Looking for a great holiday break? Something... different? How about a trip to Australia for the Woodford Folk Festival this winter?
This is a must see event if you ever get close to the scorched-earth isle of desertification, resource stripping, and masses totally unaware that they are enslaved as good as their convict forefathers.
Situated 130Km north of Brisbane, and inland from the Sunshine Coast, this is Australia’s biggest festival attracting over 50,000.
You trek, or rumble in with an old campervan like I did, complete with the obligatory flower-power murals, Hair soundtrack, drums, prayer flags flapping and feathers/charms on the rearview. Then view a sea of cool Combi’s, and tented villages from which a sea of hippies and cultured persona drift in and out of a fenced valley through which meanders an endless market place dotted with performance spaces and art leading up to a natural amphitheatre for huge concerts and ritual ceremonies.
The programme is always truly incredible and yes, varied (450+ performers at the typical festival), including fire dances, Kurri/Aborignal culture, folklore, the annual Welcoming Ceremony, New Year’s Rhythm Festival and Fire Event, each colourful celebrations on a scale rarely seen in Australia.
There are eco-living seminars, theatre and comedy spaces, plus concerts big and small - percussion to rock to country to jazz etc, then poetry and intellectual debate all providing a level of simultaneous mental inebriation surpassed only by that of alcohol and weed (prohibited of course).
Each day and night through which we gravitate, becomes wracked with decision-making covering 24hrs from the moment you roll out of bed or up from a grassy spot having already missed the morning yoga session (as if you ever would), debate on Mutating Communities, a bush food walk and learning a few other things besides!
I went for me the highlight was the Strawbale House workshop, as that’s all I’ll ever be able to afford, holistic healing, some poetry and the Djembe sessions which had a magical effect on my drumming, at least for a while, although Aussie customs insisted on cutting the skin off my drum - damn conspiracy, not to mention the agents who had me under surveillance down south in Byron Bay.
I did skip some of the Woodford programme though, especially the larger concerts and closing fire ceremony, by then I had been sun-died and rain-drenched enough – dress for everything but snow believe me, although it was not the mud bath it was rumored to have been. Woodford is NO Woodstock, but instead a far more globally diverse, genteel and stimulating event for all ages and even families.
- Tickets, including camping, are just a couple hundred dollars, and well worth it. I give it 5 stars out of 5. Visit www.woodfordfolkfestival.com and I’ll see you there after Xmas.