Campers get a headstart on festival fun
EARLY-BIRD patrons streamed into on-site camping areas from Christmas Day to begin preparing for the 32nd annual Woodford Folk Festival which starts today and runs through until January 1.
By today's start the festival would have transformed the 202.34ha former dairy farm into Australia's 67th largest town.
For Madison Watson and 70 per cent of patrons, the 2017/18 Woodford Folk Festival is not their first.
Madison has flown down from Townsville with her mother for what would be her eighth Woodford while her father drove their camping gear down for a Christmas Day set up.
"You have to get in early,” Madison said of the family's early start.
"I love how free everyone is. People come to the festival and immediately change into whoever they want to be and do what they want to do. And I love how honest everyone is.”
Festival spokesperson Jasmin Midgley said more than half the camping areas had filled by midday Boxing Day with the first arrivals having begun to set up on Christmas Day.
More than 400 artists, speakers and performers, 200 food and craft stalls, 220 visual arts workshops and 2700 volunteers would entertain and provide services for an estimated 130,000 ticket holders during the six-day and night festival.
Tent City, the temporary accommodation hub for campers without their own tent, features close to 1000 tents while another nine camp grounds provide space for people who began setting up their own gear on Christmas Day.
After record attendances at the 2016/17 event, festival organisers decided to cap numbers this year in order to preserve the atmosphere and comfort level of patrons ahead of the installation of $3m worth of infrastructure development made possible through the support of the state government and Moreton Regional Council..
A state-of-the-art shade structure has been installed on parts of the main thoroughfare on which the Parlour Venue sits, along with entry to the Sacred Labyrinth, Chill Hill as well as numerous stalls.
Woodford Folk Festival general manager Amanda Jackes said despite 120,000 trees being planted on site over a number of years, there had not been until now sufficient shade for patrons on the main festival streets.
"This year we're working with Cave Urban to trial an installation which we hope will be rolled out on other streets in further years,” Ms Jackes said.
"We hope it will be great respite from the sun for some lazy shopping and dashing between venues to follow your new favourite festival performer.”
The collaboration with Cave Urban has also seen the introduction of the Chill Hill chill out space on the hill at the start of the road to the amphitheatre.
It features the Hammock Hut, a bamboo shade structure 10 metres high, 20 metres long and between 8 and 12 metres wide, draped in hammocks and decked out with all the cushions and comfort patrons need to relax during the six-day event.
Following feedback from patrons, the RFID payment system would return for purchases at the festival's 35 bars as well as at food and merchandise stalls, the Festival Shop and the General Store.
The reusable cup system introduced at the 2016/17 festival would be repeated preventing more than 250,000 cups from entering landfill.
Tickets were only available online at the festival's website.
The event is supported by the Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland as part of the It's Live! In Queensland events' calendar.