The Cat Empire
The Cat Empire Contributed

The Cat Empire's reign is solid as a rock

The Woodford Folk Festival is iconic in these parts. In fact, you can't really say you know the Sunshine Coast until you've been to Woodfordia, home of the internationally renowned annual event.

What makes it so special? Well, the fact that you can't quite put your finger on it helps.

There's something for everyone. Music? There's blues and roots, pop and rock, folk and traditional. But then there's comedy and spoken word, workshops, dance, circus, cabaret, speakers and ceremony. And an entire sub-festival, dedicated entirely to children and their families.

And then there's the people - the Woodfordia community - who take it from an event to a life experience.

One of the headline acts of this year's festival is Woodford regulars The Cat Empire. Currently on tour in Europe, frontman Felix Riebl took the time to share his thoughts with Weekend Magazine post show. In true rock 'n' roll style, at 1.20am from a tour bus in Belgium.

You've performed at Woodford many times, what can we expect from this year's set?

The new album material has been going down a treat on our recent Europe tour, so we'll continue to play some of those new songs in the set. But really playing Woodford is about the atmosphere, so we'll probably write the set list half an hour before the show and change it once we're up there. It's such a dynamic festival. All we really aim to do is light it up.

The Cat Empire
The Cat Empire Contributed

You've performed at festivals around the world, how is the Woodford festival unique?

Woodford is unique because of the people who go there, how big and diverse it is, and where it is in Australia, the site. There are so many talented musicians and dedicated music lovers who go there, it's just a great chaotic combination of performer and crowd interaction.

Will any of the other Woodford artists be performing on stage with you?

I'm not sure yet. We haven't thought that far ahead but given our past performances it would not surprise me at all.

Who are you looking forward to seeing perform (or speak) at Woodford this year?

The artists I haven't discovered yet.

With more than 20 years playing together, how do you see the band has evolved over the years? And the Australian music industry?

The recording and music release industry has been turned on its head, but the live music industry is as strong and vibrant as ever.

The Cat Empire
The Cat Empire Contributed

What's been the highlight of touring/ recording/performing over the last 20 years for you as a band?

That each night is new.

Favourite song lyric to deliver?

We'll steal the light to see.

Which song generally gets the best audience response when performed?

Depends where we're playing. And it can honestly change from night to night. Of the ones I sing Steal The light, Brighter Than Gold, Two Shoes, Miserere, and Call Me Home have all been solid contributors lately.

Can you tell us a little about the new album coming out next year?

It's killer. It's tough but has a lot of joy as well. The rhythm section parts and arrangements are some of the heaviest we've ever recorded and there are some genuine festival anthems on there as well.

The Cat Empire
The Cat Empire Contributed

What are the plans for the second half of next year once the tour wraps up?

Many different plans. Everyone in the group has different projects, families and interests. We'll take it as it comes and each do what we do.

What music are you currently listening to?

Otherworldly Gospel playlist by Numero Group.

Any new Australian artists you're particularly enjoying at the moment?

Briggs, Peter Garrett, Spinifex Gum, Emma Donovan. These are the artists I've been spending a lot of time with over the past year or so.

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