Amidst the anxiety and angst generated by the bushfires and the underlying threat to our planet they reflect, there are still islands of optimism and hope.
This year’s Woodford Folk Festival is seeking to be one of those islands.
The theme for this year’s event, running from December 27 to January 1 is ‘Imagining a beautiful future’.
Such imaginings might seem like a stretch at the moment, but organisers hope to encourage organisers and patrons alike to explore ways to think positively about the future of the world.
‘We don’t want to inspire false hope, but if we can imagine a brighter, more promising future together, we’ll make one,’ festival organiser Bill Hauritz said.
‘Troubadours in medieval times carried the news, sang the stories and painted pictures of governments, places, wars and beauty. Musicians and artists were held in high regard.
‘Woodford Folk Festival aims to create a platform where artists, speakers, comedians and scholars can profess their views in the ancient troubadour traditions. It’s about the here and the now, where we come from and visualising a clearer path to our future.
‘It’s through these artists, their spirit, their words and their passion that we can together, discover our beautiful future. We truly hope that this year’s programme inspires, excites and challenges all of our patrons the way it does us.’
Among the headline acts this year are Australian folk/country legend Kasey Chambers, Emma Louise, Amanda Palmer, and Lior.
For those seeking a more urban sound, Horrorshow and The Heard will also hit the stage as part of a celebration of hip-hop label Elefant Track’s 21st birthday.
Some old favourites such as Kate Miller-Heidke, Harry Manx, Electric Fields and Archie Roach will return, along with a host of imminent social commentators and journalists such as Dr Karl; Leigh Sales (who will interview Michael Gudinski) and Dr Bruce Lipton, the American author of ‘Biology of Belief’.
These are just the tip of the melting iceberg.
There are more than 1,600 shows across 25 stages during the course of the festival, as well as multiple workshops and spontaneous street performances.