Caroline Hutchinson
Caroline Hutchinson

Woodford is good for the soul

IS it just me or does everyone think the best antidote for Christmas indulgence is getting down and dirty with the hippies?

This time last year my family was away and we seriously missed our Woodford Folk Festival fix.

Usually when a bunch of hippies gets together with a plan to change the world not much comes of it.

Woodford Folk Festival is a jewel in the hippy crown, a shining example of the way life should be lived.

Last year's festival was held in the middle of the Queensland floods.

Festival director Bill Hauritz says those dark days forced his team to revisit their "reason for being" and ultimately strengthen their resolve to keep going, to keep building a festival that makes the world a better place.

I love Bill Hauritz and I love his festival.

No matter how young or old you are if you live on the Sunshine Coast and haven't given it a go you don't know what you're missing.

Alcohol isn't a big deal at Woodford.

I know you probably read that with a wry smile, but I never see (or smell) much of the other stuff either.

I see happy people dancing in the rain, making way for others, helping strangers manoeuvre prams, laughing, chatting and making new friends.

The crowd at Woodford is remarkably young, but there are plenty of us on the wrong side of 40, too.

Music-wise, non Triple-J listeners might struggle to recognise the bulk of the acts of the main stage, but there are Xavier Rudd, Renee Geyer and Colin Hay for the less hip and happening.

Beyond the music, though, is the real heart of the festival: rows of quirky stalls, a smorgasbord of international food, interesting debate, comedy, circus, street theatre and a general celebration of community.

You get the feeling everyone involved in the festival, from the artists to the 2500-odd volunteers, are having a great time.

My favourite memory is watching a three-year-old shake his thing in front of a Sydney Blues outfit. Totally engrossed, the little fellow couldn't help but get underfoot.

But, as the older rockers bumped into or even tripped over him, not one of them got cranky or looked around for his parents. They just got out of the way and let him dance.

There's no doubt Woodford looks a little like a silly hat convention and if you've never been you might just want to dip your toe in with a one-day pass.

But go for it.

Woodford Folk Festival is good for the soul.