Woodford Folk Festival, you've done it again.
The annual six-day happening staged at Woofordia (Sunshine Coast) have revealed their 2019/20 programme – and it is a monster serving of music, arts, cabaret, circus, panel discussions and workshops spread across 1,600 shows and 25 stages.
"It is a coming together of souls; a bubbling cauldron of expression and creativity; an exploration of our cultures and a celebration of a compassionate community," Head of Programming, Chloe Goodyear says.
"The programme is a collection of performances, workshops, talks, and experiences that celebrate who we are, examine the issues we're facing as a global and local community, and inspire us to move forward together," Chloe adds.
This year, Woodfordia will play host to the likes of modern-day troubadour Kasey Chambers who is playing the festival for the first time.
Emma Louise will be playing from her ‘Lilac Everything’ album; Amanda Palmer on her ground-breaking ‘There Will Be No Intermission’ tour; Lior playing his full ‘Autumn Flow’ album with band and strings; and Horrorshow and The Herd heading up a 21st birthday bash for the Elefant Traks label.
Though 65 per cent of the programme are completely new-to-the-festival artists and presenters, patrons will enjoy much-loved returnees including Kate Miller-Heidke, Harry Manx, Electric Fields and Archie Roach in his first shows with Paul Grabrowsky for his ‘Tell Me Why’ memoir and accompanying album.
The festival 2019 theme, 'imagining a beautiful future', aims to encourage organisers, artists and patrons alike to explore the ways in which we might counteract some of the negative rhetoric surrounding the future of the world.
"We don't want to inspire false hope, but together, if we can imagine a brighter, more promising future, we’ll make one," Festival Director Bill Hauritz says.
"Troubadours in medieval times carried the news, sang the stories and painted pictures of governments, places, wars and beauty. Musicians and artists were held in high regard.
"Woodford Folk Festival aims to create a platform where artists, speakers, comedians and scholars can profess their views in the ancient troubadour traditions. It's about the here and the now, where we come from and visualising a clearer path to our future.
"It's through these artists, their spirit, their words and their passion that we can together, discover our beautiful future. We truly hope that this year's programme inspires, excites and challenges all of our patrons the way it does us."
As always, the programme offers the equivalent of a full festival programme of speakers and panel discussions, which this year features, the incomparable Dr Karl; Leigh Sales interviewing Michael Gudinski; visiting US guest and author of 'Biology of Belief', Dr Bruce Lipton; journalist Kerry O’Brien with Noel Pearson; and Rhoda Roberts (AO) in her annual ‘Ancient Culture, New Conversations’ series, among over 100 others.
For those patrons with a penchant for the wonderfully weird, Woodford Folk Festival presents a circus and cabaret programme full of delicious debauchery and dizzying theatrics.
Among this glittering line-up is Australia's favourite trash-glamour disco circus, Briefs Factory; surreal showgirl, obscene beauty queen and sex clown Betty Grumble; Woodfordian regular, Mario Queen of the Circus; Australia's premier Indigenous showgirl, Constantina Bush who will take patrons on a humorous journey filled with songs that have shaped her life; and Amanda Palmer's Weep Fest, where she invites the audience to join her in crying away the troubles of the old year until they become tears of joy, gratitude and hope for the new.
As you flick through the 145-page programme, it quickly confirms what those who have attended the festival before will tell you – you won't be able to see it all.
Organisers strive to create a sense-tingling and immersive festival experience, liking it to exploring a new town - park up, settle into base camp and go for a wander. "You probably won't visit every street corner or drink at every bar, but if we've achieved what we set out to your experience will be deep and rich, and it will be your own," Chloe Goodyear says.
Woodford Folk Festival takes place 27 December 2019 to 1 January 2020. Tickets on sale now - click here for more information.
Highlights Of 2019/20 Woodford Folk Festival Line-up
Harry James Angus (The Cat Empire)
Boban Markovic Orkestar
The Brother Brothers
Monks of Tibet