Woodford Folk Festival

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Woodford Folk Festival
Official Artwork for the 2015/2016 Woodford Folk Festival.
Genre Various
Dates 27 December – 1 January
Location(s) Woodford, Queensland, Australia
Years active 1994–present
Founded by Queensland Folk Federation, Bill Hauritz, Amanda Jackes

The Woodford Folk Festival is an annual music and cultural festival held near the semi-rural town of Woodford,[1] 72 km 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 35 different venues within the festival grounds.[1] Along with musical acts, the festival offers a wide spectrum of entertainment such as Street Performing, Public Speaking, Stand-Up Comedy and a Children's Festival. The streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, stalls, bars, street theatre and parades. The festival supplies both Seasonal and Overnight camping ground to patrons with many attendees staying for the entire week of festivities.

The 3 Minutes Silence is a recurring Woodford tradition, part of the New Year's Eve celebrations where everyone within the festival grounds gathers for 3 minutes of candle-lit silence to welcome the new year. A Sunrise Ceremony takes place on the Woodfordia hilltop on New Year's Day, festival patrons greet 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 250 hectare rural property known as Woodfordia, situated approximately 7 kilometres North of the Sunshine Coast town of Woodford. The land is owned by the Queensland Folk Federation, who are the producers of the festival.

The Fire Event, every year an grand 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 away to Woodford when it outgrew the Maleny Showgrounds site.[1]

The final evening of the Woodford festival culminates in a spectacular New Year's Day closing ceremony, 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 from 2014.[2] The

January 2000 Fire Event was featured in the global live TV broadcast heralding the new millennium.

In 2005–2006 a record aggregate attendance of over 130,000 visitors attended the festival, injecting $21 million into the Queensland economy.[3]

In 2008, the festival won the FasterLouder Festival Award for the most Green Friendly festival.[4]

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

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.


The yearly line-ups below exhibit a some of the headline acts from past Woodford Folk Festivals:

Kate Miller-Heidke at the 2008/09 Festival. Miller has headlined Woodford over 6 times since the festival began





John Butler of the John Butler Trio at the 2012/13 festival




The Cat Empire performing at the 2014/15 festival



Nahko and Medicine for the People making their first Woodford appearance at the 2014/15 festival





In 2011, organisers of the festival were criticised for inviting Meryl Dorey, president of anti-vaccination group the Australian Vaccination Network to speak at the festival.[7][8] The Australian Medical Association 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."[9] Queensland Health Minister Geoff Wilson advised attendees "not to take [Meryl's] nonsense too seriously".[10]

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). 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. ^ Woodford Folk Festival Visitor Survey Report 2005/06
  4. ^ FasterLouder Festival Awards: 2008
  5. ^ a b c Woodford Folk Festival. Australian Music Festivals. Retrieved on 13 January 2012.
  6. ^ Woodford Folk Festival 2008/2009. Live Guide. Retrieved on 13 January 2012.
  7. ^ 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). Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  8. ^ Dunlop, Dr Rachael (December 2011), Meryl Dorey at Woodford Folk Festival: a hazard to your child’s health?, The Conversation.edu 
  9. ^ Nancarrow, Dan (14 December 2011). "Woodford not immune to medical controversy". Brisbane Times (Fairfax). Retrieved 18 December 2011. 
  10. ^ "Minister needles folk fest speaker". Sunshine Coast Daily. 16 December 2011. Retrieved 18 December 2011. 

External links[edit]

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