My aim is to travel from the UK to Brisbane for one of my best friends' wedding. Plane travel is so environmentally damaging so I am looking for another way. I also think that by travelling over land and sea I will be able to understand our world better as I will connect with the people and landscapes and not just look at the departure board in the airport. Any tips gratefully received!! Departure date 1st September.

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Happy Woodford New Year

I arrive at the beautiful Woodford Folk Festival site on 15th December to a mass of square white tents - very strange to a British festival goer - but I soon realise the value to protect from the sun. They are boring though and a few stripes wouldn't go amiss! Anyway a warm Woodford welcome is received and I set up camp as close to a tree (shade) as I could. Work is chilled for a few days so I get to know the people - all shapes and sizes of friendly folk and yum food from the wonderful Duck and Shovel team. Monday, I set to work with enthusiasm as the Woodforce workers sweep the site making it look good - weeding, strimming, litter picking and tree planting - I put in a Bunya Pine especially for the beautiful Jessa Lady who I wish could be here. After a few days I get put on a new project which is such a scoop, especially for a member of the 'Recycled Venues' dream team! Along with Lu I get to design and build a Smokers Garden for the VIP Committee Room. We have 6 days, no tools and no materials but a promise of two 18 year old male helpers - could be a challenge! Lu and I get on famously and get set on our design. Our enthusiasm and dedication rubs off on others and soon we have tools and materials coming out of our ears and people offering to help from all over. Our design is organic and evolves to be a spirit of elements; water, fire (from the smokers!), metal, earth, wood, stone and wind. We slogged our guts out through sun, rain and mud and even worked 5 hours on Christmas day and a few hours holding everything from washing away in the storm of Boxing Day! The result is Barlu (Barbara and Lucy) and thanks go to Lu, Max, Leo, Roo, Cruiser, Zak (for the leatherman and for laughing at us in the rain!) Mal, Sherman and Karenna as well as all others helpers and the carpenters Steve and Cheryl who made it work. ( During the festival we overheard a comment from a smoker in our garden ' This is the best beer garden in the world, I don't know why it just is' What praise!!) The festival finally started as our small community expanded and thousands of punters came and shared our creations. My role changed as I started work with the Chai Tent. Thanks to Nigel for getting me in. This bunch know what they are doing having been at every Woodford so far, they are also a bit of an institution. I had great fun serving chai (and drinking chai), serving cake and eating cake! whilst also having a laugh with the lovely staff and punters who got gradually wierder as the days went on. I also got to see some of the best music of the festival during work (which never felt like work) on the Chai Tent stage chalkboard or late night music sessions. One lasting memory will be of the whole place jumping to the beat of the Jambezi team - beautiful! Other highlights were Leo - great, egotistical French Gypsy, Ska, Punk specialists really got me jumping in the mud (oh yes - it felt more like Glasto with 4 days of mud and rain starting the festival off! Where were the 40 degrees days I had been warned of?!) Also great were the John Butler Trio - more mud and jumping and mexican waves. Zavier Rudd is a miracle and I just wished I were not so tired and could dance more. Playing the kick drum, snares, guitar and digeridoo all at once!!!!! this is an amazing sight to witness. Also notable were the Sensitive New Age Cowpersons - hilarious and very clever and seeing some of the dances of the local indigineous people the Dungidau dancers and the Doonach Dancers. Soon it was all over and we were back to our small team of volunteers and organisers. A special party on 2nd January to give thanks was 'briliant' and funny. A lantern parade and special video were the highlights as everyone tried to party their weary feet on. Litter picking was our next task (a joy for a skip fiend!) but it was fairly clean. It is crazy what valuable stuff people leave behind and I wish I was not limited to what I could fit into my backpack. tents, tarpaulins, clothes, flip flops, pegs and tent pegs by the dozen! I scored 3 new hats and 2 dollars 80 cents! (1 pound!) Free pinapples in abundance as people start to drift away. I finally have to leave as I get an impromptu lift out and head back to the 'real' world.....(as per usual - photos to follow...maybe!!!)


At 4:20 am, January 10, 2007, Blogger Zak said...

Glad you enjoyed the festival so much Babs... It was an absolute pleasure meeting you!

At 8:21 pm, January 10, 2007, Blogger LimePulp said...

Hi Babs

You have had worst weather then back here, New Year eve got winded out up north due to high winds.

Glad you had a great time at the festival, was a bit worried about you and the festival when I checked the forecast for down there but good to see that all your experience of muddy festivals in the UK came in handy.

All the Best for the next leg of your trip.

Loads of Love & Luck

Steve XX

PS. can't wait to see the photo's


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