The 31st Woodford Folk Festival has closed boasting record crowds in excess of 132,000 patrons over six days.
The result may not have been totally unexpected, though, as festival organisers reprted record ticket pre-sales prior to Christmas.
However the burgeoning attendance – an increase of more than 5 per cent – has put pressure on Woodfordia’s infrastructure. According to Festival Director, Bill Hauritz, “It has been a most beautiful festival in almost every way but our future is unclear.”
“Raw water storage, and dusty and broken roads took the edge off what was a truly wonderful event,” said Hauritz. “Dust was a big problem we have to fix, and the roads – they’re just not up to required standards. That’s just the beginning of our infrastructure issues,” he said. “But it’s been an amazing event this year,” said Hauritz, “This festival is becoming a hub for creativity attracting some great minds. It's been an inspiration for many of us.”
“This festival attracts over 2,000 diverse artists and performers, as well as prominent speakers and creative projects.” Minister for Education, Tourism and Major Events, Kate Jones said the Woodford Folk Festival is one of Australia’s major events, renowned internationally as an iconic Queensland arts, cultural and music festival.
Independent surveys consistently show that a third of the festival visitors attend from interstate and over 3% of attendees are from overseas.
Moreton Bay Regional Council Mayor Allan Sutherland said he had witnessed first-hand the incredible development of Woodfordia and with it the growth of one of Australia’s national award winning major events. “Woodford Folk Festival has continued to grow and grow over its 31-year life and this year the festival recorded a five per cent growth in attendance from last year,” Mayor Sutherland said.
“With such a successful year of festival attendance and camping numbers it has never been more important for all levels of Government to provide funding support and certainty to Woodfordia Inc. to turn Woodfordia into a destination worthy of ongoing national and international acclaim. Funding will be vital to ensure this site receives much needed infrastructure upgrades including permanent staging, toilets and amenities, dust control, roads, and camping space for this iconic Australian festival and Woodfordia itself to grow and flourish.”