In looking back over December, I think it is fair to say that Woodford was something of a highlight. Now for those of you who haven't been to Woodford my advice is GET THERE!! For those of you who have been to Woodford then I'm sure you can relate to me when I say that it is one of the most amazing weeks you can spend anywhere; allow me to elaborate...
The first thing that I would say is that even though I qualified as a 'performer', the main and best experiences I take away from Woodford are those of a spectator. Don't get me wrong, performing is fucking awesome, but the Woodford experience is way more than any 50min set. Set in the misty hills of Woodford, QLD, the Woodford Folk Festival serves up 6 full days (and I mean full, 24hr days) of the most amazing music, performance, art, food, social, cultural immersion anyone could ever dream of. My typical day at Woodford consisted of getting up at 7am (has anyone experienced what it is like trying to sleep in a tent past 7am when the sun is beaming down on it), having a shower (or in Andrew's case having a chat to Josh Pyke while they waited in line for the shower), perusing the list of events that were taking place that day, and planning things from there. But that was only the beginning...
One of the real highlights was planning what food I was going to eat that day. It's funny, at any other time of year I kind of pride myself on not eating the usual shit all the time (Pizza, steaks etc), and try to opt for 'unusual' foods' like go to a Turkish restaurant, or eat Hungarian, or have Mongolian food. But when i go to Woodford I realise just how narrow my food consumption diversity really is - for example, having Breakfast at a place called "Jerusalem", or eating "Abyssinian", or eating vegeterian dishes I can't even remember how to spell (Kofta balls?), not to mention those slime green energy drinks from the Common Ground (which were very good by the way!). But that's the whole thing - you spend the week at Woodford doing shit you wouldn't normally do, eating things you wouldn't normally eat, wearing clothes you wouldn't normally wear, surving on less sleep than what you could normally tolerate, and experiencing things you just don't experience elsewhere (or at least, I haven't found where..). The major challenge during the week is surviving the weather - be it driving rain or 40 degree heat, Woodford is sure to test even the most robust campers..
Now to some highlights -
These guys are from Scotland and leading up the festival I had heard plenty about them and they didn't dissapoint. What made the gig that much better was that just as they took the stage Woodford was smashed by a massive storm. Unfortunately this did mean that a lot of people ran for cover, but those of us eager enough to stay crowded the front of the stage and had the best time! The storm was that vicious that power was cut to the entire Festival and the whole stage was plunged into darkness for about 5mins before the backup generator at the Amphi kicked in. There's something so incredibly Rock N Roll about the power blowing during a rock concert. Brillaint stuff!
2. The Bird (The Chameleon)
Has anyone ever seen these guys/this guy play? Basically The Bird is drummer who has some of the most incredible chops I have ever seen and heard before. He gets up on stage with 2 synth players, an upright bass, and a tabla player and together, they pull off some of the best drums and bass music you'll hear. Packed with incredible time signatures, rhythms, melodies, and interchanges, these guys truly know how to get you dancing. Many thanks to Billy Bodean for the recommendation on this one!
Unlike last year (which was a mess) this year we all camped together and even had a 'courtyard' in the middle which acted as a common eating/drinking/meeting spot. We had everythi8ng we needed in our campsite, including gas stove, 5 eskies, plenty of water, stacks of food, and of course our beloved tents! The best part of our camp was that it was right beside the Amphi so we could sneak through the fence and be right in the thick of things - and we were close to the showers and toilets too (our apologies again to our neighbours for not realising that just because we're camping doesn't mean we can urinate wherever we like..)
4. Performing at the Festival - Main stages
Although The Quills will struggle to lay claim to palying music that fits the traditional 'folk' genre, we had an absolute ball playing at the Festival. We were fortunate enough to play 4 shows on the main stages at Woodford, including one at The Grande, which is a truly great stage and has seen some of Australia's best artists perform. We also played a couple of shows at The Bazaar which I've decided was my favourite stage at this year's festival; kind of like a mini-Grande, the Bazaar had some awesome acts perform at it andf the PA, sound crew, and stage crew were all top shelf. It was also the stage where Billy Bodean launched his new look which totally below my mind (see image -->). There's only one guy who can dress like that and get away with it and that's BB>
5. Perfomance at the Festival- Mystery Bus
This had to be one of the coolest things going on at Woodford - The Mystery Bus. Imagine (literally) an old school Brisbane City Council Bus with a tiny stage at the front and you line up to get on the bus (which doesn't actually move by the way) and you have no idea who will ne playing. Sets last for 15min and you take seat and then, from behind a dark curtain, a band appears and starts playing! It could be anyone performing at the festival (including headline acts like Lior) or banjo players. Anyway, we were lucky enough to do 4 Mystery Bus shows and apart from the 40+ degrees on board, it was a great memory from the festival, check it out...
The only Woodford regret I have is not getting to see our friends, Avaberee, perform. These 3 girls from Brisbane had a couple of great shows at the festival and unfortunately in both instances their slot clashed with one of ours and I was unable to attend. I heard great things about their performance but I regret to have not seen it for myself :(
Anyway, that is my wrap of Woodford and December 2008. 2009 is already a big year and I look forward to the prospect of publishing many interesting blogs along the way...