FESTIVAL AT IT'S BEST: The Woodford Angel walks amongst the crowds.
FESTIVAL AT IT'S BEST: The Woodford Angel walks amongst the crowds.

GROWING UP AT WOODFORD

WOODFORD FOLK FESTIVAL

AGE has not wearied (many of) us.

We are the elders leading the tribes to folk/rock/blue festivals.

We who once wore flowing skirts, flares and flowers in our hair - are still wearing them.

While our hair may have greyed (or disappeared) and our vision slightly blurred, we still stand tall at environmental forums, singing workshops, surf comps, poetry slams and pop concerts.

We are warriors in the yoga mode, we swing an energetic Tai Chi circle, and we meditate, contemplate and travel among our parents, children, grandchildren and peers.

We are all over 50, over 60, and like the amazing singer/musician activist Buffy St Marie whose incredible performance at Woodford Folk festival provoked thunderous applause, we are over 70.

A trip to Woodford shows reveals one of the great qualities of contemporary elders, is our desire and ability, for intergenerational connections.

Checkout the Woodford Festival crowds, the youngest carried in cradles and the eldest pushing walking frames, while the vast majority between early teenage and very late adulthood stride, saunter, and sway to whatever entertainment takes their fancy.

It wouldn't have happened a generation ago, it couldn't have happened. While a few over 50s were classed as bohemians, the rest took on restricted, prescripted, conservative adult roles that frowned upon the antics of youth.

But then we came along.

The crazy kids of the 60s and 70s all grown up, shaped by the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, miniskirts, surfboards, dented by drugs, free love, divorce.

Our lives stretched between grandkids and our own parents all at once.

There we were making up a good percentage of the 130,000 Woodford festival goers.

We landed in droves on the hill to see Paul Kelly, his songs that step up and sing about the point of all the living things around us.

Our kids and their kids love him too, his opening night concert attracts a huge crowd.

His daughters Maddy and Memphis Kelly, have joined his band as the talented back-up singers. The differing age-groups join up again and again at the Blues tent, Folklorica, Songlines and other venues.

All ages, shapes and sizes clutching at Iphones, video cameras and laptops.

This year there were no food or beer tickets, you lined up with your money on card or in hand and had it converted into a chip enclosed into a wrist band.

Good idea, the abolition of unwanted scrap paper. But there was a good deal of lamenting over an initial $3.50 conversion cost and the fact you had no choice but to pay it, because it was the only way to do business.

Same with the cups, you paid an extra couple of dollars on your initial drink purchase and kept it for the duration (unless you swapped for a clean one).

When it comes to Woodford, there's so many things to talk about the bands, the art, the opening and closing ceremonies, the weird and the wonderful.

But the really beautiful thing, the thing that isn't practised, constructed, readied or relied on, is the intergenerational gathering.

The big circle that is created and linked, that shrinks and expands and every year strengthened by another generation, no matter what the age.

Happy 30th birthday Woodford.


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