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Woodford Folk Festival 2018/19: impressions and experience


We hit the road once again to present a series of creative workshops for community at the annual Woodford Folk Festival.

The Honourable Leeanne Enoch, Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef, Minister for Science and Minister for the Arts, even dropped in for a visit.

One of our terrific volunteers who joined us for the festival, Leela Wittmer gives us her insights of Woodford. 

The Hon. Leeanne Enoch and Mick Byrne of State Library The Edge outside the workshop tent at Woodford Folk Festival


I am a librarian with State Library of Queensland’s Information and Visitor Services team.

This year I volunteered to help the Edge team run their workshops at Woodford Folk Festival. Any of my colleagues will know that I have been angling for this since about March last year. I love the festival and have worked there for many years in different capacities. I wanted to stay connected to that and still support my workplace over the Christmas break. I also wanted to introduce a family tradition to my young son and partner (my mum and I have been going for years). I like experiencing Woodford through the lens of a contributing member – volunteer, worker and presenter. It gives me a shape and a context to my days and (probably rather ‘narcissistically’) I like to feel a little special among the 100,000 other punters.

Experiencing the festival as a librarian excited by their new career, workplace and industry was particularly special and exhilarating. I have always admired the work and vision that State Library staff put in and deliver but I was overwhelmed by how dedicated they are to their overall purpose and philosophy in every part of their process…which is a lot like the organisiation that runs Woodford Folk Festival.

For example, Woodford Folk Festival (the organisation) believe strongly in their stewardship of the land and their responsibility to take care of it and enact that philosophy by putting in place strict rubbish, recycling and compost rules for vendors and punters. The Edge team is the science, creativity and technology arm of the library and – building on the community service function of a library – have an overarching philosophy of making the physical equipment that facilitates science, technology and creativity accessible for the community. They enact this by bringing equipment and ideas into spaces or communities – like Woodford Folk Festival – that would otherwise not be exposed to that.

Steam Punk LED workshop


Every workshop was booked out and we had positive responses to all of them. They were smooth and well-rehearsed everywhere except where you wouldn’t want them to be. During the Steam Punk LED workshop, where participants were asked to build a small cog mechanism attached to a circuit that powered a small LED light when the cog was turned, everyone built their mechanism using the organised information pack provided and it went like a well-oiled machine. In the Moulding Custom Icey Poles workshop there was recycled plastic from one end of the tent to the other, people collecting rocks to make iceberg shaped icy pole moulds and rock-shaped ice cube trays (get it?!). It was messy, creative and everyone loved it.

Icey Pole workshop


We had incredibly excited responses from participants and passersby. I spoke to Queenslanders excited by opportunities on offer at State Library, I spoke to Edge regulars and members happy to see us at Woodford and lots of people from interstate who were jealous that State Library of Queensland has such incredible facilities.

I believe the State Library are wonderful addition to the festival and the festival is a wonderful addition to the State Library’s program repertoire.

The Cardbaord Claw workshop