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Acclaimed Australian roots rocker John Butler, returning to the Folkie after an 11-year absence, enthralled audiences with a sizzling solo performance yesterday THOUSANDS of music fans who flocked to Port Fairy Folk Festival this year have earned the praise of police for a largely incident-free long weekend.
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Forty officers were on the beat around the seething seaside town yesterday, keeping the peace despite the local mobile phone network breaking down.

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Big-name acts including musicians John Butler, Jimi Hocking, Clare Bowditch, Tripod and Judy Collins enticed huge crowds to the main festival arena while hundreds more visitors strolled the Sackville Street stalls and sideshows.

Sergeant Mick Wolfe, of Port Fairy police, said conduct at this year’s festival had been excellent with only three arrests for public intoxication in the first two days of the event.

He said organisers and police had worked together to ensure the festival environment was safe with street entertainment largely consigned to daylight hours.

“This year’s festival has been great overall from a police point of view,” Sergeant Wolfe said.

“We’ve maintained a strong presence during the three days, we’ve had some members of the mounted branch in the town and things have been pretty orderly on the streets.”

Thousands of day-trippers travelled from nearby south-west towns just to take part in the fringe festival entertainment, as well as the waves of festival goers between major performances.

The many campers who have flocked to Port Fairy this weekend were out and about as early as 8.30am to enjoy the stalls, street performers, buskers and Folkie artists fleshing out the fringe festival atmosphere.

Melbourne teenager Lachlan Browning trekked to the south-west on Friday with a group of close friends.

The 16-year-old said he had attended the festival for more than a decade.

“The music changes every year, but there’s still a great atmosphere everywhere,” he said. “It’s a fun weekend to spend with your mates because it’s just a really nice vibe and everyone is friendly.”

Street performer Mr Quirk delighted audiences early in the day with his crowd-interactive show.

“I’ve been coming back to the festival for six years,” he told The Standard.

“I keep coming back because the crowds are great.”

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