Woodford Folk Festival

Coordinates: 26°54′54.15″S 152°45′19.54″E / 26.9150417°S 152.7554278°E / -26.9150417; 152.7554278
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Woodford Folk Festival
Dates27 December – 1 January
Location(s)Woodford, Queensland, Australia
Years active1994–2019, 2022–
Founded byQueensland Folk Federation, Bill Hauritz, Amanda Jackes
Organised byWoodfordia (previously Queensland Folk Federation), Amanda Jackes

The Woodford Folk Festival is an annual music and cultural festival held near the semi-rural town of Woodford,[1] 72 km (45 mi) north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. It is one of the biggest annual cultural events of its type in Australia.[1] Every year approximately 125,000 patrons attend the festival. Approximately 2000 performers and 438 events are programmed featuring local, national and international guests.


The festival takes place over six days and nights from 27 December to 1 January each year.[1] It features a wide range of performance styles, musical genres and nationalities, with artists playing at over 25 different venues within the festival grounds.[1] Along with musical acts, the festival offers a wide spectrum of entertainment such as circus, cabaret, comedy, street performance, workshops, debate, a Children's Festival and more. The streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, stalls, bars, street theatre and parades. The festival supplies both Season and Overnight camping ground to patrons, with most attendees staying for the entire week of festivities.[citation needed]

The 3 Minutes Silence is a recurring Woodford tradition, part of the New Year's Eve celebrations where festival goers within the grounds gather for 3 minutes of candle-lit silence to welcome the new year. A Sunrise Ceremony then takes place on the Woodfordia hilltop on New Year's Day. The whole community greets the Sun as they listen to Tibetan chants and guest musicians on the grassy hill. The final evening of the festival culminates in a spectacular New Year's Day closing ceremony, The Fire Event.[2]


The famous Woodfordia sign built upon the hilltop

Unlike many festivals which are held in or near urban centres, the Woodford Folk Festival takes place on a 500-acre rural property known as Woodfordia, situated approximately 7 km (4.3 mi) north of the Sunshine Coast town of Woodford. The land is owned by Woodfordia Inc (previously Queensland Folk Federation), who are the producers of the festival.[3][4]

The 2011 flooding throughout Queensland also affected Woodfordia, leaving the Queensland Folk Federation (QFF) with millions of dollars of repair bills. To save the organisation, the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) purchased the land from the QFF and then leased it back to them for 50 years. The MBRC owns the land, however the QFF still owns all infrastructure and improvements made to the land.


The Fire Event, every year a symbolic structure is ceremoniously set alight.

The Woodford Folk Festival developed from the Maleny Folk Festival which began in Maleny in 1987.[1] In 1994, the festival was moved 20 km (12 mi) away to Woodford when it outgrew the Maleny Showgrounds site.[1][5]

The final evening of the Woodford festival culminates in a spectacular New Year's Day closing ceremony, The Fire Event.[2] Over 20,000 festival goers seated on the grassed Amphitheater hillside witness a spectacle of dance, music, theatricality and fire - with the burning of a large structure heralding the New Year.[2] The Fire Event was developed by Neil Cameron at the former Maleny festival and continued at Woodford, Paul Lawler worked with Cameron and took over as creative director of the event from 2003 - 2011, followed by Joey Ruigrok Van De Werven from 2012 - 2014, and Alex Podger since 2014.[2] The January 2000 Fire Event was featured in the global live TV broadcast heralding the new millennium.[citation needed]

In 2005–2006 a record aggregate attendance of over 130,000 visitors attended the festival, injecting $21 million into the Queensland economy.[6]

In 2008, the festival won the FasterLouder Festival Award for the most Green Friendly festival.[7]

In 2009 as part of the Q150 celebrations, the Woodford Folk Festival was announced as one of the Q150 Icons of Queensland for its role as an "event and festival".[8]

In 2014, the festival attracted more than 126,000 patrons and generated 22 million dollars in direct visitor spending.[citation needed]

The Festival celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2015, transforming from a homegrown event to one of the largest cultural celebrations in the southern hemisphere and welcoming more than 2 million people since 1994.[citation needed]

In 2016–17, the festival attracted over 135,000 patrons, which was its largest year to date.[citation needed]

The COVID-19 pandemic caused the 2020 festival to go on hiatus.[9] After a two year hiatus, the 2022 Woodford Folk Festival programme was announced on 22 October 2022 featuring a score of Australian and international artists returning to the Woodfordia parklands. [10]

Awards and nominations[edit]

National Live Music Awards[edit]

The National Live Music Awards (NLMAs) are a broad recognition of Australia's diverse live industry, celebrating the success of the Australian live scene. The awards commenced in 2016.

