Good vibes at Woodford Folk Festival

by Monday, January 14, 2019

Guest Traveller Sandra Groves, a yoga teacher, spent the last five days of 2018 and the first day of the New Year at The Woodford Folk Festival.  An annual music and cultural event, it is held near the semi-rural town of Woodford, 72 kilometres north of Brisbane, in Queensland. One of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia, the festival attracts 125,000+ people each year…

If you’re looking for a festival full of feel good vibes, creativity, connection and environmental awareness then look no further than the annual Woodford Folk Festival.  This festival has been on my ‘wish list’ for years but this year it happened including 6-days camping in Tent City for a full immersion experience.

The Festival is centered around the village of Woodfordia on the Sunshine Coast hinterland, Queensland. Tens of thousands of people of all ages and diverse backgrounds gather to enjoy music, dance, circus, street theatre, visual arts workshops, yoga, social activism forums, street eats and more!After 33 years the hippy heart of this festival still beats strongly.

There was an impressive opening ceremony on the first night with a ‘welcome to country’ ceremony along with a parade of lanterns, giant puppets and the Seahorse mascot. Xavier Rudd headlined the evening performance with his ‘spirit’ inspired music.

Opening ceremony.

My tent-share buddy chose to make the most of her season pass and filled-up her days with music gigs and creative workshops while I opted to select a few gigs each day/night with a lot of chill-out time in the chai tent/bookshop/village green. Along with the many music gigs during the week I managed some early morning yoga and tai chi classes. With late nights and long days, I needed plenty of time out to relax and renew.

Yoga on the Village Green.

There are many music genres to choose from with a focus on folk, rock and blues: some of my favs included Xavier Rudd, Dan Sultan, Cat Empire, The Tesky Brothers, Hussy Hicks and Jen Cloher to name a few. Every day/night there are several top acts to choose from and an incredible array of artists to enjoy from music to circus performance and everything in between. I really enjoyed the smaller music venues including the Pineapple Lounge and Halcyon for some laid back vibes. The Grande, Ampi-theatre & Luna venues host the bigger acts where you can sit or dance in the mosh pit to the wee small hours.

Xavier Rudd on opening night.

There’s a great selection of yummy and healthy food and different bars throughout the village ‘streets’ which are lined with clothing/craft stalls, massage and festival make-up places, and workshop spaces such as “how to make your own didgeridoo”. There are great food options particularly for veggie and gluten free people like me.

Getting some eco-friendly glitter on with your party outfit in the evening is a must or go for the full festival face and hair look with a Frieda Kalho makeover. Indulge in some whimsy and get your fairy wings on or some feathers in your hair or any other accessory to get you in the party mood.

Woodfordia Hilltop at sunrise, 1 January, 2019.

After much music and dancing I started my New Year with a walk up the Woodfordia Hilltop to watch the sunrise and as the partygoers arrived from their all night revels the Tibetan Monks & Nuns chanted in the new day and year. Perfect! Happy 2019!!

View from Woodfordia Hilltop at sunrise.

Sandra’s Top Tips for attending the festival:

  • Pre-order your festival program when you buy your tickets on-line and spend some time working out what you want to see, ahead of time.
  • If you’re camping near to the festival grounds, then earplugs are a must.
  • Take a phone charger – keeping your phone charged is a major challenge.
  • Pace yourself if you’re going for the full week – many of the music and other entertainment acts repeat over the week so you have a few chances to see your favourites. You can also get day passes and overnight camping options.
  • The festival requires an enormous number of volunteers to operate. If you’re on a budget but still want to go to Woodford, consider volunteering – you work five hours a day, or evening, and then you’re free to party.
  • It gets very hot during the day – stay hydrated and have lots of sun protection.