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Woodfordia 2017/2018

One of my highlights for this year—Linsey Pollak and Lizzie O’Keefe’s work Dangerous Song I missed last year but saw this year

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Eve in Sydney. The city gets super crowded, too many travelers ticking off their bucket lists and way too much FOMO.

This year I did the sessions again (see my last post). This time, our camping spot was amazing so I got to sleep a lot more. No Tai-Chi for me! I wanted to see mainly trad and world and got to see nice gigs, but this year the trad line-up wasn’t as strong. Well, apart from Martin Hayes, but I saw him recently in Orkney, and fiddle players seem to get a lot more out of his gigs than I do.

One of my favourites ended up being the Brisbane Tabla school. They did a special gig where they explained the tabla dialect (vowels and consonants to describe rhythms). The teacher would then voice a sequence and students would repeat it. Nice improvisation, a great flute player accompanying. It stood out, at least for me.

The sessions felt much weaker this year, with some of the great players from the area not coming along this year. I also went to a few Scottish sessions, which is great fun. My favourite session ended up being an impromptu gathering after the session bar had closed, led by the members of Sásta. Amazing energy and relentless playing. One of the best thigs for me was having Scottish cello players at an Irish session. It gave it such a great depth.

My main highlight was a repeat show from last year by Linsey Pollak and Lizzie O’Keefe, Dangerous Song. The show is a dark box with a video projector, with the artists lit inside this box, making them appear as ghostly figures behind the projection. The projection itself was a collection of amazing footage of reef animals. Linsey was playing an electronic sax and modulating real animal sounds, which makes this piece even more haunting. Some times funny, some times sad. This was part of a general protest sub-theme at Woodford this year against the Adani megamine which will make yet another massive wound on this amazing part of the world. This show was, at least for me, beyond comparison at the festival. The work is incredible and worth the listen / purchase / support.

I enjoyed this year’s ceremony a lot more, since it was mainly about over exploitation of natural resources, industrial labour life and worker insurrection. The whole theme seemed a bit revolutionary in theme, with workers smelting their tools in the end and making peace with the ‘creatures’ that I imagine represent natural beings and resources.

The rest of the festival was a combination of resting, playing music and complaining about the weather, which was humid and stormy this year, so more like a steam and less like last year’s bake.

Woodford is still a favourite for me and can’t wait for the next one. This year I also got a nice surprise: dried out cow skulls. But more on that later. For now a photo is enough.