The Woodford Folk Festival is held annually over six days and six nights, from Dec 27th through to January 1st. More than 2,000 local, national and international, artists, musicians and presenters put on over 438 acts to an audience of an estimated 132,000 people. The festival begins each year with the iconic Opening Ceremony and closes with the spectacular showcase, the Fire Event on New Year’s Day. This year will be the 33rd Woodford Folk Festival and the 24th held at Woodfordia. It is the largest gathering of artists and musicians in Australia.
The Woodford festival experience is deep, rich and colourful. It is based on a vision of inclusive and creative community, culture and tradition passed through generations, expressed through story and ceremony. The site, a former barren dairy farm, has been lovingly regenerated with over 120,000 subtropical rain forest trees, orchids, ferns and sedges, planted to create a habitat for butterflies and wildlife.
Woodfordia is transformed into a village that hosts over 25,000 daily patrons, performers, stallholders, volunteers and organisers. As many as 2,680 volunteers across 162 departments are at the heart of the organisation and contribute to the setup and day-to-day running of the festival. During the event, the festival is actually the 67th largest town in Australia.
Each year construction begins in early December and continues up until Christmas Day. Over 450 contractors and volunteers build the village. Many come from around the world to be part of the festival build and then stay for a week after to pull the event down.
The festival programme features concerts, dances, street theatre, writers’ panels, film festival, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate, folk medicine, an entire children’s festival, an environmental programme featuring talks, debates and films, art and craft workshops, circus performances and workshops, late night cabarets, parades and special events including the spectacular fire event.
The festival streets are lined with restaurants, cafes, stalls, bars, street theatre and parades. Tree-filled campgrounds, butterfly walks, ponds and wildlife complete the picturesque site. The festival appeals to a diverse audience with all ages and many nationalities attracted each year. It’s a magical experience, and one not to be missed.