Our favourite bamboo crew are back at the Woodford Folk Festival this year, bringing with them a whole host of exciting new bamboo projects for you to get in, around and under.
Woodford has collaborated with Sydney bamboo design collective Cave Urban and a number of international artists since 2012, which has brought us the incredible works Woven Sky, Woven Cloud, Near Kin Kin, the Pineapple Lounge, the Treehouse, the Mekasan Welcome Gate, the Tropic, the General Store, the Julia Creek Bridge, Iggy’s Bakery and Golden Hour.
Last year the festival also formed a partnership with Arief Rabik of the Indonesian-based International Bamboo Foundation to begin sustainably growing and harvesting bamboo here on site at Woodfordia.
The three way partnership with Arief and Cave Urban is representative of everything that the Woodford Folk Festival is about – collaborating and fostering relationships to create a sustainable, self-sufficient, closed-loop system of utilising available natural resources to creatively build artistic structures, that will provide interactive and immersive spaces, as well as a strong opportunity for education.
The projects this year continue to reflect that concept, and you’ll be glad to hear have the added objective of functionally providing more shady spaces to the festival precinct.
Cave Urban architect Nici Long said, “We’re prototyping different structures to increase shade in the festival and create a greener, garden-type feel.”
New shady spots
- The biggest addition is the new chillout spot called Chill Hill, a bamboo hammock hut designed for all your hangout needs, located on the hill behind the Sacred Labyrinth.
- Chill Hill will be neighboured by the Library of the Leaves, a bamboo library where you’ll be able to borrow books for enhanced relaxation purposes.
- There will also be a new shady green hangout space outside the GREENhouse that will provide seating and inspiration as you sit and discuss the motivating speakers that you’ve listened to throughout the day.
- The area outside Iggy’s Bakery and the Loose Leaf Teahouse is getting a facelift, with the addition of a shady outdoor tea garden so you can comfortably have brekky and a cuppa before heading through the festival gates for the day, or take a break on the way back to the campsite.
- Behind the Coopers bar will also be some extra shady pads for you to lounge about while sipping on a cold drink.
Make sure to look out for the other shady structures around the festival that the ‘Boo Crew are behind.
Bamboo project an exciting exchange of culture and methods
The Mekasan Welcome Gate, a new addition last year, was designed and built by Indonesian bamboo master Amir Rabik.
“Amir was one of the original leaders of the bamboo movement in Bali in the 1970s, so it was a great honour for us to have him come and build with us,” Cave Urban’s Nici Long said.
Rabik is originally from the island of Madura which was home to the original Mekasan traders that forged a link between Australia and Indonesia.
“The title of the Mekasan Gate is at the heart of the cultural exchange story that we’re trying to start with Indonesia and with their family,” Nici said.
“The Mekasan Gate is an emblem for that trade that used to happen between Arnhem Land and the Mekasan Traders and is a precursor to the greater relationship that is to come.”
Three way partnership drives sustainable system of bamboo production
Amir’s son Arief Rabik, director of the Indonesian-based International Bamboo Foundation is heading up the Bamboo Forest Project here at Woodfordia.
Arief’s 1000 Bamboo Villages Program in Indonesia is about regenerating land and providing sustainable income for villages.
His partnership with Woodford which began last year has a similar objective, planting bamboo forests on the Woodfordia hill that will improve the soil quality, as well as provide a large supply of bamboo for Cave Urban’s artistic projects here at the festival.
The bamboo will grow fertilised by recycled festival food scraps irrigated by organic disinfected wastewater from Woodfordia’s cutting edge sewage treatment plant.
Woodfordia has Wamuran local David Kennedy to thank for the Forest Project
As well as the wonderful support from mastermind Arief, the Forest Project would not have been possible without a generous donation from Wamuran local David Kennedy.
Kennedy had been collecting bamboo for 15 years when last year his wife urged him to cut it all down – he asked if Woodford would like to use the roots, and Nici says, “So we went and dug out the root balls and transplanted them onto site.”
Bamboo is known for its fast growth rate, but like any plant it takes time – around six years – to establish the root system.
The addition of the mature Wamuran clumps hugely fast-tracked the development of the forest, and it will now take around four years rather than nine until they’re ready for harvest.
After the first harvest it will regrow about every three years.
With the mature clumps as well as the smaller propagates donated by Jason Bebendorf from Bamboos Wholesale around 140 plants are now growing on the hill.
The hope is that as well as having a self-sustaining supply of bamboo for the spectacular festival artworks, the forest will also provide another shady area in the festival precinct, and maybe even one day another performance venue.
Make sure you catch Nici Long speaking in the Humanitarian Lecture Series throughout the festival at the GREENhouse.
If you’re planning on coming to the Woodford Folk Festival this year, make sure you book your tickets online.
Please note, all tickets to the festival must be purchased before arrival. Ticket allocation will be capped this year and all vehicles will require a Vehicle Pass.