Virtue (Vic)
Therese has spent many years engaged with folk music in various contexts. As a teacher in Victoria’s secondary schools, she found herself swapping songs and dances with Greek and Macedonian students in Melbourne’s West. She has sung in various folk groups with repertoires of English, Irish, American and Australian songs, and in the Italian folkloric ensemble Il Gruppo Folcloristico Italiano. Therese was a founding member of Petrunka, Melbourne Women’s Bulgarian Choir, and now spends considerable time wrestling with the intricacies of ancient Georgian polyphony, in Melbourne Georgian Choir. After many years, Therese swapped teaching for work as an organiser for Melbourne’s multicultural music presenter The Boite, where she is recognised as an advocate for artists and performers from the hugely diverse range of cultures and music genres housed in Melbourne.
Erin Heycox (Vic)
Erin Heycox is a performer and music educator based in Footscray, Melbourne. Erin has performed with her violin and voice across an eclectic range of musical projects including with Shantily Clad (sea shanties), Eyal and the Skeleton Crew (klezmer informed jazz), Dolly Diamond’s ‘Parton Me’ (bluegrass), Orchestra Nouveau (classical art music) and creating live improvised theatrical soundscapes for Soothplayers and Four Letter Word Theatre. Erin is currently launching an album with her chamber folk duo Broken Creek which they will tour across Australia in 2022 with performances and workshops. Erin founded the music program at Preston High School. She has directed choirs (Souffle Sisters and Newlands Choir) and presented workshops for Newport Folk Festival, The G.R.A.I.N Store, AMUSE and ASME. Erin is excited to work with Folk Alliance Australia to create opportunities for musicians and the folk community.
Louise De’Ath (WA)
Looweeze is a WAMI award winner who first fell in love with the Folk Alliance performing as an official showcase artist in the US. She moved to Nashville where she was recording, writing and performing until the pandemic. Currently in her home state of Western Australia (where she grew up in the wheat belt listening to bush bands), Loo is experienced in the community and arts sectors and has expertise in touring, production, grant writing and partnerships, conference and festival organisation.
Sam De Santi (NSW Regional/QLD)
Sam is a multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer currently residing in Brisbane with strong musical interests in Australian, Celtic, Italian, and Bluegrass music. Born into a musical family, Sam played Australian traditional music from a young age with his parents in Wongawilli (Bush) Band (2003-2015) and Zumpa (Italian folk). He has been involved with programming and production with a number of festivals including the Illawarra Folk Festival, Perisher Peak Festival, and Folk in the Foothills. He has also been involved in the production of folk tune books – Good Tunes Volume 1 and Tunes for A New Millennium (Judy Turner). In 2015, he relocated to London to pursue university completing his Sound Engineering degree in 2019, and works at the Irish Cultural Centre in Hammersmith as a sound engineer, video editor, and archivist, albeit remotely these days. While in the UK he achieved recognition for his guitar playing, placing second in the Senior All Ireland Competition Accompaniment (2019). Sam is a current member of Zumpa, The Munster Bucks, Antiri, Jane Brownlee and Samuel De Santi Duo, and The Salty Sirens.
JO CRESSWELL (ACT)
Jo has worked in Community Music Development all her life. As an arts administrator she has managed numerous festivals, events, conferences, workshops and residential retreats. As Assistant then Artistic Director she helped establish the National Folk Festival in Canberra and developed its Master Class program. She was on the steering committee that established Folk Alliance Australia. She’s committed to creating musical projects that are human scale, sustainable and encourage education and connection. With her partner Dave O’Neill she took on the Artistic Direction of the 2023 National Folk Festival. Together they direct an annual Celtic Music Camp. In her business she currently runs residential walking & singing/music events in Kosciuszko National Park, NSW and France. Her Canberra business, the Celtic Arts Agency, has fostered a music program in schools for 20 years and she is herself a music teacher. Jo has a passion for the diversity found under the folk umbrella which has led her to explore as a dancer: Contra, Bush, English, International folk dance, Irish, Scottish, Step dancing and Belly dance. As a musician she has played from the Irish, Scottish, Scandinavian, Old Time and French diasporas and performs on concertina and piano.