A welcoming sun of the stinking hot variety greeted us for these next two days at Woodfordia. This was to be expected, but it was essentially a nice little bit of festival-ness in a festival that is invariably unique.
Thursday was a slow but sure start with a little bit of lantern making for the festivities later, and then an illustration workshop with musician and visual artist Karl S. Williams. The workshop focused very much on the drawing of lines while creatively feeling love and care, which could be safe to say was the over-arching theme.
Buffy Sainte-Marie was the first musical offering of the day. The well-travelled artist gave a set full of peace and tranquillity, with a voice both soaring and touching. Something majorly different was happening at the Bluestown stage where The Long Johns rollicked on with some dirty blues. During their set the band mentioned they had only played five times prior which was amazing considering how tight and in control they were in their set.
After what has become a daily ritual nap in the midday blaring heat, a nice little set from Emily Wurramara with tunes full of power that ploughed from experiences from Groote Eylandt – an island northeast of Arnhem Land.
Back to the Grande and Half Moon Run gave a set of rock pop tunes full of great harmony and boppy tunes. The biggest response for their single ‘Full Circle’ from their 2012 album Dark Eyes.
Our first trip to the Amphitheatre for the whole festival proved to be both a relaxing and invigorating experience. Firstly, for the 50 minutes of rest we got on the luscious grass, but also for the funk of The Bamboos who gave a bumping set of soaring groove. Kylie Auldist fronting the band was at her soulful, expressive best as well. The same stage also saw Blue King Brown who certainly has shown how far they have come – from plugging away at Woodford Festivals many years ago to now playing headlining sets full of verve and vigour. Solos came a-plenty with their song ‘Water’ going for more than twenty minutes. This was an amazing song which shone in a set with bouncing reggae and groove.
After dancing the night away, day three finished early with sore feet and heads. Therefore, getting ready for a big day four was needed with as much sleep as possible.
Friday started with repeated viewings of both Monsieur Camembert and Parcels giving punters a chance to dance early and dance often. The awesome thing about both bands was that they were from distinct different parts of the musical landscape while the audiences watching both bands were ninety percent the same for both groups. A great showcase for the comradery that is Woodfordia punters to explore all kinds of musical tastes.
Down at the Parlour, Hatz Fitz & Cara swamped hard with rough tunes about love while the next act, the annual Hip Hop Vs Circus performance extravaganza wowed from two art forms that you’d not necessarily think would fit together. But it did so very well and we got some fantastically distinctive collaborations from performers around the festival with the addition of Chris Endrey hosting with what had to be the shorts of the festival. The shorts could have had their own show at the festival as well.
Meow Meow simply stunned in a performance at the Grande stage which was hilarious, moving, exquisite and haunting all at once. It’s hard to articulate what Meow Meow has that makes her show so great. It could possibly be that she seemingly doesn’t take her performing so seriously that it seems so effortless for her to be brilliant. A rendition of Radiohead’s ‘Fake Plastic Trees’ was simply gorgeous to witness, which is an odd thing to say considering someone was holding a plastic doll onstage while it was being performed. Let’s just say it needed to be seen to be believed.
Next down at the other end of the festival grounds at the Garland stage, Amanda Palmer gave us a ‘performance’ simply titled Amanda Palmer’s Drinks Wine and Talks About Babies and Art. In what was probably the biggest letdown of the festival so far, Palmer firstly played a wonderfully honest song about her son and the feelings that go with exploring what it is like being a mother. What came after was forty minutes of chat that had no structure, with questions being taken from the audience, random musings on politics, performance art and other tidbits that didn’t fit as a performance. It seemed like a good idea, but this probably wasn’t suited for the timeslot it was in, and probably would have been a better fit if it was structured better.
A U-turn into the avenue of musical fun came not too long after with The Hot Potato Band choreographing dance routines with what has become a steady showing at this years’ festival – a huge damn brass section. This band simply is a barrel of fun and a perfect fit for a summer’s night of revelry.
Rounding of the night with dance rock outfit Azadoota, who performed a fast-paced set of songs from the Middle East that danced the night away with a wonderful set of sounds from a mystic era.
These sounds echoed into the night with the realisation that the peak of New Year’s was yet to come. It’s hard to imagine how much Woodford can offer – here’s hoping it’ll be brilliant. There’s much confidence it will be.
Woodford Folk Festival wraps up today, just outside the town of Woodford, Queensland. For more information head to the Woodford Folk Festival site.