THE FINAL WOODFORD REPORT
Woodford Folk Festival’s Spectacular Six Days
The 29th Woodford Folk Festival has been described by Festival Director Bill Hauritz as “certainly the most visually beautiful festival we’ve produced and we are extremely happy with the depth and quality of our programme. The response from our audience was probably our best yet.” An aggregate audience of 126,122 patrons (over 3% increase from last year) streamed through the gates over the six days to experience all that Woodford had to offer. As a result ‘Woodfordia’ became the 67th largest town in Australia for the duration of the festival.
Patrons entering the festival this year were welcomed by a spectacular sculpture created by renowned Taiwanese artist Wang Wen Chih and a mixed Taiwanese/Australian crew including partners and collaborators, Sydney arts collective, Cave Urban.
The bamboo and pine used to create the sculpture were harvested locally and from the Woodfordia festival site itself, continuing Woodford’s ambition to increase the number of sustainable artworks created on site. The landmark sculpture is a sister to the 2013/14 Festival’s ‘Woven Sky’- a 132 metre long, 18 metre high tunnel to Woodford’s 25,000 seat Amphitheatre.
Festival patrons tasted delicious food from 51 food stalls, quenched their thirsts with refreshments from 13 bars and watched 1,239 shows by 441 acts at 28 venues in a variety of genres from folk, pop, blues, circus, children’s vaudeville, street theatre, comedy, Indigenous, poetry, everything in between – and more!
2,364 = number of star pickets.
11.34 km = hessian used.
4,634 = hand-tied knots to create the fences throughout the property.
We used 800 kegs = over three times the height of the great pyramid of Giza.
35,000 = sheets of A4 paper (only 4.2 trees planted would cover our use).
842 km = the distance drawn by ball point pens – enough to draw a line from Woodford to Alice Springs.
4 = Number of puppet weddings during the Tying the Knot performances.
2 = The number of impromptu weddings during the festival we were informed of.
1 = The number of marriage proposals witnessed – although history tells us Woodford has lit the flame of many long romances.
Flagging tape = enough used to stretch from Woodford to Caboolture – 22.9 km!
2,520 m = gaffa tape used.
8,400 km = loo paper purchased.
22.7 tons = water carried and delivered by hand.
5.4 million litres of water used on site – including 1.1 million litres on New Year’s Eve.
40,000 = questions asked and answered at Infology.
500 = interpretive dances were performed to give directions to EFTPOS (next door!)
Over 500 items of lost property reunited with their owners – one patron successfully found his lost marbles!
Some of these figures are down from last year which is great news for Festival organisers as it corresponds with an ongoing commitment to improving the environmental sustainability of the event.
Festival organisers also celebrated the first year of all food and drink packaging served on site in biodegradable materials. Food and drink stallholders are especially commended for their full commitment to the transition.
The Amphitheatre opened in spectacular form on the first evening of the Festival with keen patrons securing their spots for the stunning Opening Ceremony – reintroducing Woodford’s 5 metre tall puppet, Tilda. Crowds stayed for electric performances by Bertie Blackman and the highly anticipated Violent Femmes.
The second night of the Festival had the Amphi filled again with Australian festival favourites Sticky Fingers and The Cat Empire. A shout out to the 2,700 volunteers on site by The Cat Empire during their set warmed the crowd’s hearts as the dancing continued non-stop throughout the evening.
Enthusiastic crowds on New Year’s Eve revelled on the streets of Woodfordia, donning festive masks in a joyous, flamboyant atmosphere. The traditional 3 minutes of silence at 11.30pm was revered across the Festival site, followed by an exuberant celebration culminating in the coming together of patrons to witness the first sunrise of the year on top of Woodfordia’s Ceremony Hill.
Woodford’s flagship finale, the Fire Event, held on January 1, wowed audiences beyond expectation with the thrilling conclusion of puppet Tilda’s journey in her quest to find freedom. Featuring the Festival’s People’s Orchestra and the Festival Choir (made up of patrons and festival artists and rehearsed during the six days of the festival) audiences were delighted by the theatrical pyrotechnics as they bid farewell to the 29th Woodford Folk Festival.
Following hugely popular performances Kate Miller Heidke signed off from the Festival via her twitter account thanking Woodford for a “transformably wonderful week.”
In welcome news for festival-goers who can’t wait a whole year for the next Woodford, dates have been announced for The Planting. The weekend camping festival of environmental talks and forums, concerts, comedy, visual arts programme and workshops, walks and a children’s festival combined with a tree-planting program has led to the planting of around 110,000 trees so far and this year will be held on June 5-7. Tickets for The Planting go on sale in March 2015 at www.theplanting.com.au
Tickets for the 2015/16 Woodford Folk Festival go on sale mid-April from www.woodfordfolkfestival.com – get in quickfor early bird rates.