EAT IT UP: Woodford is about to begin and workers and artists such as street performer Cary Friis, aka Willy Wonka, are preparing for 1000s of festival-goers.
EAT IT UP: Woodford is about to begin and workers and artists such as street performer Cary Friis, aka Willy Wonka, are preparing for 1000s of festival-goers. John McCutcheon

Thousands to pack into Woodford for festival

HOW'D you spend your Christmas Eve?

Taking in some Christmas lights? Maybe you got a bit of last-minute Christmas shopping done?

Or maybe you were one of the thousands of dedicated revellers Woodford-bound for the next six days who spent Christmas Eve and much of Christmas Day lined up waiting for the gates to open so they could secure their campsite?

The annual pilgrimage to the hinterland town transformed into a thriving cultural hub is on again, with thousands expected to flow through the gates at this year's Woodford Folk Festival.

 

Woodford is about to begin and artists and workers are preparing for 1000's of festival goers. Scotty Newton, Tommy Dodd and Taj Scicluna .
Scotty Newton, Tommy Dodd and Taj Scicluna are on the job. John McCutcheon

Festival director Bill Hauritz said the seasoned campers had lined up Christmas Eve until 2pm Christmas Day when the gates had opened and they'd established their makeshift homes for the next week of festivities.

Mr Hauritz said about 12,000-15,000 people, including volunteers and artists, were expected to flock to the site on the back of record pre-sale figures.

The seven-day forecast for Woodford according to Weatherzone looks like almost ideal festival conditions, with maximum temperatures of 30C rising to 36C on Saturday and Sunday.

 

Woodford is about to begin and artists and workers are preparing for 1000's of festival goers. Street performer Jaelith Fey, the Snow Faerie.
Street performer Jaelith Fey, the Snow Faerie. John McCutcheon

Mr Hauritz said the favourable forecast could help deliver a 5% growth in numbers on last year if the weather held.

There is some chance of showers over the coming week, but it won't deter those eager to enjoy a week of culture, intellect and music.

"It's not a line-up festival. What we sell is a festival experience," Mr Hauritz said.

With workshops, street theatre, rituals, ceremonies and celebrations, Woodford is much more than just the music, even though the musicians assembled make for impressive reading.

Aussie music icon Paul Kelly with team up with Charlie Owen to perform songs from their new album at 9.30pm tonight while the likes of Tash Sultana, Thelma Plum, Adalita, Half Moon Run, Gang of Youths, Blue King Brown, Amanda Palmer and more will be delivering the goods over the next week.

"It's an all-round experience rather than just music consumption," Mr Hauritz said.

"We've grown a very large festival because of it."

 

Woodford is about to begin and artists and workers are preparing for 1000's of festival goers. Street performer Cary Friis, aka Willy Wonka.
Woodford is about to begin and artists and workers are preparing for 1000's of festival goers. Street performer Cary Friis, aka Willy Wonka. John McCutcheon

He said they approached the planning of the festival two years in advance, with some artists already booked in for next year and the key was to make sure they delivered something for the entire family, from younger kids to the elder generations.

There are 2500 volunteers in action this week with about 60 dine-in food outlets set up in a township with a larger daily population than Nambour.

Set-up is carried out throughout December, with town water and sewage requirements as well as about 150 departments responsible for delivering the iconic event which is in its 31st year.

With about 2000 shows over 25 stages across the next six days, Mr Hauritz said the logistics of the operation were "frightening".

"It's a great job all year round," Mr Hauritz said.