Unspeakables Spoke and Unthinkables Thunk  At Woodford Folk Festival 2019/20 

Unspeakables Spoke and Unthinkables Thunk  At Woodford Folk Festival 2019/20 

A feast for your noodle, this year’s Speakers and Ideas programme features 100+ inspiring, witty and downright remarkable people, covering everything from the environment, politics and government, social justice, health, death, business, education, music and matters concerning Indigenous Australia. We hope it challenges, inspires and exhilarates you as much as it does us. Here’s to spending our New Year period in celebration, contemplation and discussion. 

 Internationally recognised leader in bridging science and spirit, stem cell biologist, bestselling author of The Biology of Belief and recipient of the 2009 Goi Peace Award, Bruce Lipton, visits us from the USA to provide millennials with information, inspiration and an invitation to participate in the greatest adventure in human history – conscious evolution. 

Bruce Lipton
Dr. Karl

Well-known public speaker, prolific writer, multiple degree holder and zany shirt-man, Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, returns to Woodford Folk Festival with his infectious enthusiasm for science and uncanny ability to translate his knowledge with humour and warmth. Dr Karl features alongside Dani Alexander in a discussion exploring our renewable energy future, led by prominent environmental scientist and Former Head of Science at Griffith University, emeritus Professor Ian Lowe, who was chair of the first advisory council to produce a national report on Australia’s Environment in 1996. 

Award-winning journalist, author and host of ABC’s 7:30, Leigh Sales (AM) interviews Michael Gudinski (AM), Australian music guru, founder of Mushroom Records, Mushroom Music Publishing, Frontier Touring and the brain behind events such as Sound Relief. With Leigh’s insightful and straightforward approach, we will enjoy a rare look at Gudinski’s history, thoughts on innovation and entrepreneurship in the music industry.  

Senior producer and broadcaster with ABC Radio National and world music specialist, Geoff Wood, presents a series of Wisdom Talks that explore sounds from around the world, the communities that they ring out from, the cultures they cross and the people they touch. Special guests include, Nadia Rahim and Farhan Shah, who explore how to situate Pakistani, Indian and South Asian Sufi music traditions and heritage within the vast world of Sufism; Tenzin Choegyal, who was exiled from his homeland, Tibet, but continues to connect to the wisdoms and traditions of his birthplace through song; and Fiona Ross, a Scottish tradition bearer of Scots songs and ballads, now continuing her passion in her Australian home.

Leigh Sales
Michael Gudinski

Head of Indigenous Programming at the Sydney Opera House, Rhoda Roberts (AO) returns to Woodfordia with, Ancient Culture, New Conversations featuring special guests, Papua-New-Guinean-born Ngaiire, whose powerful soul and future R&B is informed by her experiences with cultural adjustment; Kamahi Djordan AKA Constantina Bush, one of the first graduates from the Aboriginal Centre for the Performing Arts and Australia’s premier Indigenous showgirl; Archie Roach, with his newly released memoir, Tell Me Why; and classically trained pianist and vocalist, Indigenous Canadian, Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher.

Rhoda Roberts

In NAIDOC Week 2019, the Queensland Government launched Tracks to Treaty, a project to  work towards a state-based treaty between First Nations of Queensland and the Queensland Government. Prominent Aboriginal Advocate, Noel Pearson, will deliberate this treaty with Jackie Trad MP, Queensland Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and the principal hand in formulating the Tracks to Treaty project. Joining the discussion will be celebrated journalist, Kerry O’Brien, an appointed Tracks to Treaty panellist. 

Noel Pearson
Kerry O’Brien

Dark+Disturbing is a curatorial project of Vernon Ah Kee, conceptual artist and a founding member of the Brisbane-based proppaNOW artists’ collective. Vernon’s work critique’s Australian popular culture, particularly the dichotomy between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal cultures. The project is initiated under Iscariot Media Pty Ltd, a company founded by Vernon’s partner, Leesa Watego, specialising in Indigenous, creative and online projects. Watego has worked as an academic at Queensland College of Art, Griffith University in Indigenous Art and Protocols with a focus on Indigenous Cultural and Intellectual Property. The pair will share the process of building Dark+Disturbing as both a curatorial project and a sustainable and profitable business. 

Vernon Ah Kee
Leesa Watego

In wake of two raids on news organisations in June, there has been a public outcry, two parliamentary inquiries and a barrage of questions about what those raids mean. Is freedom of press really under threat in Australia?  Professor Peter Greste is a founding member of the advocacy group, the Alliance for Journalists Freedom, and the UNESCO Chair in Journalism and Communication at the University of Queensland. In his presentation, Greste will discuss freedom of press, the media and legitimate journalism. With word that the ABC will be privatised, Peter Greste, Vikki Uhlman, Scott Emerson, Christine Jackman, Ian Dearden and Jill Morris will discuss what might happen if we lose the ABC and with it, a free and independent broadcaster.  

Leader of the Australian Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, will discuss the life and legacy of the late Bob Hawke, who never missed a Woodford Folk Festival after attending his first in 2008. This session will mark the Woodfordian launch of a biography of Bob Hawke, a work of 40 years by his wife, Blanche d’Alpuget. 

Bob Hawke and Festival Director, Bill Hauritz. Photo: Katie Bennett

Join Liz Clinton and Isaac Trigar to hear the stirring and heart-warming results of the truly compassionate venture of two 20-year-old-mates. Founded by Nic Marchesi and Lucas Patchett in a Brisbane garage in 2014, Orange Sky Australia is the world’s first free mobile laundry service for people experiencing homelessness. On their mission to improve hygiene standards for those living on the streets, the two young men stumbled on something that furthered the significance of their already meaningful operation – the power of a conversation. 

Learn the various therapeutic benefits, synergistic effects, medical uses and industrial applications of cannabis and explore the reasons why we are still having difficulty accessing affordable, Australian-grown medicinal cannabis, despite legislative changes that came into effect in 2016. Horticultural research scientist, Emily Rigby has been working in the field of medical cannabis since these legislative changes and is Director of Research and Compliance for Cannatrek and Director of Research Programs for the Australian Institute for Medical Cannabis Inc.  

A clinical herbalist, writer, researcher, botanist and lecturer, Kathleen Bennett enjoys sharing herbal and plant information with her audiences. Join her this year for a lesson in crafting herbal teas tailored to suit them and their families, covering everything from formulation techniques to making teabags. Bennett also shares her wisdom on the magic of the mushroom in a presentation on fungi’s profound contributions to medicine. 

One of the world’s most innovative, imaginative and charismatic storytellers is coming to this year’s folk festival. Neil Gaiman is a multi-award winning, #1 New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen books beloved by adults and children alike including, American Gods, Coraline and Stardust. Marking the close of Woodford Folk Festival for another year and the beginning of 2020, this remarkable story-spinner, myth-maker and word-weaver opens up the Hilltop to the glory of a tale told well.  

Neil Gaiman

“The speakers at this year’s Woodford Folk Festival are leaders in their field, passionately communicating their ideas, encouraging rebuttal and discussion, and engaging communities in an open discourse on the world around, inside and above us,” says Festival Director, Bill Hauritz. With over 100 speakers gathering for one of the largest Speakers events in Australia, the possible ideas, discoveries and revolutions stretch far beyond the horizon.  

Explore the full Speakers and Ideas programme here and start planning your thought-provoking Woodford Folk Festival 2019/20 experience. 

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