Woodford Folk Festival 2006

I found myself visiting friends located in Linville and was most surprised to find that Woodford was just down the road a way and that the festival was running. What a fortuitous occasion. I had heard about the festival from the Boola Boola Bush Band and Redwood, but I certainly wasn't prepared for the scale of the event.

I wasn't performing, I was just another patron. I really didn't have a lot of time to spend and only planned to stay a few hours, well that turned out a major underestimation. The festival site is huge! I had to pay the day fee of $80 for entrance, there was nothing shorter.

To make the event truly memorable, it had rained most of the previous day and there was mud everywhere. Everywhere from the car park to the festival itself was just a sea of mud. As I left the festival, the sealed road out was an icon for the festival. The road in was its usual colour, however, the road out was just mud, almost as if it was unsealed.

The sheer scale of the site was the thing that really surprised me, I thought the National Folk Festival was big, not so, Woodford is much, much larger. There are eighteen stages with all manner of music be performed. The first stage was the Blues & Roots stage and I just happened upon a trio of performers in what seemed to be an organised jam. Phil Manning, Fiona Boyes and Geoff Atchison. From what Fiona Boyes said I formed the impression that the organisers just told them to "Get out there and play some songs together". The official program states

Round Rockin Robin
2:00 pm- 3:00 pm
Phil Manning
Fiona Boyes and the Fortune Tellers
Geoff Atchison and the Souldiggers

In reality there were no backup bands, they backed each other up. They each took a turn to perform a song.

I'm still very impressed with Geoff Atchison's guitar playing, very rhythmic and strong and virtually free of the style of the old time Blues players. He's made his own way.

Andrew Claremont was sitting a few seats away, so I walked over to say hello. Andrew gave me a big smile, a handshake and reminded me that if I was in Tamworth during the festival to check out the guitar night on Wednesday night.

I moved on and was just amazed at the number of people and the number of stall holders. It just went on and on and on.

Because of the mud, you had to be careful where you walked to keep clean. Gumboots would have been a good idea for today as some people had obviously prepared for a wet event and were wearing them. Other people decided it was a good time to do the Woodstock Mud Bath Experience. This varied from individuals to large groups frolicking in the mud and being covered in mud from head to toe. As I was leaving I stopped by the Blues and Roots stage and four happy patrons splashing about in a mud puddle. As they got more excited the mud splashed further away. By the time I left, the backs of the chairs in the last row were starting to collect mud, and quite possibly the patron sitting on the chair as well.

Glad I was able to check the festival out as now at least I have some idea what people are talking about when they talk about the Woodford experience.