The iconic Woodford Folk Festival will return this year after a two-year hiatus due to COVID-19.
The popular event’s return has been announced today following a two-day gathering of 400 organisers at Woodfordia.
General Manager Amanda Jackes says: “Over the past two years Woodfordia organisers have delivered 1372 shows with 1032 artists over eight national tours and 8 multi-day events, to an audience of 20,000 with overnight visitation totalling 50,192.
“To put this into context, as only one event, Woodford Folk Festival hosts 1800 shows across 25 stages featuring 2800 individual artists and performers to an aggregate audience of 132,000 with overnight visitation totalling 222,356.”
In a normal year, the festival has about 40 per cent of attendees come from interstate and overseas (34 per cent interstate, 4.1 per cent overseas).
Independent economists estimate that the event generates more than $25m in spending annually, creating the equivalent of 279 full time jobs.
“Scaling up to the logistics of the large-scale Woodford Folk Festival will be a challenge however the enthusiasm of the hundreds of organisers involved is overwhelming,” said Founder and Director Bill Hauritz.
“This year will see the festival built from the ground up with new ideas, new programming, a new layout but always maintaining the festival tradition of the key corner stones of what has made it so successful for a long period of me.
“We have to concentrate on rebuilding our community of organisers and volunteers, merchants, contractors and suppliers of which there are many.”
Organisers think that the first festival back will have the added issue of discovering the new norm - the world has moved on. They are suggesting that they can’t expect everything to go back to the way things were in what everyone hopes will be the post-COVID world.
For Amanda and Bill, it’s an opportunity.
“We imagine our beautiful site at Woodfordia as a parkland dedicated to the Arts, Humanities and Folk Lore underpinned by a powerful sense of environmentalism and cultural innovations,” Amanda says.
“We see ourselves as an institution that can support artists, thinkers, innovators and businesspeople in their quest to make the world a beer place.”
“Governments have been a great support with the Queensland Government especially keen to help us, recently announcing through its agency Arts Queensland a $4M operational grant over four years which will help see the festival returned,” Bill says.
“The Queensland Government, through the Growing Tourism Infrastructure Fund 2020, further provided a grant of $1.2M towards the installation of 20 permanent Glamping Tents at Woodfordia currently under construction.
“These tents will provide Woodfordia with some good income and contribute to build tourism activity and employment in the Moreton Bay region.”
“The Glamping Tents, together with the 2-year-old Lake Gkula will provide a very strong marketing focus for the festival and other events happening through the year,” Amanda says.
The 2022 Woodford Folk Festival is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland and features on the It’s Live! in Queensland events calendar.
The federal government has been supportive too, contributing $1.46M from the Restart Investment to Sustain and Expand (RISE) Fund towards Woodfordia’s program. Tickets will go on sale for the festival in mid-June.
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