'It's Crucial That This Year Works': Woodford Folk Festival Reveals Audience Decline

4 May 2024 | 11:17 am | Mary Varvaris

“Our attendance for the Festival fell way short of what we needed to make it a financial success.”

Woodford Folk Festival

Woodford Folk Festival (Credit: Jake Sun)

Woodford Folk Festival is at risk of collapse after its 2023/24 event saw an audience decline of 34%. The festival’s Managing Director, Amanda Jackes, is urging its supporters to spread the word and buy tickets early for the 2024/25 edition.

In an open letter to subscribers and press, Jackes cited the precarious situation Australian music festivals find themselves in, with the recent devastating cancellations of longstanding events Splendour In The Grass and Groovin The Moo.

Jackes began the letter by stating that despite the festival’s community spirit “in no way diminished” at its recent edition, “our attendance for the Festival fell way short of what we needed to make it a financial success.”

Reminding readers that in the weeks leading up to the latest Woodford Folk Festival, the event’s “biggest selling period of the year”, Jackes wrote that the news was all about storms and blackouts in SE Queensland. As the festival went ahead, punters received messages about the weather and were warned not to leave home if they lived in Brisbane or the Sunshine Coast.

“While the first two days were hot and the last couple of days gave us some rain, the weather at Woodfordia did not live up to the media hype,” Jackes’ statement continued.

“We were generally happy with the way the festival site held up and as many of you know, we are somewhat protected with the festival nestled into the valley. This cycle of weather and the news around it impacted our Day Patron numbers, which resulted in a reduction of 34%; however, we still went close to selling out our season camper tickets.”

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Not wanting to become one of the 50+ festivals announcing its cancellation, Jackes is asking for your help buying tickets as soon as possible.

Early Bird tickets will go on sale on Wednesday, 22 May, and the general sale will begin on Tuesday, 28 May. Sign up for the mailing list to be the first to know when tickets are available.

“Woodford Folk Festival has traditionally had a strong presales culture with so many of you, our beloved patrons, making your decision early in the year that you will be making the pilgrimage to Woodfordia,” Jackes added. “We are so grateful for this and are asking for your support this year in particular. We promise to delight you with our very ambitious programme.

“Because of the impact of last year's festival results, it’s crucial that this year works. Once again, we’re asking all of you to get behind the festival and help us make it happen. Woodfordia itself is at stake, and we know it is in the downtimes when we need to have faith in our loyal patrons to help us.”

Jackes has shared the catchphrase “THIS IS THE YEAR” to inspire punters to support one of Australia’s favourite festivals. “And we’ll do our bit to make this year’s festival the best yet.”

In the meantime, Jackes and Woodford’s organisers are gathering to work on what didn’t go right in the 2023/24 event and plan the 2024/25 event.

The latest Woodford Folk Festival ran for six days and nights, starting from 27 December and culminated in a grand New Year's Day Fire Event. Artists who performed at the event included Kasey Chambers, Ben Lee, Kate Miller-Heidke, Steph StringsMo’JuYirrmalFourPlay String QuartetLeah Flanagan, Odette, Haiku Hands, Bumpy, Aya Ives, Loretta, Late November, Felicity Urquhart & Josh Cunningham, and more.