There’s a magic about Woodford Folk Festival that keeps luring people back year after year, a magic that stays with you long after you depart Woodfordia with sore feet and sleepy eyes.
I saw that magic once again in my too-brief daytrip to the festival.
If you’ve never been, my simple advice is this – go.
Yes, it’s crowded. Yes, it’s hot. Yes, it’s either dusty or muddy (for my visit this year the sprinklings of rain did little to curtail the dust).
And yes, you’ll achieve your pedometer goal for the day in the first hour.
But the experience is more than worth it.
This year’s festival offers up the usual delights of music, comedy, circus, workshops, talks, dancing, street performers, chai tents, street food, and more.
There’s only so much you can fit into a day, so plan wisely if there are things you really want to see or do, or just wander from venue to venue and find the little surprises waiting around every corner.
We didn’t factor in the long line-up of cars to get into the parking lot, then the wait to get on a bus into the festival site, so we eventually arrived into the festival around lunchtime.
Highlights for me were the Sunny Coast Rude Boys who had a packed-out crowd at their high-energy show at Blues Town, and Sunshine Coast duo The Dreggs at the Pineapple Lounge.
This was my first introduction to The Dreggs and I’ll be keeping an eye out for them next time they’re in the Brisbane region.
And, of course, the friendly smiles and conversations with strangers.
Woodfordia is a community in every sense of the word, and a place where everyone is welcome.
Let’s begin with the meaning of ‘folk’… People in general.
And the meaning of ‘festival’… A period of festive activities, cultural events or entertainment.
Put it all together at the fabulous Woodford venue and you have the ‘Woodford Folk Festival’, a period of festive activities, cultural events and entertainment for everybody to enjoy.
Add a myriad of options to satisfy the taste buds and top up the energy levels, a host of intriguing market stalls to explore, ample places to sit and enjoy the atmosphere and you have the perfect event…
With more than 2000 local, national and international artists, musicians and presenters showcasing over 438 performances throughout the six days of the festival there is certainly something for everyone… Circus, cabaret, comedy, dance, rock/pop, blues/roots, traditional folk, roving street entertainment, children’s festival, poetry, storytelling, interactive workshops, talks and more…
With so many options it is well worth planning your day for your ‘must-see events’ before you go.
There is an excellent Woodford Folk Festival app which includes the timetable of all events and has the capacity to add your ‘must-see events’ to a personalised programme within the app.
The other option is simply to take it as it comes and explore, discover and enjoy.
On top of exploring the market stalls, discovering the Labyrinth and the Library of Leaves, enjoying the roving street entertainment and taking time to sit to enjoy the rich and diverse atmosphere while enjoying a selection of tantalising food and refreshment options, I also managed to attend some excellent performances.
Here is a quick snapshot…
Kasey Chambers – country singer/songwriter
Archie Roach – personal reflections through music and song
Arrr We There Yet? – pirate-themed comedy circus performance
Burundi Drummers – powerful African drumming performance
Those Tap Guys – a tour de force of show time tap dancing
Gypsy Rumble – Celtic and bush dance music
Cabaret – Anya Anastasia, Dr Hubble’s Bubbles, David Splatt
As day turns into night, street lanterns come alight, fairy lights twinkle everywhere and the atmosphere becomes enchanting. Magical street performers emerge, the entertainment continues and the people continue to enjoy!
I left with a sense of contentment of a thoroughly enjoyable experience but also with a little sadness that the day was over… I will be back next year, most likely with a multi-day ticket…
This is certainly an annual date claimer and an experience not to be missed!!!
Woodford Folk Festival… Putting the ‘awe’ back into ‘awesome’…
It was my first time going to this event. It has been around for quite a few years, or so we were told by some of the festival-goers.
Which was apparent as we drove from Brisbane, it was very well sign marked and very easy to get into the right place for ticket collection and day parking.
Everyone person working the festival that we talked to was very friendly and full of information.
