REVIEW: Woodford Folk Festival 2009
Words by Scenewave Oz - Published on January 15, 2010
The Woodford Folk Festival nestled in the picturesque hills of a 500 acre environmental park land drew an acclaimed international lineup in 2009 backed by a plethora of local and emerging folk acts. Having only listened to a handful of what was on offer I was interested to immerse myself amongst the talented folk artists.
My day started out with James Morrison. I knew he was a household name for those in there later stage of their lives, however he was an act I was really intrigued to see. I wasn’t at all disappointed with his jazzy performance on both keys and the trumpet. The audience was kept on the edge of their seats, with one highlight being a completely improvisatory version of an old favourite with his supporting band.
There were so many acts and performances to be seen across the festival it was impossible to catch all of them. There was such a large range encountered, from highly esteemed female guitarist Kaki King to Lothlorien. Lisa Mitchell drew a large crowd, who were very responsive to her floating melodies and cheeky vocals, as she performed a set largely off her recently released album.
The Middle East, although encountering early difficulties with sound technicalities, quickly settled in to delivering a heartfelt performance. Their musical prowess was obvious through their mastering of flawless harmonies, as well as their continual display of instrumental versatility amongst the band members. They had the large crowd entertained thoroughly for the entire set, especially when they pumped out their hit single, ‘Blood’, with the entire audience singing along.
As the sun set on the horizon and the moon graced the night sky my focus turned to the natural amphitheater.
I was itching to see John Butler Trio in the amphitheater as I had only previously seen them at the Big Day Out. The open setting of the Big Day Out didn’t do them any justice. How my view completely changed. Under the night stars in the drizzling rain the packed out amphitheater saw JBT explode onto the stage with his guitaring abilities, crowd involvement and hits of, ‘Zebra’, ‘Better Than’, and ‘Funky Tonight’. The entire band seamlessly jammed for the entire hour and a bit set with improvisation being the essence of their live performance. The crowed walked away having witnessed one of the best live acts in recent times.
To close an eventful one day outing at Woodford, I stayed in the amphitheater to witness one of the best acts of 2009, Hungry Kids of Hungary. These guys had a tough act to follow, admitting its themselves by stating, ‘How good was John Butler Trio!’. Not letting the rain deter them (or the crowd), they broke into their hits and singles which brought the crowd of loyal supporters back to life with the likes of, ‘Let You Down’, ‘Old Money’, and ‘Set It Right’. On the many occasions I have seen these guys, their awesome rendition of MIA’s, ‘Papers Planes’ has yet to fail in whipping the crowd into a frenzy. The night and one day outing could not have been complete without HKOH closing the set with their Triple J Hottest 100 nominated single, ‘Scattered Diamonds’.