Woodford Folk Festival's three-year secret revealed

WOODFORD Folk Festival organisers have lifted the lid on a secret they have managed to keep for three years.

Just weeks out from the start of the 30th anniversary event, they have taken the wraps off a panoramic festival poster that has been three years in the making.

STORIES TO TELL: Woodford Folk Festival artist-in-residence Gavin Ryan has delivered his masterpiece.
STORIES TO TELL: Woodford Folk Festival artist-in-residence Gavin Ryan has delivered his masterpiece. CONTRIBUTED

Festival director Bill Hauritz said the work of festival artist-in-residence Gavin Ryan would have profound consequences way beyond the production of the work itself.

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"Patrons this year will really notice the huge lift in the visual impact and atmospherics at the festival," he said.

"It's the culmination of three years' work and people will be moved - this is the year.

"Our last three festivals have held common threads within the festival themes - an exploration of our identity as individuals and then relating this to a broader community context.

"Gavin's illustrations have brought these ideas to life. It has been wonderful working together and it's been hard containing our excitement."

Ryan began the "triptych" by drawing individual characters by hand and then scanning them into a computer to be coloured and manipulated into intricately detailed posters.

"It's a labour of love," Mr Ryan said. "By the end of a poster, I have come to know each of the poster characters as individuals with their own personalities."

The poster release coincides with an ambitious partnership project between the Woodford Folk Festival and Tourism and Events Queensland.

TEQ commissioned mural artist David Hooper to produce two murals- 10m wide and 3m tall - based on artwork by Mr Ryan.

Painted over four days, the murals can be found in Sydney, at 217 King St, Newtown, and in the Melbourne CBD at the street art location of Hosier Lane.

Reggae musician Nattali Rize, who has performed at Woodford many times during her international career, went to check out the artwork in Melbourne and was moved to say: "I have more fond memories of Woodford Folk Festival than I could possibly count. It is one of the greatest festivals in the world and such a great example of what life should be like - a vibrant, diverse, colourful celebration of all forms of artistic expression. It's a world within a world where conscious culture, community and creativity rules."

Festival general manager, Amanda Jackes says ticket sales have been strong in the lead-up to the 30th anniversary event.

An independent study into the economic impact of the Woodford Folk Festival found the 2014-15 festival contributed more than $30.8 million to the Queensland economy, with an aggregate attendance of 126,000 people over the six days of the festival.

"We've had a steady increase in sales comparatively to last year," Ms Jackes said.

"We are feeling positive."

Pre-festival tickets with a 20% discount are on sale now. For more information on festival ticket pricing and camping options, visit woodfordfolkfestival.com/tickets.

The festival runs from December 27 to January 1.