Life & Style Weekend - - CONTENTS - WORDS: KA­RINA EAST­WAY

The Woodford Folk Fes­ti­val is iconic in these parts. In fact, you can’t re­ally say you know the Sunshine Coast un­til you’ve been to Wood­for­dia, home of the in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned an­nual event. What makes it so spe­cial? Well, the fact that you can’t quite put your fin­ger on it helps. There’s some­thing for ev­ery­one. Mu­sic? There’s blues and roots, pop and rock, folk and tra­di­tional. But then there’s com­edy and spo­ken word, work­shops, dance, cir­cus, cabaret, speak­ers and cer­e­mony. And an en­tire sub-fes­ti­val, ded­i­cated en­tirely to chil­dren and their fam­i­lies. And then there’s the peo­ple – the Wood­for­dia com­mu­nity – who take it from an event to a life ex­pe­ri­ence. One of the head­line acts of this year’s fes­ti­val is Woodford reg­u­lars The Cat Em­pire. Cur­rently on tour in Europe, front­man Felix Riebl took the time to share his thoughts with Weekend Mag­a­zine post show. In true rock ‘n’ roll style, at 1.20am from a tour bus in Bel­gium. You’ve per­formed at Woodford many times, what can we ex­pect from this year’s set? The new al­bum ma­te­rial has been go­ing down a treat on our re­cent Europe tour, so we’ll con­tinue to play some of those new songs in the set. But re­ally play­ing Woodford is about the at­mos­phere, so we’ll prob­a­bly write the set list half an hour be­fore the show and change it once we’re up there. It’s such a dy­namic fes­ti­val. All we re­ally aim to do is light it up. You’ve per­formed at fes­ti­vals around the world, how is the Woodford fes­ti­val unique? Woodford is unique be­cause of the peo­ple who go there, how big and di­verse it is, and where it is in Aus­tralia, the site. There are so many tal­ented mu­si­cians and ded­i­cated mu­sic lovers who go there, it’s just a great chaotic com­bi­na­tion of per­former and crowd in­ter­ac­tion. Will any of the other Woodford artists be per­form­ing on stage with you? I’m not sure yet. We haven’t thought that far ahead but given our past per­for­mances it would not sur­prise me at all.

Who are you look­ing for­ward to see­ing per­form (or speak) at Woodford this year? The artists I haven’t dis­cov­ered yet. With more than 20 years play­ing to­gether, how do you see the band has evolved over the years? And the Aus­tralian mu­sic in­dus­try? The record­ing and mu­sic re­lease in­dus­try has been turned on its head, but the live mu­sic in­dus­try is as strong and vi­brant as ever. What’s been the high­light of tour­ing/ record­ing/per­form­ing over the last 20 years for you as a band? That each night is new. Favourite song lyric to de­liver? We’ll steal the light to see. Which song gen­er­ally gets the best au­di­ence re­sponse when per­formed? De­pends where we’re play­ing. And it can hon­estly change from night to night. Of the ones I sing Steal The light, Brighter Than Gold, Two Shoes, Mis­erere, and Call Me Home have all been solid con­trib­u­tors lately. Can you tell us a lit­tle about the new al­bum com­ing out next year? It’s killer. It’s tough but has a lot of joy as well. The rhythm sec­tion parts and ar­range­ments are some of the heav­i­est we’ve ever recorded and there are some gen­uine fes­ti­val an­thems on there as well. What are the plans for the sec­ond half of next year once the tour wraps up? Many dif­fer­ent plans. Ev­ery­one in the group has dif­fer­ent projects, fam­i­lies and in­ter­ests. We’ll take it as it comes and each do what we do. What mu­sic are you cur­rently lis­ten­ing to? Oth­er­worldly Gospel playlist by Nu­mero Group. Any new Aus­tralian artists you’re par­tic­u­larly en­joy­ing at the mo­ment? Briggs, Peter Gar­rett, Spinifex Gum, Emma Dono­van. These are the artists I’ve been spend­ing a lot of time with over the past year or so.

Want to join in on the fun? Head to wood­ford­folk­fes­ti­

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