KEEN FAN: Ira Hodgkins, from Kiel Mountain, puts the finishing touches on the campsite at Woodford Folk Festival.
KEEN FAN: Ira Hodgkins, from Kiel Mountain, puts the finishing touches on the campsite at Woodford Folk Festival. Vicki Wood

Woodford a must for volunteer

IRA Hodgkins is only 25 but is a Woodford Folk Festival veteran.

Ira, of Kiels Mountain, has attended Woodford about 20 times, starting when he was about five years old.

Nowadays, he brings his own children.

He and his partner, Elischa Isaacs-Young, who has been attending this festival since its early days at Maleny, are camping there this year with Meherwan, 4, and Francis, who is not quite three months.

They have previously camped in tents but have upgraded their accommodation this year to a 1984 Scania school bus which has been fitted out with a bed, fridge, kitchen and lounge.

Three friends pitched their tents nearby and enjoyed some time catching up under the annexe.

"All day today, it's been quite communal," Ira said.

Ira volunteers at the festival and said he enjoyed wandering around seeing whatever he could.

"Just as long as you're out there having a great time, that's pretty much it," he said.

After so many years at the festival, Ira's said he would feel strange if he was not there.

"There was one year I went out of an evening, and it was weird," he said.

Ira is one of about 2600 volunteers and an expected aggregate crowd of about 120,000 people likely to attend the festival, which starts today and will run until January 1.

More than 500 acts will perform in 28 venues over the seven days of the festival.

Highlights today include Rob Longstaff on the Duck Stage from 11.30am, Mia Dyson on the Concert Stage from 5pm, followed by Darren Percival, aka Mr Percival, from 6pm, and the Violent Femmes at the Amphitheatre from 10pm.

Ira's advice to festival newcomers was to take it easy and try not to see everything at once.

"Just pace yourself. Don't try and do too many things in a day. Just relax," he said.


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