AU ABROAD

Festival Review: Woodford Folk Festival Day Three & Four - Woodfordia, Queensland (29-30.12.14)

As dawn rose over day three of the Woodford Folk Festival, revelers didn’t seem to mind the pitter-patter of rain felt on their thongs, boots or whatever else was deemed appropriate attire for that day (Some even felt underwear was appropriate to strut around, not that I’m complaining, I only mention that in bemusement). Little did anyone know that the pitter-patter would turn into something significant, but more of that later.

The first venture was once again to the delightful Rod Quantock & Fiona Scott-Norman aka Two Leggy Redheads, introducing us to some of the guests of the day which was apparently was going to include Bob Hawke, but their schedule was too packed to allow a former prime minister to grace the stage. Instead, they had some politically active hip-hop and beekeeper Jack Stone talk about the importance of bees within society.

After a bit of wandering around the haunting tones of Neil Murray tried to will the clouds away, and while he at least entertained the audience with some loquacious banter, it didn’t get the clouds to wither away, instead they had a plan of attack.

It was during Mama Kin’s set that things perked up even further. The vivacious Danielle Caruana resonated like a sun shining upwards trying to part the clouds, and she actually achieved that for the majority of the set. The harmonies of her surrounding band mates really made the set breathless, while also buzzing.

Quite a buzz surrounded Del Barber on day one and two of the festival and when it came to hear a full set from him, it resonated a calm beauty of honky-tonk and stories of living on farms and travelling throughout Canada as a musician. This songwriter won the hearts of the Duck stage with a cool and calm demeanor, but also with a swank that made him all kinds of weird tré-hip.

The highlight of day three though was the rain. I felt a little sorry for We Two Thieves, who as a three piece singing into one old-timey microphone had to battle against an absolute deluge of rain that halfway flooded the Grande tent they were performing in. They battled bravely against the thrashing rain and put on a heck of a sweet show, but it was no match against the hard, heavy storm that engulfed Woodfordia. During the set, some brave souls took to the hill behind the audience and made their own mudslide, which distracted the audience for a few minutes. It made this set one of the weirder one of the festival. It looked like everyone was having fun regardless, and both band and crowd certainly didn’t get carried away.

The deluge only lasted 20 minutes, which allowed for the rest of the night to be enjoyed in cool, somewhat pleasant conditions. The Bazaar hosted Juice Rap News for someabsolute hilarity, and stinging political commentary – all in a free-flowing rap. The Festival of Fortune also brought in some laughs, but in the silly stakes rather than the political, in a sidesplitting trivia-style night that included audience in leotards dancing all sorts of wacky moves, and gimp costumes made of garbage bags. This was an amazing piece of entertainment from half of the team known as The Escapists, and the calypso stylings of The Peanuts.

The showcase of talent as part of Gold Dust Cabaret also gave some amazing variety entertainment, which included the most amazing yo-yo performer. The wacky weather day ended like it started, with some pitter-patter. Husky let us forget all of that with a beautiful sing-along within the crowd at the end of their striking acoustic set. Little Scout rounded off the night in front of a hardy small crowd with a robust amount of delicate songs.

Day four weather wise was a little more sedate, if by sedate you mean ‘mid-thirty degree heat at nine o’clock’, however after the regular visit to the Two Leggy Redheads, there became a more cultural engagement with ABC’s live broadcast simulcasting amongst their local radio stations. The broadcast was a great example of why it is important to keep this station thriving despite recent funding cuts. A delectable bunch of guests and music choices! There were interviews with photojournalists who were kidnapped in Somalia, and documentary makers who travelled the width of Australia in 44 days and talked to people living in odd spaces.

The blues of Starboard Cannons crunched their way through a swagger of songs down at the Bluestown stage, while Kylie Auldist & The Glenroy Allstars funked the Concert stage up and threw in some soul in there as well. It brought some great invigoration to the day as it allowed for the day’s first real dance-off. Canadian folk instrumentalists.

The East Pointers brought a societal togetherness with their set of instrumental songs oddly. This was validated by the amount of whooping, circular hand-in-hand dancing and a whole bunch awesome dancing that encapsulated this whole festival. It was then onto the long walk to the Amphitheatre to see Hiatus Kaiyote bring constant key-changing delightfulness to the huge crowd. Kate Miller-Heidke stole the Amphitheatre night, however. She sung a bunch of songs that displayed all manner of wonderful pop delectability and a tinge of reflection on the year past.

The night ended on some quant folk with Melbourne outfit Oh Pep! bringing day four to a nice relaxing close. It can’t be understated how many stories were told on stage, and this band just kept on giving with some great tales of band members meeting in classical music schools.