300 volunteers get Woodfordia shipshape
AN ARMY of volunteers is transforming a patch of the Sunshine Coast hinterland into a town capable of supporting a live-in population of 25,000 for six days as the Woodford Folk Festival gears up for one of its best years on record.
Ticket sales are already 20% up on the same time last year and organisers are quietly confident that well over 100,000 people will visit the event at some stage between December 27 and January 1.
On Monday night backpacking students from Stuttgart, a bamboo architect from Belgium, former career soldiers and others from across Australia gathered for a meal and a cold beer at the festival's Sitting Duck Restaurant, which is serving as camp kitchen for the 300 helping to set up in blistering 37-degree heat.
A spectacular burst of thunder and lighting heralded rain that lasted a brief five minutes, but brought relief from the heat that had lingered into the night.
Festival director Bill Hauritz is hoping for more showers between now and next Thursday to green the grass and freshen the trees before patrons begin pouring into Woodfordia to be entertained by a line-up of 438 acts in 35 venues.
The acts include The Saints, Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, Dallas Frasca, Archie Roach, Jeff Martin, Angus Stone, the John Butler Trio and Julia Stone.
Mr Hauritz said as always every single performance would run on time as per the program.
Helping it all come together will be 3000 volunteers working in 150 separate departments managing everything from sanitation to artist transport and all manner of things in between.
Without them the festival simply could not function, a simple fact acknowledged in its organisational structure which, rather than being pyramid-like with the chiefs atop, instead is a series of concentric circles with clearly defined tasks and reporting lines.
Mr Hauritz said he marvelled at the enthusiasm of the volunteers.
He said one drives down from Atherton each year, works his butt off in the set-up and then heads home for Christmas before the festival proper even begins.
Volunteers are fed and watered during the set-up and are given tickets to the event in return for their labour.
"We love it,'' one of the German students, on a break before starting university, said.
"We changed our plans to be part of this.''