Woodford Folk Festival

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Woodford “The best we can be”

 Published in TN152 November 2022

 

Picking up the threads of its three-year vision of Imagining a Beautiful Future, Woodford Folk Festival will again be offering one of the largest gathering of artists and performers of its kind in Australia and providing what Deputy Festival Director, Amanda Jackes, hopes will be “a deeply immersive experience that supports the very best of who we can be”.

After nearly three long years of waiting and wondering, the festival programme was launched on Saturday evening, October 22, and the 300 organisers, volunteers and friends of the festival gathered to celebrate could not have been happier to be declaring the event up and running again.

“The sheer joy of returning the festival after this challenging time, of reconnecting with our community and celebrating with inspiring artists and presenters can be felt through the whole of the organising team.

“We are so excited about being back,” said Jackes.

 

The programme is huge.

The festival features 1,900 artists programmed in 400 acts across 27 venues, presenting 1,834 shows over six days and nights, from December 27 to January1 inclusive.

Woodfordia, the 500-acre parklands home of the event, located an hour and half north of Brisbane and 40 minutes west of Caloundra, will be playing host to an estimated aggregate festival audience of 115,000 people.

 

Festival Programme Manager, Courtney Wild, invited festivalgoers “to dive into a feast of music new and old, a flurry of dance, the rolling madness of comedy and the curious and often absurd world of the festival cabaret.

“People will find bizarre and brilliant interactive games, films, a vast array of opportunities for exploration and deepening understanding of new music and multi-genre cultural experiences and, we hope, will be constantly distracted by strange and colourful goings-on on the festival village streets.”

Woodford is well known for its honouring of the spoken word, for its in-depth and sometimes provocative speakers’ forums, and for the diverse and immensely popular range of music and artisan workshops.

Festival Director, Bill Hauritz, said “while Woodford Folk Festival is steeped in ceremony and celebrates our nation’s folk heritage and the artists that have shaped the cultural landscape, the event has always aimed to be a place of discovery and a champion of the new and the unusual.

“Our world changes every year, and our festival needs to change every year if we are to be current.

“For all of us, this event brings three years of change in one.

“We mustn’t try to be what we were.

“Rather, have our artists and scholars gift us relevance in the here and the now”.

Much loved Australian actor Magda Szubanski in cahoots with Fiona Scott Norman will be hosting a morning show each day of the festival with interviews and often comic commentaries of the news of the day.

Folksy session lovers will find their new venue, The Craic, down beside the cooling waters of the beautiful onsite natural swimming oasis Lake Gkula, close to the Festival General Store.

Visual artist Craig Walsh and musical director Linsey Pollack will be launching their new theatrical collaboration at the festival, which according to Bill Hauritz, is stunning.

Mycorrhizia, a journey into the deep-rooted wonder of the Wood Wide Web, will be on at The Pond in the evenings.

The Woodfordia hills have also rung with the sounds and voices of many Australian performance legends over the years.

Programmers announced that John Butler, Boy & Bear, Liz Stringer, Eric Bogle, Greg Sheehan, The Black Sorrows, Lior & Domini, Urthboy, Neil Murray, William Barton, Tenzin Choegyal, Dya Singh and Fred Smith are returning.

“25 years ago it was a dream come true to play Woodford.

“Today, nothing’s changed other than I love it more!

“Woodford is one of the best music festivals in this solar system,” says John Butler.

The Children’s Festival has been a treasured part of the festival experience and a place of play, learning and adventure for many young Woodfordians over the past 35 years.

The Circus Lair, Stardust Theatre and the Puppet Joint are back, along with Adventure Playground at the Far-Out.

Principal Organiser Becky Wandell says “we pour so much love into our programming for this precious part of the festival.

“We are very happy to be welcoming Emma Donovan to the Children’s Festival.

“She will be joined by Jinibara Traditional Custodian and natural storyteller Uncle Noel Blair, Mic Conway, dirtgirl and so many of our beloved Children’s Festival performers and presenters again this year. 

“The Circus programme will bring a splendid whirlwind of artists presenting the astounding and the silly and, as night comes upon the festival streets, the circus will morph into the curious and the often outrageous as the cabaret denizens of the evening strut, swirl, charm and mortify the night owls of the event” said Circus Programmer, Chelsea McGovern.

 

Comedy is always around the corner at Woodford with a host of comics and provocateurs hitting and slouching upon the stages and festival programmers urge patrons to follow the laughter at the Late Night Ever Grins at the new Evergreen venue.

Woodfordia General Manager and Deputy Director of the Woodford Folk Festival gave a hearty thanks to the hardworking Woodfordia site team for the enormous amount of work that they are completing, bringing Woodfordia back to its full glory and preparing for all seasons.

“Woodfordia is looking beautiful, and we are now prepared for all weather outcomes.

“We have done a lot of work on site drainage over the years, so we know that we can cope well with rain, and Lake Gkula, our beautiful natural swimming lake, lets us offer respite from the heat too.

“We are in a very good position to deal with all sorts of changes in the weather,” said Jackes.

Woodford regulars will notice a few changes to the festival site this year, the most notable being the addition of a new amphitheatre at the Grande venue.

“The Grande is one of the event’s largest venues and the new Amphigrande means that we are even better able to cater for the big gigs there” Jackes announced.

“Thanks to the great support of the Queensland Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council, we have another more accessible big venue,” said Jackes.

Buy tickets to this year’s Woodford Folk Festival here: https://woodfordfolkfestival.com/tickets/

 

 

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