Record numbers enjoyed Woodford Folk Festival’s ‘biggest and best ever festival’ as nearly 127,000 people made the annual pilgrimage to Australia’s largest gathering of artists and musicians over 6 days from December 27 to January 1.
The festival received a record attendance of 126,996 people through the gates, translating to $6.15M in box office sales and a growth of 8% from the previous year.
“Our expectations were definitely exceeded” said festival founder and director, Bill Hauritz.
“We challenged ourselves to rethink the entire festival layout and venues. With the changes came an entirely fresh visual look to the festival, and from the tremendous feedback we are getting it’s without question our best received ever,” he said.
Festival crowds enjoyed excellent weather throughout with pleasant warm days and cool evenings. The standout programme included feature shows by Michael Franti (USA), Courtney Barnett and a surprise pop-up set by popular UK singer-songwriter Passenger who was visiting the festival while holidaying in Australia.
The festival gained national attention during the week when Australian political icons Noel Pearson and former Prime Minister Bob Hawke initiated conversations on Indigenous Constitutional Recognition and Australia’s future.
Festival favourites across the week included the Grande Uska Kan Orkestar from Macedonia, who performed with the Grande Spectacular Circus, and the return of folk-traditionalists from Canada, The East Pointers whose lead member Tim Chaisson married his love in an informal dawn ceremony on New Year’s Day on the Woodfordia hilltop.
The festival village once erected, became a town equivalent to the 67th largest town in Australia, requiring resources and services to water, feed and transport festival goers and workers.
Here are some stats which give an insight into the logistical reality of running an event of this size:
• The festival was operated by 2896 volunteers with the crew representing 20 different countries
• An intimate venue named the Lettering House saw over 20, 000 letters written and over 8000 letters delivered by the lettering house postie service
• 11 km of fencing was erected over three weeks, and packed down in eight days at conclusion
• 24 kg coffee, 38 kg sugar was used to sustain volunteer workers
• 26,952 rolls of toilet paper (10,780,800 individual sheets) – 5,962 more rolls than last year, 2 million more sheets – all flushed down by 8 Mega Litres of waste water
• 5,795,484 litres of potable water was used
• 405 Acts with 2684 individual performers performed across 25 stages resulting in 1945 performances over the six days
• 20km of drink tickets sold at the 17 bars
Images of the Festival can be found via www.woodfordfolkfestival.com/media
Early bird tickets and payment plan for Woodford Folk Festival 2016/17 will open in April 2016 www.woodfordfolkfestival.com/tickets