STAY A WHILE: Woodford Folk Festival revellers set up camp at last year’s event.
STAY A WHILE: Woodford Folk Festival revellers set up camp at last year’s event. Vicki Wood

Take time to soak up Woodford offerings

IF YOU'RE considering dropping in to the Woodford Folk Festival for a quick peek, think again.

With 2000 performers and 438 events at this year's festival, first-timers should plan to stay at least a day and night, organiser Bill Hauritz insists.

"This is not a festival to drop in for an hour or two … it's a festival to get absorbed into," he said.

"People who come for a day should come for a day and a night, make it big, and they will get value beyond what they imagine."

He said the festival program was a "positive cross-section of our cultural life in Australia", expressed by its best spokespeople - the artists.

"The canvas is music, art, food. It's poetry, writing and history. Politics," Mr Hauritz said.

"All of those things create who we are and all of them underpin who we are, whether we recognise it or not.

"It's not just music - I think music is 50% of our program."

Music, however, is a huge drawcard of this year's event, which includes performances by Courtney Barnett, Josh Pyke, the Paper Kites and Michael Franti.

The fact that American musician Franti agreed to play at the Woodford Folk Festival was proof the event had this year reached "another level", Mr Hauritz said.

Franti has spread uplifting messages of community and social justice for more than 20 years through a soulful, experimental mix of reggae, hip hop and roots.

Asked whether the Woodford Folk Festival had helped create music with a social conscience in Australia, Mr Hauritz agreed the festival "had a large influence on a lot of musicians and artists".

"I think we can lay claim into helping contribute to their careers," he said.

He would not be drawn on whether particular artists most reflected the culture and "lore" celebrated by the festival, but agreed that many musicians and participants would celebrate Franti's attendance.

"He fits so much into the ethos of the festival," he said.

"We've been trying to get him for years, and this year he said, 'yes'.

"We are all absolutely delighted."


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