Artists from Canada, U.S.A, Ireland, the UK, Japan and as far afield as Sweden and Iceland join more than 350 local acts on the bill for this year’s Woodford Folk Festival.
One hour’s drive north of Brisbane, the iconic Australian event – the largest gathering of performers, artists and speakers in the country – continues to provide ticket holders with access to performances by international musicians of renown.
Now in its 32nd year, the 2017/18 line-up sees another strong contingent of artists from Canada including Juno winning trad trio The East Pointers, husband and wife led six-piece Digging Roots, Celtic-folk singer Teresa Doyle, Indian-Tanzanian-Canadian storyteller Alysha Brilla and folk-roots powerhouse duo The Small Glories.
Joining forces for one of two special showcases in Canada: Songs For Happiness, these acts from the Deep North will share a favourite song or tune that brings them happiness, as well an introducing their own heart-lifting work.
Koady Chaisson from The East Pointers, who are returning to the Woodford Folk Festival for a 3rd time, says the festival is a great opportunity for international acts to share their music with a diverse Australian audience.
“The audiences we get at Woodford span many generations, and I think that makes it clear that anyone can get into our music,” he said.
“People dance even though they don’t know the traditional way to dance to this music – there’s a lot more flailing arms and legs here than in any other country. We dig that.
“I love the people at Woodford – the people who come to this festival, the people who run it and who volunteer at it. I love how there’s no ego here. People can come and be who they are.
“It’s a festival, but it’s more ‘a place’.”
Joining these Canadian favourites is another wonderful representation from Ireland including singer-songwriter Eleanor McEvoy, irreverent four-piece Breaking Trad and master fiddler Martin Hayes and guitarist Dennis Cahill, who while American by birth is the son of two Irish immigrants and known internationally as one of the world’s finest players of traditional Irish music.
While a record number of local and international artists will appear at the festival for the first time this year, four American groups and artists are also on their maiden voyage to Woodfordia, as the dedicated 500-acre festival site is known.
Grammy-nominated artist Bruce Molsky is headed down under in December to lead the trio Molsky’s Mountain Drifters, as is quartet Rising Appalachia, folk raconteur Vance Gilbert and Colorado-based five-piece The Railsplitters.
All will play numerous sets of their own work across the festival’s 6 days as well as some of the songs they believe will unite us in another one-off performance titled America: Songs for Unity, helmed by fellow American and Woodford Folk Festival veteran Kristina Olsen.
Woodford Folk Festival Head of Programming Chloe Goodyear travels the globe each year scouting the best in traditional and contemporary folk music and says it’s an honour to have artists of this quality at Woodford.
“We have been so lucky that international artists who’ve been with us before have spoken well of the festival, and the festival’s reputation is growing,” she said.
“We meet many of these artists through conferences, showcases and at other festivals, but many relationships are formed via other artists – for example, The Railsplitters are here through our relationship with The East Pointers.
“So many international artists have had absolutely wild receptions from our audiences, and that has to feel good – especially if we happen to be their first ever show in Australia.”
This warm welcome is often matched by the heat of the Australian summer, in stark contrast to the icy reaches of Scandinavia where pop duo My Bubba, a partnership one half Icelandic, the other, Swedish, hail from.
Also now calling Sweden home is Ramy Essam, who is coming to Woodford best known as the ‘Voice of the Egyptian Uprising’ after his song Irhal – directly translated in English to ‘leave’, became the anthem for the 2011 Arab Uprising.
Closer to home in the Asia-Pacific, for the first time this year Japan is represented at the festival with not one but two acts. John John Festival is fast becoming Japan’s most popular Irish music band, while ‘loop pedal ninja’ Kenta Hayashi is also experiencing similar success as an alternative/indie artist.
The full 2017/18 Woodford Folk Festival programme is available online here.
All tickets to this year’s festival must be purchased online here, and require a vehicle pass.
For media enquiries contact:
Jasmin Midgley, Media and Promotions Manager
Now in its 32nd year, the Woodford Folk Festival has become known around Australia and internationally as a leader in contemporary and traditional arts programming.
The Woodford Folk Festival plays host to an aggregate audience of 132,000 at a dedicated 500-acre festival site known as Woodfordia, one hour’s drive north of Brisbane. Held every year between 27 December and 1 January, the 6-day festival is Australia’s largest gathering of performers and presenters.