Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Jackie Kerin, Spirit of Woodford Original Stories and Yarns Performance Award 2012

The Woodford Folk Festival (Queensland) is a five-day event packed with music, lectures, workshops, poetry, storytelling, dance … Visitors arrive from around the world to participate.

In recent years the Storytelling Award has been managed by David Hallett who does everything in his power to make sure that the trip is smooth – getting the short list out before the cost of air travel spikes, organizing a shuttle from the airport and generally being available and supportive.

I was thrilled to learn that Rachel Welsh had been shortlisted this year. I first heard Rachel tell a story at the Sydney International Storytelling Conference in 2012 and was hooked. This Woodford was particularly poignant for Rachel as 18 years prior, she had arrived at the first Woodford Festival with her eight day old daughter. At the time Rachel was on the organising group and in those very early days, hand wrote hundreds of festival tickets. She also managed a bar and venue called ‘The Club’ for a few years in the same spot that is now the ‘Duck’ (the storytelling venue this year).

The Spirit of Woodford Storytelling Award is the most generous offered in Australia. Even being shortlisted has its rewards which this year included a seasons camping ticket and two free tickets to the festival. This amounts to about $1000. For the lucky storyteller who wins the award, another $1000 plus a beautiful etched glass trophy is theirs to take home.

As a Victorian, these incentives are significant. I simply wouldn’t be able to afford to go without the free tickets and this year I had the fun of sharing the festival with my daughter.

I’m pleased to say that I was the 2012 recipient of The Spirit of W. I thank David Hallett and the Woodford team and sponsors. I have returned to Melbourne full of stories and ideas.

The Storytelling Award is promoted by Storytelling Australia (Vic) but of course information is available on the Woodford Website with the application form. Stories are between 5 – 10 minutes and the only stipulation is that the stories should, in some way, ‘lift the spirit’. This year the performance poets made a great splash; a few more classical storytellers would have provided a terrific balance.

Soooo ... Storytellers … get on board in 2013!

Learn more about :
Woodford Folk Festival

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