What a wanderlust weekend playing with my children and hanging out in Woodfordia, planting trees!
A fun WET weekend (apparently the first wet Planting in 18 years)!?
We pitched our tents in the rain on Friday night and head into the festival to try to make the most of the night.
The kids are immediately on the Woodforidan page… you mean “we all get to live happily ever after?”
I am writing two more blogs on the Planting Festival – one on the man behind the festival Bill Hauritz and the other blog about the festival through my children’s eyes.
One of my favourite moments was walking back from planting some sapplings with my son and meeting a new friend, Mel.
Two hours earlier we found ourselves standing around literally in the pouring rain listening to Noni, Peter, Tim and Helen explain plants in the wetlands, the importance of butterflies and the dilemmas of modern day weeds.
Fascinating as it was, I must confess I only caught about 30% of the wonderful knowledge being shared as my imagination was already chasing rabbits in the fields and being distracted with wander…
And I noticed my son wasn’t far behind me day dreaming.
We buddied up with random strangers but after working together planting trees they felt like old mates.
This is a short clip that summarises a beautiful, lusciously wet and green weekend.
On the first day Woodford Festival I was dazed: bands, bars, brazilian meat and bush pantomimes. It’s only on my second day that I start to pause longer in tents and absorb what is happening.
Zenning out at the start to the Labyrinth at Woodford
The Festival is a place for all people, including myself. It’s like a adult version of Willy Womka’s Chocolate Factory – a total sensory smorgasbord. It’s delicious, daring and fun!
Pretty much everything you would like to try in the arts is here and more.
You would need a full day just to take in the art works. I even recognise a few pieces from the popular Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast.
The impromptu sculptures scattered throughout were breath-taking and fun.
This face mask lit up at night and was really cool.
As side from the physical arts, there were performing arts.
Pop-up tents teaching people how to chant, and sing, jewelry making, how to dance, all sorts of yoga, lantern making, workshops on making didgeridoos and more.
The full arts and craft programme is impressive and most people book one or two of their arts/craft sessions when buying their tickets.
From the outside it is a grown up creche but for the academics in social behaviour it is a perfect way to foster connection, teach new skills and let people connect left and right hemispheres of their brains. I have written a separate blog on the positive hormone changes it creates on my naturopath page.
The cross breeding and propagation of free thinking is beautiful to experience.
Over the days, I am privy to hear Prof Ian Lowe on environmental issues, talk to people about coal seam gas and be inspired by one of the land’s best orators, Noel Pearson.
On New Year’s Day people make the morning pilgrimage to watch the sun rise. Thousands of bodies lie together watching the new year unfold. This photo was the second after a massive bubble had popped.
Each morning kicks off early – around 8am. On New Year’s Day I find myself singing with The Voice sensation Darren Percival . His voice is incredible and his sessions so much fun. His presence is very angelic and worth seeing if you find him on the “menu” in 2016.
Many people go for the music and it is second to none. I felt a little like being back in New Orleans where there is music on every corner. Woodfordia is a little like that.
Music is played into the early hours of the morning. No curfews and lock out and no rowdy crowds, just folks having a fantastic time.
There are so many funky bands that it’s hard to remember them all.
My favs are Tijuna Cartel (photo above), CC The Cat, Benny Walker, Andrea Kirwan, Lauren Kate, The Hot Potato Band, Briggs and more!
Comedy shows are hysterical and leaving me howling in laughter and smiling from ear to ear. I love this place!
Interestingly my body is craving yin foods and detoxing.
It is easy here. Detoxing, nurturing your body and eating vegetarian and vegan is easy. The food stalls are awesome and most of the food is reasonable and it is certainly plentiful, even at midnight!
Juicing is easy !
This van was my favourite, and the green smoothie (made on Almond milk is the best).
I am not surprised when I hear a few people saying this is their annual detox.
It would be a perfect way to detox and cleanse… camp and simplify life, have massages and cold showers, sleep whenever you feel the urge, see bands, do art, listen to inspiring speakers and do yoga. Juice, eat vego and cleanse your mind… voila there you have a very cheap health retreat for 5 days!
A big part of Woodfordia is respecting and protecting nature. You can buy trees to plant which is done in June each year at the Planting Festival.
After a few days at Woodfordia I am feeling incredible love. Like many, I will be waiting eagerly for the next one in 360 days .
Sensory immersion, ecclectic diversity and beautiful people being not doing. If you are into music, arts so or simply expanding your being, put Woodford Folk Festival on your bucket list.
A place where your taste buds are tingled, your eyes teased and your body is tickled!
It’s the most ecclectic fun I have had in a while.
I am not even sure where to start.
Execpt I know that upon reflection day one is the most extraordinary mind blowing experience and then day 2 you get the jist of it all and by day 3 you are really finding your groove.
I think and in no particular order that the first day ran a little something like this…
Arrive at Woodfordia camping grounds and find myself pulling into the Priaries in a lush paddock full of newly woken Woodfordians rubbing sleep out of their eyes. I pitch my tent (all by myself) and find my way along Lois Lane to the festival. My tent is pitched in “Goneamy Way” street, which is beside “ Bombsaway” and “ Let’s go this Way”
Up dales, down dales, past fairies and unicorns, the whole place is incredible.
After a chilled wine, which we are trusted to sip while walking around various venues (so mature), I find myself listening to a talk with Noel Pearson (what an incredible soul and orator) on environmentalism and helping minority groups such as indigenous, become self reliant through eco systems, permaculture etc.
Woodfordia self regulates. There is a definite non-code of consensus in some areas – dress, beliefs, singing, being etc but a definite code of “we don’t tolerate closed minds, non tolerant, critical people. Leave your rules, and laws at the front gate. Or don’t bring them up at all. Namaste, thank-you, bless”.
The art is stimulating and is a like a living art gallery.. stills, scultpure and acting arts (singing, pantamine and more).
The music is awesome. Blues, Jazz, funk, hip hop, folk, regae rock. It is endless.
We are all talking a similar language and defintely similar vibration. No angst, no stress and the only time commitment is working out how quickly you can walk the distance between two tents to see the next gig, comedy or talk.
People are muttering the same things too…
” How long have you been coming? Isn’t it wonderful!”
” I wish this was how we lived all the time”
The community is strong and self regulated. No BS, no over the top rules and great freedom.
People are gathered up in a wave of love and collective conscience of beauty and gratitude. This is a festival worthy of an annual visit!
This visit I am priveledged to catch up and see my friend’s band, CC The Cat playing. A funky five piece that play mellow, groovy reggae tunes perfect for an open air gig or a jammed hyped crowd. I dig their tunes and love the band.
I will write more about the labyrinth, the fire festival on subsequent blogs….
For now it is 330am, and I realise that it’s time to let my body drift to another Woodforia… cloud land. A glorious walk over the hills into Woodfordia and I am here in my beautiful nest to sleep with all the other “ villagers” in a very happy prairie vale.
It’s exactly what I expected without having any expectations and I love it.