Music and art at Junction 142

Monique Clare: Bringing her talents to the folk picnic at Junction 142.
Monique Clare: Bringing her talents to the folk picnic at Junction 142.

On Thursday, October 17, Junction 142 will be the canvas for a boutique multi-arts folk music event in Katoomba.

Award-winning Brisbane cellist and songwriter, Monique Clare, will be joined on the stage by acclaimed touring American fiddle player, Joe D'Esposito.

As the musicians weave intricate strings and vocal harmonies, Brisbane artist and Clare's sister, Ingrid Bartkowiak, will put paint to canvas using the themes and mood of the music as inspiration.

The artwork will be projected live as it is created within the beautiful acoustics and architecture of Katoomba's historic Uniting Church building. The stomping folk-noir of local trio Witches Leap will open the night.

In a unique twist, the event is billed as a Folk Picnic: Audience members are being encouraged to lay their own tablecloth on tables provided, bring their own cheese platters and refreshments, adding a cosy touch of DIY to the folk experience.

Katoomba audiences will best know Monique Clare for the virtuosic cello playing and vocals that underpin the uplifting harmonies of well-loved Australian folk trio, The Maes.

This is the first time she has toured her own work in the Mountains since winning the 2017 National Youth Folk Award. A skilled and versatile multi-genre cellist, Clare has worked for bluegrass legend, Darol Anger, Scottish fiddler, Hanneke Cassel, our own Eurovision queen, Kate Miller-Heidke, and rapper, Eminem.

Joe D'Esposito is a highly regarded fiddle player and skilled improviser whose work with The Railsplitters has seen him play Telluride Bluegrass Festival, Woodford Folk Festival and Celtic Connections Festival in Glasgow.

Together, Clare and D'Esposito combine their classical training and obsession with fiddling traditions to deliver intricate arrangements of original songs and tunes.

Brisbane artist Ingrid Bartkowiak will be joining her sister Monique for the East Coast leg of their tour, painting during each show on themes from the music and the places they travel to

While her work is painted and projected live as an interactive backdrop to the music, Bartkowiak is encouraging audience members to get creative and bring their own sketchbooks, paper and other media for a shared experience of live reaction art.

Monique Clare, Joe D'Esposito and Ingrid Bartkowiak and Witches Leap play the Folk Picnic at Junction 142 on Katoomba St on Thursday, October 17. Doors open at 6:30 for a 7pm start. Tickets with table bookings and pre-sales are available at A portion of the sales will go to support the work of local homeless service, Earth Recovery Australia.