Bill gets the festival he’s always craved
THE 2012-13 Woodford Folk Festival was the one organisers had always planned and hoped for, festival director Bill Hauritz said yesterday.
"It has been fantastic culturally and the weather has been perfect," Mr Hauritz said.
"We got a lot of things right this year."
Although 2004 remains the biggest event, numbers are up at least 15% from last year.
Festivalgoer Kimberly James said she loved the atmosphere.
"What I love about Woodford is that I am seeing an eclectic mix of people, a lot of middle aged to mature aged couples enjoying the bands.
"Woodfordia is just becoming a visually beautiful place to be - the trees, pathways and light displays are getting better and better every time," Kimberly said.
The highlight for many, including Mr Hauritz, was the visit from Prime Minister Julia Gillard.
She arrived on Sunday with only a day's notice.
"She made us all nervous knowing she was coming, but she was absolutely charming and it was very moving," Mr Hauritz said.
Another highlight for Mr Hauritz was meeting Malcolm Turnbull, although he was quick to say politics was not on the agenda.
"I know politics are not front and centre of the festival but they are critical to our future. Politicians are often treated badly and they deserve our respect," he said.
Councillor for the area Adrian Raedel said Ms Gillard's visit could only benefit the region.
"Whether you love her or hate her, either the person or the politics, the visit by the PM has attracted millions and millions of dollars worth of free publicity for both the festival and the Woodford town," Cr Raedel said.
"It is everywhere - Facebook, online blogs, newspaper sites, just about every channel, and in great debates and conversations everywhere. It would be great to see the flow-on effects to the town in customers coming to check out this place called Woodford they had heard of.
"You just can't buy brand recognition for the town like this. Whoever is PM next year will also need to make the trip."
The folk festival wound up with the annual Fire Event, which attracts thousands of visitors every year.
"The theme was that we put in our cargo what we want to take into the future and leave what we don't behind," Mr Hauritz said.