Queensland’s Woodford Folk Festival have cancelled their 2020 event amidst on-going COVID-19 restrictions. The festival was originally planned to run from December 27 to January 1, with 2020 marking their 35th anniversary.
On Friday (August 14), festival owners formally announced Woodford would not proceed this year after “hinting at this for weeks now.” Instead, two five-night camping experiences will be on offer – called Bushtime.
Bushtime will see Woodfordia’s 500 acre site transformed into a holiday experience, featuring concerts, science talks, bush walking, yoga workshops, plus other arts and culture-based activities.
The time has come for us to formally announce that Woodford Folk Festival will not be going ahead this Summer. It feels…
“Our team have spent a lot of this year hopeful that we could do a scaled down version of Woodford, but the more we studied, the more impossible it became,” Executive Director Bill Hauritz said.
“We can never meet reasonable guidelines rightly imposed by authorities to make it safe in this Covid-19 world”.
Each year Woodford Folk Festival curates upwards of 400 artists and musicians across 25 venues, aggregating a crowd of 130,000 and revenue of $20million.
The event draws in a substantial amount of tourism from both interstate and overseas, with tourism figures from 2017 stating at least 10,500 people were visiting. This cumulated to over 216,000 nights of visitor stays, according to The Music Network.
Queensland Tourism Minister Kate Jones believes the newly founded Bushtime will “deliver a great boost for local businesses at a time when everyone is doing it tough.”
“Woodfordia is one of the most beautiful places in the world to visit and Bushtime gives visitors another reason to book a trip to the region.”
Event organisers are hoping Bushtime will “fill a hole” in the absence of Woodford Folk Festival, enabling current staff to stay employed and potentially provide another attraction to add to the festival’s repertoire, even when it returns.
Hauritz and his team have received $170,000 in government funding, through Arts Queensland, to put towards the September initiative.
Moreton Daily reported Leeanne Enoch, State Minister for the Arts, as saying: “The Woodford Folk Festival team have found an innovative way to activate the festival site, provide unique experiences for locals and visitors, and provide jobs for Queenslanders working in the arts and cultural sector.”
The first week of Bushtime will run from Saturday 19 September to Wednesday 23 September, with the second instalment from Saturday 26 September to Wednesday 30 September.