There are festivals and then there is Woodford. The Woodford Folk Festival is far more than a festival, it is a state of mind. It starts when you lurch into the dirt car park packed with everything from mud-crusted Kombis to polished Beemers and spot fellow festival goers – ordinary folk who’ve left their weekday personas back in the city and are dressed in colourful uncharacteristic garb – children in Rastafarian hats, men in tie-dye pants, grandmas in gumboots. By the time you’ve passed through the gates and made your way up the lantern fringed butterfly habitat you’re someplace else. Welcome to Woodford.
In fact everyone should spend a day at this hinterland arts and music festival at least once before they die. Yes it is guaranteed to be either searing hot or sopping wet but that’s part of the experience, part of the acute sense of being alive that this festival generates.
When was the last time you danced spontaneously to blues’n’roots while knee deep in mud amidst a crowd ranging from 0 to 80? Tucked into fabulous multicultural food in a lantern lit tent whilst stilt-walkers and fire-eaters pass by? Made things with clay and watched a Punch & Judy style show with the kids? Lay on woven rugs and cushions sipping Chai and watching a flamenco guitarist? Been the recipient of a thousand smiles? Laughed yourself silly at breakfast comedy? Wore a silly hat and learned to juggle? Reclined on a grassy hill under the stars and listened to the sound of a jazz band fill the night sky? Watched puppets and burlesque circus, listened to inspirational speakers and ex-Prime Ministers? Chatted easily to a host of strangers from all walks of life? Watched the sun rise over distant mountains and valleys on New Year’s Day? Totally forgot who you were and what time it was?
When after all that it’s time to leave, the sign at the Exit – a street sign pointing to Reality – sums it up. After a day, or better still, a week, immersing yourself in the music, food, ambience, massages, talks, art, characters and performances on this magical wooded property in the Sunshine Coast hinterland the world feels, like, well, a jolt of unwelcome reality.