I visited Woodford Folk Festival for the first time this summer even though I had heard all about it, I never really though about going. I just though it was a festival for a bunch of hippies. This is kind of true. There were a lot of hippies there but what I was surprised to find was, there were a lot of families there. There were also a lot of people around the age of 50 and 60 too. This is a festival for all ages with many different activities and performances.
It is held over the Christmas / New Year period for 6 days from 26 December to 1 January. Woodford Folk Festival is an annual music and cultural festival held near the town of Woodford, 72km north of Brisbane. It is one of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia.
It features a wide range of performance styles, musical genres and nationalities, with artists playing at over 35 different venues within the festival grounds. Along with musical acts, the festival offers a wide spectrum of entertainment such as Street Performing, Public Speaking, Stand-Up Comedy and a Children’s Festival. The streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, stalls, bars, street theater and parades. The festival supplies both Seasonal and Overnight camping ground to patrons, with most attendees staying for the entire week of festivities. Unlike many festivals which are held in or near urban centres, the Woodford Folk Festival takes place on a 250 hectare rural property known as Woodfordia.
What you need to know for a first timer:
If you are a first timer to the Woodford Folk Festival you wont be disappointed. After arriving at the parking grounds you follow the signs until you drive up to the ticketing area. You then receive your wrist band that permits entry and you will be guided as to where to park your car. Once you have parked, you need to walk to the nearest bus stop within the car park. There are plenty around so you don’t have to walk far.
The buses run regularly so you don’t have to wait too long. The bus then takes you over to Woodfordia. After getting off the bus, you walk through the guided lane which is tree lined, shady and picturesque. You will see tents set up on either side of the main path. You are able to camp for the 6 days too.
After exiting the lane way you come out into an open space that weaves its way around the property. There are market stalls everywhere, and plenty of food and drink options. The alcohol is a cashless system so you need to put cash on your wrist band at the Top Up Points around the grounds. There is an awesome program in place to cut down on environmental waste where you buy a cup and get refills for a discounted price. Note: Drinks are quite expensive.
Then all you need to do is work out what acts you want to see and what activities you want to participate in.
The toilet situation:
If you are worried about the toilets don’t be. They were everywhere, they were clean and fully stocked with toilet paper! This was a big tick for me after being at other festival where you wait in line for ages, they are dirty and there is no toilet paper!
What to see and do:
There is a downloadable program guide on the website where you can find all the acts and activities. This year there were so many fantastic Australian and International acts it was hard to decide who to see.
I decided that I really wanted to see Little May and Gang of Youth. Two amazing Australian bands that I haven’t seen before and they were so good.
We arrived in the afternoon and had a wander around before having dinner and a few drinks. We checked out the Sacred Union Labrynth which was pretty cool. A 10 x 10 meter meditative walk that patrons can experience any time during the festival. A magical pathway leads through a bamboo construction heart entranceway and via a series of pennants that give instructions about how to walk the labyrinth.
I also wanted to do the Lantern Making but missed out because I was watching Fanny Lumsden and the Thrillseekers. They are an alternative country/folk band that I had never heard of but got pulled in to watch them after walking passed and loving what they were singing.
Just walking around the property is entertainment in itself with lanterns everywhere, a gorgeous lake with beautiful lit up flower installations, people dressed up in elaborate costumes. There is really so much to see!
I discovered Little May about a year ago when I first heard the song Hide. They are an Indie-Folk trio from Sydney with a stack of awesome songs. Seeing them live was better than listening to their recorded music. I was stoked when they announced they were singing their Triple J Like a Version which was Great Southern Land by Icehouse, one of my all time favourite Australian songs. And they did such a good job of it!
Other songs of theirs include Boardwalks, Home, Oh My My and my new favourite after seeing them performed live: Dust and Midnight Hour.
If you get a chance to see Little May live, do it. They are such a great band and deserve more recognition.
Gang of Youths
Gang of Youths are an Indie Rock band from Sydney. I first came across Gang of youths when I heard their singles Magnolia and not long after that Strange Diseases. They are such an awesome band to see live and the lead singer David Le’aupepe has so much energy and really gets the crowd pumping. He also has a very unique dance style which I loved.
A lot of the songs written by David are about his relationship with his former wife, her melanoma diagnosis and treatment for cancer, their separation and his suicide attempts. This is another fantastic Aussie band that you should check out if you get the chance!
Why you should go to Woodford Folk Festival
The atmosphere here is really cool. There is a great chilled out vibe, its peaceful and there is such a broad range of people that go. You don’t have to be worried that you will be the oldest one there because you wont be. Everyone is just there to have the best time possible and that’s exactly what I did. I had so much fun and am already planning on going again next year. Next year I think I will camp there as it looked really cool!
Big thanks to Tourism and Events Queensland for organising this for me.
And big thanks to Woodford Folk Festival for organising this amazing event every year!
You can check out my Spotify playlist from the Festival here: Woodford Folk Festival 2016/17