Saturday 26th December – Woodford Folk Festival
Driving to Woodford
Having stayed up far too late last night packing, Bronwen and I didn’t get up until 9:30, and by the time we’d finished packing the Esky it was no longer early.
We left at 11:45 AM, with an ETA of 1:20 PM. Google said traffic on the highway was bad so we took the back road via Dayboro, getting to the Woodford Folk Festival not long before two o’clock. We skipped registration, argued our way through security (who took some convincing) and drove up to our tent.
To our relief our tent was still intact. We dropped all our stuff off at it and set it up, then drove up Thumb Drive to the car parking (i.e. steep grassy hill) and parked (after nearly getting bogged in the grass twice). We then walked back to the registration tent, got our armbands, and went for a wander through the festival.
After getting very hot we walked back to our tent and had leftovers from our Christmas lunch for lunch, then went and had a shower and met some of the rest of the Festival Watch team, who have all camped in their allocated area near the showers.
After a bit of a chat we headed back to our tent and had more Christmas leftovers for dinner, before doing our teeth and trying to get to bed early—at nine o’clock.
Sunday 27th December – The Welcome Ceremony
I had a bad sleep because—for the second Woodford in a row—our air bed went down. Unfortunately we’d not thought to bring any kind of backup, so it’s a bit of a problem.
We got up reasonably early, showered, had muesli for breakfast, and walked down to Bill’s Bar, where we met the rest of the Festival Watch team and were inducted. We were then taken for a small tour of parts of the Festival, before heading down to our donga.
Bronwen and I then wandered the southern half of the Festival until 1:30, when our shift ended.
The Rainy Welcome Ceremony
After our shift had finished we walked back to the tent and finished off some more of our Christmas leftovers, before heading back down to the Festival and spending the rest of the evening wandering around and viewing things.
We made the foolish mistake of not taking our umbrella to the welcome ceremony—despite it having rained earlier—and of course it started pouring down on us and I had to run for the only bit of nearby roof, at a pizza place. The camera got a bit wet, and I missed the whole ceremony.
After Bronwen—who was entirely wet by now—had gone and got my umbrella we walked back to the tent and I dug a small and possibly mostly theoretical ditch around it to stop any water. We then walked back to the festival and stayed there until late.
Bronwen and I shared a langos, a traditional Italian wood-fired pizza, and some sweet potato fries for a mixture of lunch and dinner.
The rain mostly stayed away, though it sprinkled on and off.
We went to bed just after two.
The Air Bed
Due to our air bed disaster we didn’t have any way to sleep. By the time we got back to our tent it was two in the morning and this suddenly became a big problem. I had planned to pump up the air bed and magically hope it stayed up—or at least that I got to sleep before it went down and then didn’t get woken by it—but at two in the morning in The Prairies the campground is very peaceful and quiet, unlike Cloudland that we’re used to, and I really couldn’t use our horribly loud electric pump.
I considered sleeping in the car or driving back to Brisbane but I’d carefully parked the car as close as possible to the tents to make space for other people, so I was worried it might side backwards on the wet grass and kill the people sleeping right behind it, which seemed like a bad idea.
So, Bronwen folded the double bed in two and made a strange kind of wobbly air bed mountain for her to sleep on, and I laid out all my clothes in a row and wrapped them in my sheet as I’d done when camping in Europe, and went to bed.
Monday 28th December – Sleeping
Surprisingly, I had a terrific night’s sleep on my few millimetres of button-filled shirts, while Bronwen wasn’t able to get to sleep for ages. She fell off her bed-mountain four times, had to refold it the other way around sometime in the early morning when it got cold and she had to use the sheet as a blanket so the soft and nice side was upwards, and then had to get up again later when it got even colder to put lots of clothes on like some sort of strange airbed-mountain-dwelling-clown.
Unfortunately, as I had such a nice sleep, and because our tent is so nicely situated and doesn’t get hot in the morning, I awoke at a reasonable time but Bronwen—who had finally managed to tame her air bed mountain—slept in. This was very boring for me.
I eventually woke Bronwen and we caught the bus to the Festival to look in the general store to see if they sold foam camping mattresses—but they did not. This was a big problem and we decided we’d have to drive into Woodford—and then probably Caboolture—to try to buy some. Fortunately before leaving Bronwen asked at the Festival Watch camp and we were lent two small foam-filled air beds by Sue.
Hopeful that this new kind of air bed would not be yet another nail in the coffin of our airbed induced misery, Bronwen and I had some muesli at our camp before heading back to the Festival and wandering through the craziness that is Woodfordia.
Having a phone with a fast charger is proving to be useful—a short stop for coffee at Vollywood brought it from twenty percent up to fifty percent.
We worked from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM, including spending a while manning the gate to Grand Canyon. Despite my fears it proved to be reasonably enjoyable—and the weather was also good, with the hint of rain but mostly just clouds keeping the heat away.
Even though we ate a Byron Bay doughnut (chocolate filled, of course)—and earlier a Mammino ice cream, a Fine Earth Foods burger, a Govinda’s feast, and a wood-fired pizza—around half past midnight Bronwen got tired and we headed back to our tent to see if our newly borrowed beds would work.
