BIG FINISH: Woodford Folk Festival revellers celebrate in style.
BIG FINISH: Woodford Folk Festival revellers celebrate in style. Contributed

Woodford attendance a record

WOODFORD Folk Festival has celebrated its 30th anniversary with record attendances, a $6.15m box office and a surprise cameo performance by English folk rock singer Passenger.

Festival director Bill Hauritz said the gate takings and a record 126,996 attendance coupled with a new layout and new venues had set the event up for the next decade.

"Festivals all over Australia appear to be in decline,'' he said.

"We're an exception but not the only one.''

Mr Hauritz said he was not sure what could explain the resilience of Woodford over the past three decades.

"There's no question that this (year) has been the best response we've received from performers, organisers and patrons,'' he said.

"One truth is that we've had fantastic weather. It was perfect except for rain on the opening night.

"We did not see the temperature get over 31.

"We are telling first timers that it's always like this.

"I don't think anyone would argue that it was by far the strongest cultural program ever.

"There was a huge lift in our investment in visual arts.

"It's also been the best behaved festival. There were a couple of minor incidents.

"It's been a remarkable festival. We are all exhausted but absolutely overjoyed with the feedback. It's been wonderful.

Unbeknown to organisers English folk rock singer Passenger (Michael Rosenberg), who played at Woodford before his career took off, was this year a patron commuting each day from accommodation near Maleny.

It wasn't until December 30 that he rang organisers and asked if he could be squeezed in somewhere to play a few songs.

Organisers didn't let anyone know he was performing until 10.30pm on New Year's night half an hour before he went on stage in Bill's Bar.

Despite the short notice 600 patrons enjoyed what Hauritz described as a "fantastic" one-hour long set.

The festival finally wound down on Saturday night with a break-up party for 2000 volunteers and organisers.


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