We arrived at around 9:30am, which wasn’t too full of festival-goers, it took us around 10 minutes to get our parking space sorted and the wrist bands for entrance.
It was quite clearly marked where to catch the shuttle from parking to the festival and the buses came around often enough that we didn’t end up waiting for long.
Once we got off the shuttle we began wandering around and checking out the various shops and food stalls and got our bearings for the rest of the day. It wasn’t very busy until closer to noon.
We decided to stop in and watch an educational demonstration on how to extract your own essential oils from the various flora that grows around Australia.
It was a very good treat to see the process of extracting the essential oil from Lemon Myrtle leaves.
Something that we’ll probably try at some point, and which reminded me of some simple chemistry experiments I did when I was in high school, some decades in the past.
We then wandered around to enjoy a sound immersion session in the labyrinth which was very meditative and relaxing.
We didn’t mind that it was raining on us a little, it actually felt refreshing.
And then we ran into some friends of ours that we didn’t expect to see but were glad we did. The good part about this festival being so close to Brisbane is you might run into some people you know, and that was a great thing. So we wandered around with them for a while.
The food was absolutely amazing, the toughest choice for lunch was making a decision, since deciding on one place to eat meant you missed out on all the other options. So we ended up sharing a few different meals between us all which was very delightful.
When it began pouring out we ducked into a Cabaret performance, and it was quite well done, great vocals and very entertaining.
Then we saw a bit of a Cirque performance with some very talented and gymnastic performers. It was quite entertaining.
As for the shops, we found some exceptional custom clothing and leatherworking shops by some very talented individuals.
Pendragon Shoes really stuck out with their custom footwear, and it was quite an awesome surprise to see such craftsmanship.
The exhibits really opened our eyes to the high levels of talent and creativity that this part of the world offers.
All in all very happy we spent the day there, next year we plan on spending at least a couple days to really soak it in, and meet more interesting and amazing people.
I highly recommend this festival to anyone, including families as there were ample activities for children to partake in.
Arrived at the festival site via the Somerset Kilcoy route, such a scenic route to the Woodford Folk Festival.
The site was so busy with ticketing, camping passes and car parking.
However, the immediate and obvious difference was how happy and friendly everyone was.
The process of finding and setting up our overnight camping site was easy.
Fellow campers waved at us and directed us to the best available tent sites.
Excellent camping set up and staffed by excellent volunteers.
A shuttle bus took us along green country lanes and we had finally arrived for our first visit to the WFF.
Such a massive array of crafts, food, bars, performances on offer at this huge site.
A festival programme is an absolute must.
The festival crowd was a phenomenal mix of ages, groups, fashions, costumes, hats, etc., etc. but warmth and happiness simply exuded from every single person we met.
Too many options for our one day visit so we simply wandered around stopping at various performances, demonstrations and stalls.
Participated in a Japanese dance class, listened to the Celtic folk sessions, enjoyed the circus act, enjoyed the 1990’s aerobics class at Jungle bus, meandered through the blue zone and sampled the wonderful food and drinks options along the way.
So many colourful and dramatic art installations to be enjoyed throughout the site.
I am not a camping fan as such but nonetheless I had such a great sleep in my simple pop up tent.
A wonderful festival, a reminder to us all to appreciate the gifts of simplicity, community and active participation.
If you’re a Love Actually movie fan then you’re going to love love love the production of Christmas Actually and think you’ve died and gone to heaven.
Christmas Actually was written by Adam Brunes & Naomi Price.
Naomi Price is such a fabulous personality and genius in her fast-paced performance.
It’s fun, it’s bright, it’s bold, a whole heap of razzle-dazzle, with a good dollop of Christmas Cheer thrown in.
All the audience got involved and sang their little lungs out and by the end were on their feet dancing.
Naomi is backed up by Australian renowned and talented Tom Oliver, Stefanie Caccamo and Alex Rathgeber who all have their turn to shine in the spotlight adding another layer of Christmas goodness to the mix.
A surprise performance by the English Prime Minister proved a highlight.