We went to bed at 1:30 AM.
Tuesday 29th December – Eating
We slept quite well on our borrowed beds, though I’ve a feeling we may have been able to sleep on anything by that time.
We had to be at work by 8:30 AM so had to get up at 7:30 AM—which was hard. We caught the bus from The Prairies into the Festival and managed to get to work on time.
For some reason it seems there’s more ticket offenders in the morning—our job was much busier than in the afternoon. Fortunately the weather was really good—mostly cloudy, mostly not too hot, and only the smallest amount of rain. It was even clear sometimes.
Bronwen and I had walnut spaghetti from spaghetti junction for lunch, followed by some cashews, then Thai curry, some spinach and ricotta ravioli Napolitano from the amphitheatre, and a piece of date and fruit cake with cream for dessert. We also wandered the Festival all day, not getting to bed until three o’clock.
Wednesday 30th December – More Eating
After not getting to sleep until after three o’clock last night, Bronwen and I slept in until after nine o’clock, and still felt sleepy.
After a shower and some muesli we walked over the hill to the Festival and ate an eight dollar milkshake, two eight dollar wood-fired pizzas (which are twelve dollars for non-volunteers), a five dollar corn on the cob and some twelve dollar nachos.
The weather was excellent—not too hot, a nice breeze, and not rainy.
We worked from 1:30 until 6:30 and went to sleep at one o’clock.
Thursday 31st December – The End of the Year
After a reasonable—but far too short—sleep Bronwen and I got up, gobbled some muesli, and rushed to the Festival to start our 8:30 AM shift. It was quite busy and we found quite a few armband infringements.
After work we bought a Turkish gozleme, followed by Japanese tempura vegetables and rice, then continued to wander the Festival as we had been while working—except now not working.
For some reason, I found myself to be quite sleepy.
The Great Bridge Collapse of 2015
At sunset we went to the hilltop with a lot of other people, and after the sun set we all headed back to the Festival and stood on the small bridge at Vollywood at the same time until it broke. This was highly inconvenient as no one could get into or out of the Festival at that place, including me. Eventually I—and several others—broke through the security barriers and crossed the creek, and shortly after they made a makeshift path through the creek under the bridge. After a (worryingly long) while enough security arrived to get things under control (and yell at me for taking photos), and not long after Woodford people arrived and got some lights set up for the creek crossing people, and set to work stabilising the bridge.
Midnight and the Three Minutes’ Silence
Bronwen and I spent the three minutes’ silence (which Woodford has at 11:30 PM) and midnight at the amphitheatre. Much to everyone’s amusement where we were sitting, someone could be heard snoring throughout the silence.
After midnight we walked to the tent (they’d managed to stabilise and reopen the bridge) to get some warm clothes and a poncho to sit on, then had a vegetarian shish kebab and a tomato, cheese and pineapple jaffle, before sitting in the Chai Tent where we met some of our fellow volunteers and Bronwen had a snooze.
Friday 1st January 2016 – The Start of the Year
Having not yet slept, Bronwen and I walked up to The Hilltop in time for the dawn ceremony, which was a little lack lustre because clouds stopped the sun from shining through in its usual dramatic way.
Then we walked back to our camp, had a shower, and Bronwen went to bed.
I lay about in the tent for a while, very sleepy, then walked down to the Festival where I nearly melted running around taking photos with my tripod to see if I could make some “Little Planets”.
Around eleven I called Bronwen, who met me at Vollywood a while later and we met her Dad shortly after, and had an Abyssinian meal.
We worked from 1:30 PM to 6:30 PM. It was quite hot—no rain at all. We went to Bill’s Festival Director’s report, where we were told that this year’s Woodford looks to have had the largest attendance of any yet—though halfway through the Festival attendance was low, and late day tickets have pushed it over the line.
The Fire Ceremony
We walked up to the amphitheatre fairly early—getting there not long after seven. It turns out there’s quite a lot of spare grass to sit on if you go that early. The fire event was its usual spectacular self, complete with being dangerously hot and throwing burning cinders onto us all. There was a distinct smell of burning hair and I’m fairly sure it was quite dangerous.
Bronwen’s Dad left around half past eleven, and Bronwen and I ate curry samosas, heading back to camp shortly after one o’clock.
Saturday 2nd January – Volunteers’ After Party
Bronwen and I slept in until the people packing up tarps around us became too loud and we had to get up. We had a chat to our department head at his camp then packed up our camp and parked by the front gate.
We wandered around the Festival site as it was being packed down, bought a half price bottle of Fanta from the shop as it was shutting, some kind of tofu salad, baked vegetables with hommus, a large chocolate date ball, some free Greek fried fetta and lemon juice balls that we were given as the stall was closing down, and a chocolate popsicle before heading to the after-party—where I bought another ginger popsicle, a Fine Earth Foods burger & a Fine Earth Foods panini.
We left the after party sometime before ten and drove home, arriving home a little after midnight. It was quite sad, and we had no hot water (or cold water for that matter) as Bronwen had turned the water off when we left, so we had to use our remaining Woodford water to do our teeth and just go to bed, all sad and festival-less.
I kept a (semi-complete) list of the artists I saw in the Woodford app.