We love the idea of falling unexpectedly into curious worlds and recently were lucky enough to have an actual shared experience of entering an extraordinary landscape of truly felt awe and delightful creative mayhem.
Over New Year we were thrilled to be invited to Woodford Folk Festival which was much like traveling to an exotic country where time was needed to adjust to the shift in rhythm, language and culture. We travelled there in pouring rain with our new gumboots and borrowed umbrella’s wondering on our drive if the whole place had been washed away, but arrived to friendly faces with wide smiles and realised quickly that weather was no deterrent to the magic of Woodford. After finding our tent and collecting correct wrist bands we walked the butterfly pathway towards the entrance reading all the way about each species and what they preferred to eat, not suspecting that once inside we would meet human sized butterflies and be able to help them find their way to their favourite plants.
We breathed our first gasped ‘WOW” as we entered through a bamboo cathedral with a mist of rain falling from the high arch, but this feeling was to be repeated many times over the days. On entering we were welcomed into a festival sized performance game of dare, which spanned days and led to many unusual encounters with bands of strange pirates and traveling minstrels. The Children’s Festival had a gigantic basket ball sculpture with whimsical entry and exit points for balls thrown at all kinds of angles and heights, plus face painting, a sculptural sand pit, stilt walkers blowing skies of giant bubbles, paper plane competitions, a kids cafe and tents for myriad workshops and performances, and this was just a tiny miniscule fraction of the larger festival! We realised quickly that there is a unique rhythm to Woodford, which invites a balance between making choices and surrendering to the serendipity of each moment. It was truly a side by side experience where children and adults can share the wonder through each others eyes. In a single day we did a hip hop workshop, saw a circus show, practiced with hula hoops and on a tight rope, learned to tie 4 different kinds of knots, ate tiny donuts, watched Mama Kin invite two tiny fans to join her on the stage, laughed till we ached with the Top Twins, sat in the shade of hill top trees with thousands of others watching Lior and danced with lantern sculptures under the stars.
An experience of true awe is not a small claim, and to sit next to your own child among thousands of others under a night sky and share an ageless, breathtaking and moving experience is unusual and deeply impacting. The wildness and wonder of Woodford belongs to all ages and doesn’t discriminate or prescribe who is qualified to see it, feel it, or contribute to the magic of it. Woodford Folk Festival was truly an experience of disrupted hierarchies and a wonderland for children and adults alike.
Enormous thanks to photographer © Gregory Lorenzutti for Woodford Folk Festival, 2014-15.