The whole performance is kept on pace by the fabulous band consisting of Mik Easterman, Scott French, Michael Manikus and OJ Newcomb and what Christmas show would not be complete without a Lobster?
So what’s not to love!
Dust of your Christmas Spirit and run don’t walk to get you in the mood for all that goes with the Silly Season – Christmas Actually.
Just in time for the holidays, The Little Red Company have returned to La Boite with their holly, jolly, musical journey into one of the most iconic Christmas films of all time.
Now, full disclosure: I have only seen the film a handful of times in my life.
But while I am not one of the die-hard Love, Actually fans that this production hopes to attract, the film undeniably brings out the festive spirit in its disciples like nothing else.
Starring ‘Queensland’s first lady of song’ Naomi Price, and featuring performances from some of Australia’s most impressive voices (Stefanie Caccamo, Tom Oliver and Alex Rathgeber), Christmas Actually celebrates the songs and gags of this beloved Christmas classic.
With a stellar soundtrack that impeccably charts the soaring highs and subterranean lows of love, it makes perfect sense that a show should utilise such a repertoire for a dazzlingly festive theatrical celebration.
For this reason, Christmas Actually works, whether you stan the film or not.
The evening closed with a hilarious round-robin-style Carols in the Domain medley, where the cast flexed their impersonation skills performing carols as Australia’s music stars (David Campbell, Lucy Durack, Emma Wiggle and more).
After 90 minutes of Love, Actually worship, this refreshing encore stole the show for this reviewer.
While I was captivated by the cast’s brilliant renditions of fantastic songs, Christmas Actually more than anything, left me with a burning desire to revisit the iconic movie.
It’s not that the show wasn’t enjoyable.
On the contrary, I would recommend it to any Love, Actually lover.
But it held the film in such high regard that I felt the need to see what I have been missing out on.
Having not seen the 2003 rom-com ‘Love Actually’ that this show is based on, I didn’t know what to expect.
The show itself was also a bit of a mystery, as the poster didn’t give much away.
Going in, I thought it would be more of a traditional musical, but as soon as Naomi Price opened up the first song with her powerful voice, followed up with a few choice F-bombs, I knew pretty quickly this would be a different kind of show.
While I probably missed some of the inside jokes from the movie (something about a lobster costume…), the show was fast-paced and delivered a great range of songs.
There were costume changes, each of the backup singers got to lead their own number, and there was great interaction with the crowd plus a number of toe-tapping songs to join in on.
Naomi Price is an amazing entertainer, and her passion for the film has made me committed to seeing ‘Love Actually’ before Christmas, so there is just one more thing to do – work out which additional streaming service I need to subscribe to in order to see it!
Apparently Christmas Actually first appeared in 2018, although it seemed to have passed me by the last time it was performed, but as they say, better late than never.
A show based on the music of Richard Curtis’ ever-popular film Love Actually, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
Was this a play, a discussion or a screening of the film itself?
What I witnessed was a celebration of the wonderful songs that appear in the film, which featured so many classics, Christmas songs and “a filler”, as Naomi Price said.
Performed by Naomi in front and her incredible support singers (the especially strong performance by Tom Oliver being an absolute standout) and with music performed by an extremely talented band, this was part cover show, part cabaret, part comedy and a delightful celebration of an amazing film soundtrack.
Naomi was extremely comfortable with the stage and audience, wandering through to chat at times and it cannot be denied her vocals are lovely.
Her in-between song banter flowed naturally (although her jokes about the royal family’s current scandals seemed a little dated), her chats were contagious to the audience, and, although I’m not sure it was completely welcomed, some even joined the stage during the last song.
Fans of the film will not be disappointed in the performance and appreciation of one of the greatest Christmas themed films of our times.
While my shocking secret is that I have not actually seen Love Actually, I certainly enjoyed the incredible music and entertaining performances of this show.
And as it’s that time of year again, perhaps it’s time I witnessed the magic of the film, because as they say, better late than never.