In 2023-2024, Woodford Folk Festival celebrates its 36th programme.
This year’s event presents a diverse, high quality range of entertainment as it unfolds over a week-long celebration of creative depth and talents. Lawyer, academic and Indigenous policy advisor Noel Pearson will take to the stage to address festival-goers. . . DeJa Voodoo will host a mesmerising menagerie of marvels where cabaret meets art. . . burlesque queen Imogen Kelly will runs a talk and workshop on breast health and burlesque. . . Federal Arts Minister Tony Burke will discuss the magic of art. . . Regurgitator will rev up a crowd to fever pitch, and much more.
“We see the end of the year – Woodford time – as a time for revelling and reckoning, for recreating ourselves and gathering hope and goodwill around us to bring into a new year,” Festival Director Amanda Jackes says. “We do this, along with our community, by inviting intelligent debate, creating diverse opportunities for reflection, and fuelling brilliant celebration.”
First-time visitor and household name Ben Lee will, alongside his regular stage show, also be dropping a DJ set as DJ DadBod. Plus there’s a Brisbane-centric line-up including Resin Dogs, Regurgitator, Custard, and the AFRO DIZZI ACT all-star show.
Voices like Karise Eden and Isaiah Firebrace will be known from TV (‘The Voice’ and ‘The X Factor’ respectively), but this is their first time at the festival.
The festival’s biggest stages will be taken over by the likes of Kasey Chambers, Kate Miller-Heidke, ARIA nominee Mo’Ju, Yirrmal, FourPlay String Quartet, Leah Flanagan, and Wanderers. Some first-timers hitting the Woodford stage are Go-Jo, Odette, A.Girl, Haiku Hands, Bumpy, Aya Ives, Steph Strings, Loretta, Late November, and Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham (The Waifs).
Making trips from overseas are The East Pointers from Canada, returning after the immeasurable loss of their banjo player Koady Chaisson, for three huge shows. Plus there’s Scotland’s Dougie Maclean, singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill and Andy Irvine, as well as Sevdalinka interpreter and composer Bozo Vreco who visits for the first time.
“Because we’re open to expressions of interest, there’s a sense that the programme is creating itself each year," Programme Manager Courtney Wild says.
“As well as curated elements including our ceremonies and signature in-house events like the Comedy debate, Poet’s Breakfasts, and our cultivation of elements that are important to us – such as 65 per cent new content each year alongside previous favourites, continuing gender parity and inclusion – we also take an organic approach, listening to what artists themselves want to be presenting.”
The Talks And Ideas programme presents powerful speakers and presenters. Among them are Noel Pearson, Linda Burney MP, Leeanne Enoch MP, Lyndon Murphy, Mary Graham and Morgan Brigg who are raising their voices in conversation and debate. Also, sharing the experiences and culture of remote Australia, Dr Shellie Morris AO and the Borooloola Cultural Songwomen sing to maintain and revive Indigenous languages.
Meanwhile audiences can expect plenty of opportunities for laughs with a comedy programme featuring Sandeep Totlani, Fiona Scott-Norman, Harley Breen, Urvi Majumdar, Ting Lim, Nicolette Minster, Dane Simpson, Michael Connell, Nick Capper, Mandy Nolan, and Daniel Muggleton.
On the very first night of the new year, the festival community will gather for one of the festival’s most beloved ceremonies, now titled The Renewal. This year, it’s a ritual, where the village expresses its dreams for the future. Directors Linsey Pollak and Mark Bromilow, along with Visual Projection Artist Craig Walsh, will work with a large cast to bring the festival dreams to life with ‘A Village Dreams’, making the significance of the renewal of the new year.
Sparkling circus and rambunctious cabaret will explode within the Cirque and Parlour venues too, this year featuring Head First Acrobatics, Betty Grumble, the third year of the Queer Ball, Imogen Kelly, The Birdmann and Egg, Dr Hubble’s Bubbles, Kaput, Backbone Young Creators, ‘Rema: To Emit Light’ – the premiere of a collaboration between Rako Pasifika, Rindi Harradine and Chelsea McGuffin Productions – and more.
Tickets are on sale now.
Woodford Folk Festival is on from 27 December-1 January.
Woodford Folk Festival 2023/2024 ProgrammeBen Lee
AFRO DIZZI ACT
FourPlay String Quartet
Felicity Urquhart and Josh Cunningham
The East Pointers
Monks Of Tibet
What The French…
Colours In The Street (Alex Colours)
and many more