Year Nominee / work Award Result
National Live Music Awards of 2019[11][12] Woodford Folk Festival Best Live Music Festival or Event Nominated
National Live Music Awards of 2020[13] Woodford Folk Festival Best Live Music Festival or Event Won

Past Performers[edit]

















In 2011, organisers of the festival were criticised for inviting known conspiracy theorist Meryl Dorey,[17] president of anti-vaccination pressure group the Australian Vaccination Network to speak at the festival.[18][19] The Australian Medical Association (AMA) described the group's views as "dangerous", and said organisers "had a responsibility to add speakers who could provide the medically approved side of the argument" so the audience were aware of "the risk of the information being presented [by Ms Dorey]". In response, festival director Bill Hauritz defended Dorey's appearance, saying "We've had a number of speakers, environmentalists and such, who have been discredited by some people in the past, this is no different."[20] Queensland Health Minister Geoff Wilson advised attendees "not to take [Meryl's] nonsense too seriously".[21]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Wright, John (6 November 2009). "Folk behind Woodford Folk Festival have a feel for the crowd". The Courier-Mail. News Corporation. Archived from the original on 10 November 2009. Retrieved 8 November 2009.
  2. ^ a b c d Price, Sally (9 December 2007). "Chariots of fire". The Sunshine Coast Daily. APN News & Media. Retrieved 11 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Our Land". Woodford Folk Festival. Retrieved 11 February 2021.
  4. ^ Sunshine Coast News (28 March 2023). "'Visionary' festival founder praised as new era starts". Sunshine Coast News. Retrieved 8 July 2023.
  5. ^ Sinnamon, Myles (18 December 2015). "Woodford Folk Festival". State Library Of Queensland. Retrieved 25 September 2023.
  6. ^ Woodford Folk Festival Visitor Survey Report 2005/06
  7. ^ "FasterLouder Festival Awards: 2008". Archived from the original on 3 January 2009. Retrieved 21 July 2010.
  8. ^ Bligh, Anna (10 June 2009). "PREMIER UNVEILS QUEENSLAND'S 150 ICONS". Queensland Government. Archived from the original on 24 May 2017. Retrieved 24 May 2017.
  9. ^ "Woodford Folk Festival cancelled for 2020". 14 August 2020. Archived from the original on 27 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  10. ^ "Woodford Folk Festival 2022/2023 Programme". Archived from the original on 27 October 2022. Retrieved 27 October 2022.
  11. ^ "HERE ARE YOUR 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS NOMINEES!". NLMA. 22 October 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  12. ^ "AND THE WINNERS OF THE 2019 NATIONAL LIVE MUSIC AWARDS ARE…". NLMA. 5 December 2020. Retrieved 5 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Nominees announced for 2020 National Live Music Awards". NLMAs. 7 September 2020. Retrieved 8 September 2020.
  14. ^ a b c Woodford Folk Festival Archived 29 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Australian Music Festivals. Retrieved on 13 January 2012.
  15. ^ Woodford Folk Festival 2008/2009 Archived 29 April 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Live Guide. Retrieved on 13 January 2012.
  16. ^ Egging, Kiel (21 October 2012), "Woodford Folk Festival 2012/2013 Full Lineup", Music Feeds, archived from the original on 25 October 2012
  17. ^ Cannane, Steve (12 July 2010). "Anti-vaccine group accused of harassing parents". www.abc.net.au. ABC News. Retrieved 11 August 2021.
  18. ^ Miles, Janelle (15 December 2011). "Anti-vaccination activist Meryl Dorey needles opponents of her speaking at Woodford Folk festival". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane: News Ltd. Archived from the original on 21 May 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  19. ^ Dunlop, Dr Rachael (December 2011), Meryl Dorey at Woodford Folk Festival: a hazard to your child's health?, The Conversation.edu, archived from the original on 14 January 2012, retrieved 18 December 2011
  20. ^ Nancarrow, Dan (14 December 2011). "Woodford not immune to medical controversy". Brisbane Times. Fairfax. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2011.
  21. ^ "Minister needles folk fest speaker". Sunshine Coast Daily. 16 December 2011. Archived from the original on 9 January 2012. Retrieved 18 December 2011.

External links[edit]

26°54′54.15″S 152°45′19.54″E / 26.9150417°S 152.7554278°E / -26.9150417; 152.7554278