WOODFORD has launched its 2016 festival program with a line up set to re-enforce record early bookings for the six-day event between Christmas and New Year.
More than 400 supporters were at Woodfordia for the launch of the 2016 Woodford Folk Festival Program crammed with 400 acts involving 2500 performers across 25 venues and six days.
Head of Programming, Chloe Goodyear said the 2016 festival would be both a year of firsts along with a year of great past-performers returning.
"We are pretty sure there are going to be some delighted supporters and as always, an abundance of new discoveries," she said.
Among the headliners in a festival line up from which audiences invariably determine their own are Buffy Sainte-Marie (Canada), Paul Kelly & Charlie Owen, Half Moon Run (Canada), Wallis Bird (Ireland), The Bamboos, Dr Karl, Urthboy, Amanda Palmer (USA), Meow Meow, Lake Street Dive (USA), Thelma Plum, The Little Stevies, Tash Sultana, Keith Potger, Swamp Thing, Hot Potato Band, Tim O'Brien (USA), Chad Morgan, Sharon Shannon (Ireland), Steve Poltz (USA), Jerron 'Blind Boy' Paxton (USA), Yirrmal, Kev Carmody, Die Roten Punkte, Gregory Page (USA), Vieux Farka Toure (Malia), Jaron Freeman-Fox and the Opposite of Everything (Canada/USA), FourWinds (Ireland), Gang Of Youths, Dubioza Kolektiv (Bosnia), Xylouris White (Greece/Australia), Judith Lucy and Charles Firth.
Record early bird ticket sales announced at the festival's Programme Launch on Saturday night have bolstered the energy stocks of festival organisers, with big cheers all round from the 400 in attendance.
Festival general manager Amanda Jackes told the program launch audience that ticket sales being up 10% up on last year was a vote of confidence from patrons.
"Our history has shown that ticket pre-sales can be volatile and don't always reflect what happens on the day, but it has to be a good sign for us," Ms Jackes said.
The festival attracts more than 120,000 people each year to the six-day program of trad, blues, folk and rock, world and indigenous music as well as dance, circus, spoken word, comedy, a series of pertinent conversations in the speaker's program and a full-to-the-brim separate Children's Festival.
It is set in a stunning 500-acre parkland north outside Woodford which has been created into a perfect venue through careful stewardship, tree plantings and the development of all the infrastructure necessary to support the huge crowds that descend on the former dairy farm each year.
Premier and Arts Minister Annastacia Palaszczuk said Woodfordia was a very special place for tens of thousands of people who attend the internationally-acclaimed festival each year.
"My government is proud to support Woodford Folk Festival through Arts Queensland and Tourism and Events Queensland, recognising the importance of this annual event in enhancing the State's cultural vibrancy and driving visitation to Queensland," Ms Palaszczuk said.
Festival Director Bill Hauritz said artists were a conduit to an appreciation of the human experience.
"Without artists we might as well be living on the surface of the Moon, devoid of the air to breathe ... they provide inspiration, beauty, thoughtfulness and commentary on our lives and their influence on our culture is profound," Mr Hauritz said.
"At Woodford they're let loose and make a great festival experience for everyone," he said.
The festival will feature master puppet maker, Daniele Poidomani who has created 14 giant puppets to explore the festival in the evenings and star in both the opening ceremony and flagship finale, The Fire Event.
In what is now a third collaboration with QUT Creative Industries, students from a variety of creative disciplines will work with Mr Poidomani to bring the puppets to life for the festival shows.
Two of the puppets, Astrid and Naught, feature in this year's Festival poster which is the first of a new triptych series by Woodfordia artist-in-residence, Gavin Ryan.
In his comic welcome in the official festival program book, Mr Hauritz parodied the Mission Impossible theme. He invites festival patrons to accept the mission to spy for "The Bureau" on insurgents who are creating an "epidemic of art that could break loose and contaminate our communities at large".
The Queensland Government through Tourism and Events Queensland supports the Woodford Folk Festival as part of the "It's Live! In Queensland" events' calendar which highlights Australia's best events in spectacular locations.
Go to woodfordfolkfestival.com for the program and Early Bird tickets.