Happy folk, keep playing happy folk
IT’S that time of year again when the fancy of many a young southerner ( and not a few older ones as well) turns to travelling north, not just for the beaches but for one of our most successful human congregations, the annual Woodford Folk Festival. Like Woodstock without the excess, like Altamont without the violence, Woodford is a safe place where a seven- year- old, as one festival- goer in this inspired DVD tells us, can wander happily for three days and come to no harm. Held for six days and six nights ( December 27 to January 1), Woodford showcases 2000 to 3000 performers in 400 events. Obviously, any amount of written description can only fall short of the Woodford experience. Next to being there, this DVD comes as close as you can get. Based in the tiny village of Woodford, between the Brisbane Valley and Queensland’s Sunshine Coast hinterland, the setting is appropriately idyllic, and the festival organisers recommend full immersion for the total experience, which means camping on site, surrounded by natural bushland framed by the Glass House Mountains. This is the third DVD of record made by Justin Brown of Browndog and he has done a magnificent job this year of capturing the soul of the festival, the wonders of the street, the joy of the children, the unbelievable energy and brilliance of the performers and, in rain and blistering sun, of the appreciative crowds. While the names ( the John Butler Trio hardly need play as the crowd seems to know every note) are there, it’s Brown’s habit of wandering into a tent to find an accordion band in full sway or a white- suited harpist belting out Spanish folk songs that makes this DVD so engaging. People everywhere look incredibly relaxed and ( can it be so?) happy.