Grants boost for Woodford Folk Festival

Posted: 3pm 29 Jun 2022

The return of the iconic Woodford Folk Festival this year has been boosted by $500,000 in grants from Moreton Bay Regional Council over the next two years.

The funding will ensure organisers can deliver the event in the aftermath of enormous financial losses suffered after cancellations in 2020 and 2021 because of COVID-19 restrictions.

It will also allow organisers to complete site maintenance and upgrades to enable the Festival’s reactivation in 2022.

Mayor Peter Flannery says the festival, confirmed for 2022 by organisers in May, is of national significance.

“Nothing compares to the Woodford Folk Festival, it’s the biggest event on our calendar and we have all been hurt by the deafening silence at the Woodfordia precinct over the past two years,” he says.

“This six-day event attracts 124,000 people each year and 40 percent of those attendees come from interstate and overseas.

“Guaranteeing this year’s event will be better than ever is the completion of more than $5 million of investment in facilities upgrades from the State Government and Council.”

New facilities

Mayor Flannery says the site’s amenities and infrastructure were improved in 2019, including new permanent shower and toilet blocks, 10km of sealed internal roads to reduce dust and mud, extra lighting, and the new filtered swimming lake, Lake Gkula.

As well as the community and cultural benefits generated by the festival, it makes a significant economic contribution to the Moreton Bay Region and Queensland.

An independent economic impact study funded by Tourism and Events Queensland found the 2019 Festival injected more than $17 million into the Moreton Bay Region, and another $12.4 million to other parts of the state.

Going swimmingly

Woodford Folk Festival director Bill Hauritz says the addition of Lake Gkula, which means ‘koala’ in Jinibara language, has been a lifesaver.

“The lake was originally designed to combat the heat during the summer, but it became our lifeline during the past two years of COVID when we couldn’t host the festival, by providing us with a source of revenue from our visitors.

“Because of the lake we’ve been able to deliver other functions like Lake Gkula Camping and Bushtime in the Summer and other events that have kept us going.

|“It’s a fully functioning conservation and recreational lake that’s chemical free and has an all-natural water filtration system, so visitors can swim alongside more than 16 species of native fish and crustaceans and over 8000 plants.|

“Without the contribution from the State Government and Moreton Bay Regional Council over the years, we might not have been able to return this year for our 35th edition of the folk festival.”

Thousands of contractors and volunteers will transform the former dairy farm between December 27 and New Year’s Day into Australia’s largest outdoor event with 100,000 visitors.

Jam-packed program

Twenty venues will host over 2,000 local, national and international artists, musicians and presenters over 400 acts.

Division 12 Councillor Tony Latter says following COVID people are keen to get back into the festival spirit.

“After the lockdowns and uncertainty of the last few years, people are looking for rich cultural experiences for the holidays within a few hours’ drive from Brisbane,” he says.

“Woodford offers all this and more and has broad appeal for people from all walks of life, young and old alike.”

The festival program includes concerts, dances, street theatre, writers’ panels, a film festival, comedy sessions, acoustic jams, social dialogue and debate, folk medicine, a dedicated children’s festival, an environmental program, art and craft workshops, circus performances and workshops, late night cabarets, parades and a spectacular fire event.

Find tickets to this year’s Woodford Folk Festival here.

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