The enchanting streets of Woodford Folk Festival

by Haley Smith

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Lantern Parade. Photo cred: Kalum

The streets come to life at Woodford Folk Festival with colourful attractions day and night.

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Uptown Brown. Photo cred: Dylan Crawford

Uptown Brown performs an array of 1920s-1930s jazz and blues, this talented one-man band hits the streets of Woodford Folk Festival with a charming smile and energetic stance as he entertains anyone who passes by and encounters his unique sound. People begin dancing in a circle to his jazz and blues beats and kids hop along to the sounds of the drum on his back as he jams his way through the streets.

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Goat Track Theatre. Photo cred: Woodford stock

A group of humans dressed as magpies squawk by, their white and black wings glistening in the daylight sun. They are a part of Goat Track Theatre, a a national leader in youth theatre and community arts, driven by values of courage, care, connection and creativity.

Their mission is to grow the confidence of children, young people and the communities they work with. They glide through the streets with glistening wings and camo pants pretending to flap their wings, marching back and forth in a coordinated sequence. Everyone stops to take footage of the unusual sight travelling around the festival with kids pointing and laughing at their movements.

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The Elders. Photo cred: Meg Williams-Day

The enormous Elders who grace the streets throughout the day are looked upon in awe as they tower over the crowd below. Their giant bodies force people out of the way to let them through the dense mass of people. Some kids eagerly run up to them and grab onto their giant hands but others cower away behind their parents, concerned by the enormous giant towering over their tiny bodies.

When the night falls, the streets of Woodford come to life with a different kind of crowd. The lantern parade graces the streets with the elegance of sea creatures in glistening blue and white lights dazzling the festival goers with the magic of the night.  Everybody, young and old, is enchanted by the brightly lit parade travelling the streets. The parade is inspired by the sea creatures’ theme of the festival with beautiful seahorses, jellyfish and guitar playing sea monkeys.

Lanterneer Mark Sywak dresses as a unicorn seahorse for his contribution to the festival atmosphere.

“I love coming to Woodford Folk Festival each year and to be part of the Lantern parade is just the cherry on the cake,” Mark said.

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Lantern Parade. Photo cred: Haley Smith

The Kimera Visual Theatre creates elaborate and enticing costumes combined with alien movement to give life to mythical creatures, and this creature is the embodiment of mystery and myth. This all-black thrilling creature greets patrons with curiosity and strikes a sense of uncertainty into all it encounters.

The curiosity is adorned with multi-coloured lights that fade and beam in a movement of their own making the slick creature seem even more alive in the eerily light cascading over its body.

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Creature of the night. Photo cred: Woodford stock

The street life of Woodford Folk Festival offers so much variety that it’s impossible to be a part of it all. 

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