CROWD favourite Archie Roach has announced he won’t make it to this year’s Woodford Folk Festival.
But he will definitely be there in spirit while former prime ministers Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd will be there in the flesh.
It’s been a tough year for Roach, a renowned singer/song writer whose performances always draw large crowds.
His health has not been good and instead of appearing at Woodford, he will be resting in preparation for a musical tribute to his wife, soul mate and musical collaborator Ruby Hunter, who died earlier this year.
The tribute, Nukkan Ya Ruby, will honour Ruby’s life through her songs and stories.
And Ruby is not the only one with a tribute.
Although Archie won’t be at Woodford, his spot on the Concert and First Nations stages will feature a tribute to his career.
A Song for Archie will reflect the joy his songs have brought the nation and feature artists such as Shane Howard with King Kadu, Blue King Brown, Radical Son, Tim Freedman, Leah Flanagan and Microwave Jenny.
The finale will be an all-in rendition of Took The Children Away in honour of the award-winning performer.
The stellar line-up, who will sing to Archie’s success and health, will join an impressive list of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders performing at this year’s Woodford Festival, which will be held from December 27 to January 1.
The festival features a collective audience of about 120,000 and an eclectic mix of 3000 performers, artists, thinkers and environmentalists to keep the large crowds entertained.
For its 25th anniversary, even former PMs Bob Hawke and Kevin Rudd will make an appearance, joining Kerry O’Brien and Sandy McCutcheon among others in a line up of speakers.
Mr Hawke and his wife Blanche d’Alpuget are returning for their third festival.
Mr Rudd has never attended the festival before and will spend just one day there due to heavy commitments.
He will speak about the future direction of Australia and its place in the world.
The Woodfordia site will host 620 acts performing at 22 venues – all indoor except for the large amphitheatre.