The sound was already magical but then the tent full of men turned around and smiled.
A trip to Woodfolk Folk Festival in Queensland is a a whimsical journey to a place less ordinary. It's a special six days where music, circus, comedy, dance, art and singing are accessible to everyone. Amongst the trees and sounds of nature, festival-goers can watch world-class musicians on stage, join impromptu jam sessions, juggle, chant with Tibetan monks, dance with Hungarian gypsies, listen to philosophy, chill out in the shade, enjoy an icy cold beverage listening to Celtic music, try pottery, poetry, make a paper lantern, groove to hip-hop or just sit back and soak it all in.
Or, you can do as I did yesterday at the Singing Space and watch a tent full of men sing. With the amazing Darren Percival in command, in one short hour this group of men of all ages, from all walks of life, transformed from a nervous-looking, slightly reluctant-to-be-here group into a tent full of proud, confident, smiling men belting out tunes. Watching the courage of these men, many of whom struggled to sing a note in tune, being supported by the other men in group as they sang solo into the microphone for the first time ever, was one of the most inspirational experiences of the Festival. As the men turned towards the hill, unaware of the crowd that had gathered on the hillside to listen, the pride in their smiles was unmissable as they saw us all. In one short hour they had created a strength and a bond through singing. They believed they could fly and so did those of us lucky enough to be listening.
With a new year almost upon us, it's this Woodford sense of community, mateship and support that makes me forget the festival sweat and dust and look forward to a beautiful 2017.