Groovin’ with Hat Fitz about Woodford
FOR six days, starting on December 27, 130,000 people ranging from young partygoers to retired groovers will cruise, sing, dance and lose themselves to the music and the moment as the Woodford Folk Festival celebrates its 30th year.
Veteran blues/hill-style singer Hat Fitz calls the festival "a massive event". "There's nothing like it in Australia that I know of. We're lucky to have it on our doorstep."
He should know as he's watched it grow during the many times he's been there in the last 25 years.
In those early days, the festival was called the Maleny Folk Festival but a few years later it became just too big for the Maleny Showground and moved to Woodford, about one hour north-west of Brisbane.
Fitz was a 24-year-old Aussie folk and gospel/blues singer in 1990 and he talked with Seniors about the Maleny days. "There were just a few thousand people then. There was a big creek with a waterhole and everyone was skinny-dipping.
"We had only three or four tents and mine was called 'Eureka.' It was the blues tent and that's where I played. Everything was so kick-back and casual and I loved it."
As Woodford has grown so has his music. Fitz is the bearded half of now international singing duo, Hat Fitz and Cara, (wife, Cara Robinson). Their UK manager is the boss of Manhattan Records and he spends a lot of time booking them all over the world.
"We spend 12 to 14 weeks a year overseas in England, France, Germany and Holland, most of the European countries, as well as Canada and the U.S.
We do about five to seven gigs a week. There are plenty more countries I would like to see," Fitz said.
"I met Cara in Ireland six or seven years ago and that's when my music took the big left-hand turn.
She's a singer and she brought a lot of her Motown soul which we mixed in with my old-school mongrel blues or whatever you want to call it.
Over the years we've been together, we've definitely formed our own sound."
At Woodford he and Cara will do five shows at different venues. "We'll mix the material up a bit so it's not the same show.
We're also doing two workshops on singing and playing guitar.
We'll talk about our past and our sort of music, answer questions."
"We live on the Sunshine Coast at Boreen Point so it's home for a break and then off to the Gold Coast hinterland to record a new album.
"The recording studio is inside a concrete. water tank. It's a got a timber floor and is decked out for sound.
"It'll be different. The album should be released around March or April."