Future looking bright for the
WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL
The gates to the 32nd annual Woodford Folk Festival opened on Thursday 27th November, with John Butler’s captivating solo set enthralling the large amphitheatre audience.
Other highlights from more than 200 performances on the first of the six-day festival include the debut of the Jinibara Dance Troupe, a key-note address from Indigenous leader Noel Pearson and an all-star performance at a newly expanded Grande stage from Mama Kin Spender who were joined by ARIA award-winners All Our Exes Live in Texas and lauded Canadian trio The East Pointers.
After a wet winter, the dedicated festival site, known as Woodfordia, is looking lush and green.
This year organisers unveiled two state-of-the-art bamboo shade structures to mitigate the summer heat: the Hammock Hut, which forms the focal point for a dedicated relaxation space on Chill Hill, and a large canopy running the length of the main promenade between the Tropic stage and the Amphitheatre.
There was much applause at the Welcome Ceremony to the festival with the mention of $2 million dollars in funding for upgrades to festival site infrastructure by Queensland State Treasurer Jackie Trad.
The news of the infrastructure grant, announced during the recent state election, drew cheers from the crowd, which was estimated to be between 8,000 and 10,000.
The grant is a welcome boon to festival organisers, who have been at the current site, just outside of Woodford town centre, since 1994.
The 2 million dollars in State Government funding will be matched by a further 2 million dollar cash injection from the Moreton Bay Regional Council and the Woodford Folk Festival’s parent organisation, Woodfordia Inc, who will each contribute 1 million dollars.
General Manger Amanda Jackes said the total allocation of 4 million dollars would go towards upgrading vital services to the 500-acre site and would significantly improve the level of patron comfort and enjoyment.
“After receiving a record attendance at the 2016/17 festival, we needed to reduce the numbers onsite and put a cap on festival tickets moving forward as the infrastructure was not up to the needs of the patron levels,” she said.
“This funding will help us address that and allow for growth in the future when it is completed in 2019.”
“After the gates close at the end of the festival this year we’re going to be starting work straight away so that our patrons are going to have a much greater level of comfort from next year onwards.”
“We’re so excited about it.”
During his speech at the Welcoming Ceremony Festival Director Bill Hauritz also gratefully acknowledged the 3,080 volunteers who help build the festival site – which once established becomes Australia’s 67th largest town – and run the event over six days.
“The volunteers are the heart and passion of this festival,” he said.
“We thank them for their dedication, and love them for their enthusiasm and care in all that they do.”
That sentiment was echoed by Uncle Noel Blair, the spokesperson for the Jinibara People, the traditional owner group of the land the festival sits on.
He concluded his heart-felt welcome and acknowledgement of country and elders past and present by saying this festival is not about I, me and mine; it is about us, we and ours.
Along with a great sense of community and anticipation for the shared experience to come, the forecast for the 2017/18 festival is also in organisers’ favour, with conditions on the Opening Day topping out at 28 degrees.
Ticket sales remain positive for festival organisers, who made several changes to the way the popular event is delivered this year, including moving all ticket sales online and introducing a vehicle pass.
The six day festival will finish with the iconic Fire Event on the night of Monday, 1st January 2018, also expected to be a fine and clear day.
2017/18 Woodford Folk Festival
Day + night tickets to the event,
including New Year Eve tickets,
are still available online here.
Day and Night with camping $189 (NYE $221)
Day and Night $154 (NYE $186).
The full 2017/18
Woodford Folk Festival programme
can be viewed here.
All tickets to this year’s festival must be purchased online,
and require a vehicle pass.