Courtney Barnett & Michael Franti Lead Epic Woodford Folk Festival Program

18 October 2015 | 10:01 am | Staff Writer

The annual event is celebrating its 30th anniversary in style this year

The venerated annual music and cultural event, the Woodford Folk Festival, has unveiled a fittingly expansive program for its 30th-anniversary shindig at the end of the year, with an esteemed musical line-up destined to woo the idyllic surrounds of Woodfordia led by acclaimed singer-songwriters Michael Franti and Courtney Barnett.

Also signed on for this December-January's festival, which is proudly presented by The Music, are established and emerging acts from all walks, from local lip-smackers such as Boo Seeka, Josh Pyke, San Cisco, Ed Kuepper, Briggs, local adoptee Marlon Williams and Lanie Lane (who has apparently not retired after all) to international drawcards including Harry Manx (US), Canadians The East Pointers and The Duhks, Scottish prospects Dougie Maclean and The Poozies, Kiwi fly-ins Trinity Roots and Moana & The Tribe, among many others.

As previous attendees will be well aware, Woodford is far more than a straight up-and-down music festival, however, taking great pains to ensure that its program caters to fans of not only excellent tunes but dance, poetry, talks, circus acts, healthy living, comedy, meditation, visual arts and cultural exploration and expression. If that sounds like a lot to get through, you needn't fret — Woodford Folk Festival runs for six days, from 27 December to 1 January, which gives punters plenty of time to canvas the event's picturesque 200-hectare grounds and many points of interest.

"There'll be some fantastic surprises this year," the festival's head of programming, Chloe Goodyear, said in a statement. "While we're especially proud of our program offerings, we know that Woodford has always been about a great festival experience.

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"This year, huge effort has gone into raising the bar on the festival art, layout and the overall presentation for our loyal patrons. We've always thought Woodford should be about discovering cultural gems."

To that end, the organisers have filled out the event's duration with a smorgasbord of brain-enriching activities, including a political discussion with former prime minister Bob Hawke regarding the future of Australia, as well as a talk from Noel Pearson on Indigenous constitutional rights, the circus stylings of Perched and Festival Of Fortune, ceremonial events Viktor, Katie Noonan & The Sunshine Coast Orchestra Project and The Fire Event, the First Nations-focused Ancient Cultures, New Conversations, hosted by Rhoda Roberts, as well as folksy vibes and wisdom from around the world at the Macedonian Music Extravaganza & Doch Reunion and Woodford Wisdom Talks, plus the traditionalist folk activities at the Festival Of Small Halls.

"We've hoped in the early years that the word 'Woodford' might conjure in people's minds beautiful images of art, ideas, inspiration and contribution," festival director Bill Hauritz said in a statement. "We have been ambitious to build meaning into that identity and social responsibility into its fabric. We feel that, after 30 years, achieving this to some extent gives us license to celebrate."

Have a read of the full program by category, and check out a gorgeous preview video for the event, below. Pre-festival tickets — which carry a 20% discount — are available now via the event's website.

For more information, see our dedicated Woodford Folk Festival page under the Festivals tab.

2015-16 woodford folk festival program


Dougie Maclean
Paul McKenna Band
The Poozies
Michael Franti
Harry Manx
The East Pointers
The Duhks
The Weather Station
Irish Mythen
Trinity Roots
Moana & The Tribe
Marlon Williams


Courtney Barnett
Kim Churchill
San Cisco
Lanie Lane
Josh Pyke
Katie Noonan's Vanguard
Paper Kites
Tinpan Orange
Boo Seeka

first nations

Albert Wiggan (Bardi-Nyulnyul)
Kahl Wallis
Jacinta Price (Warlpiri)
Andrea Kirwin
Ancient Cultures, New Conversations, hosted by Rhoda Roberts

folk tradition

Starboard Cannons
Festival Of Small Halls
Noel Gardner & Alex Bridge
Women In Docs
Jeri Foreman
Graeme Connors
Bernard Carney
Davidson Brothers
Ken Waldman
Scott Cook
Ward MacDonald

blues & roots

Leah Cotterell
Lucie Thorne & Hamish Stuart
Hat Fitz & Cara
Dezzie D & The Stingrayz
Nattali Rize


The Bruise Brothers
Grand Spectacular Circus
Macedonia Uska Kan orkestar
Baby Et Lulu
Imogen Kelly
Carita Farrer
Leage Of Sideshow Superstars
Francesca 'La Chica' Grima & Flamenco Fire

world folklines

Ganden Jangtse Monks of Tibet
Bongeziwe Mabandla
Dya Singh
Uska Kan Okestar


Noel Pearson
Mark Jones & Albert Wiggan, with George Negus
John Sinclair
Tiny House Forum
Geoff Wood (ABC Radio National) hosting Woodford Wisdom Talks
The Climate Conversation
Keynote: Bob Hawke


Adrienne Truscott
Candy Royalle
Catherine Deveny
Krissy Kneen
Dave Callan
Geraldine Hickey
Harley Breen
Hip Hop vs Circus
Stand-up vs Slam
Great Comedy Debate
The Comedy Gala