Woodford Folk Festival – an Iconic Australian Summer Celebration

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

For those heading to Queensland to enjoy an Australian summer over the December holidays this year, the iconic annual Woodford Folk Festival returns for its 28th year; from December 27, 2013 to January 1, 2014.  This ‘festival of festivals’ is Australia’s largest gathering of local and international artists and musicians and explores the full breadth and depth of cultural, artistic, social and food diversity the country has to offer.

The Woodford program includes a strong international lineup which last year saw over 40 international acts and the cream of local talent performing across the week. In particular, the Festival has forged a strong bond with U.S. artists who have performed over the years including Arrested Development, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Peggy Seeger and Buffy Sainte-Marie. It continues to introduce new U.S. performers to its already strong lineup.

Grammy Award Winning artist Gotye performed at the 2011/12 Festival and was one of the many highlights. Visitors from the U.S. regularly include the Festival in their Australian itinerary, often signing up to experience the event as volunteers for the entire week.

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

The Festival, which is held on a dedicated 500-acre sacred parkland in Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland (just one hour’s drive north of Brisbane and one hour from pristine beaches), is a destination that provides world-class entertainment and fun for the whole family. Visitors can immerse themselves in the beautiful Australian subtropical rainforest environment where over 100,000 native trees have been planted over the past 18 years on the Festival site, for a memorable day trip or experience a week-long camping adventure. Tree-filled grounds, butterfly walks, ponds and wildlife complete the picturesque site and provide a safe family haven.

Similar to Chicago’s Lollapalooza, Woodford Folk Festival promises something for everyone. Last year’s festival saw 2,200 artists and musicians perform across 25 venues to an aggregate audience of 113, 000 people. “Woodfordia” is a place where musicians and artists mix it up with a former Prime Minister, politicians, professors, doctors, environmentalists and circus performers. Australia’s then Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, also made a surprise visit last year which was the first time in the festival’s history that a standing Prime Minister has attended.

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival; photo courtesy of Woodford Folk Festival

The program ranges from concerts featuring national and indigenous Australian and international contemporary artists, dance, cabaret, circus, comedy, workshops, debate and street theatre to films, forums, visual arts, an entire children’s festival and many special presentations including a spectacular fire event on New Year’s Day. The full Festival program for 2013/14 will be announced in October.

Heading to Queensland for summer in Australia? The Woodford Folk Festival is a unique festive cultural celebration you won’t want to miss.

Megy Karydes is founder of Wandering Tastes, a lifestyle and travel site that is meant to inspire adventure and exploration through traveling and food. She’s also a regular contributor to 10best.com which is part of the USA Today Travel family and TravelingMom.com as Foodie TravelingMom among other print magazines and online media outlets.

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