A feather falls, drifting lazily toward the scorched earth. Summer beats down on freckled knees, as Emir kicks the dust and wanders on through days drawn long and golden. The chirp of a lonely hatchling becomes a song, and soon a child with a bird becomes a youth with a phoenix - and few are ever that lucky.
The days wear on, and the inseparable pair teach one another the things we all must learn. Yet as summer’s end approaches; goodbyes come too soon. Emir learns that in the silent hour of sadness, help is never far away if you need it.
BONFIRE: THE SUN
The sun burns fiercely in the sky, giving light and warmth…or drought if the balance is lost. Rolling through the sky along the same path each day, pausing briefly in the purple glow of noon, before falling gently into the sea and allowing the darkness to creep across the world.
Our bonfire represents our farewell to the old year and our hopes for the new, together in the shared warmth of a bonfire on the first day of the year.
We are delighted to embark on an ambitious puppet project in an exciting collaboration between some of the world's leading puppet artists. Orla Clogher + Dave Young, renowned for their work designing puppets and parades with Irish spectacle theatre company Macnas, will join Bryan Woltjen - who created the sphere people of last years show and co-created the Auryx in 17/18.
Hong Kong based costume and puppet designer Jozef Koda, who's background includes working for world-leading entertainment company Dragone, and Universal Studios Singapore - will design the puppet costumes and other character puppets.
The Woodford Folk Festival, an event of international standing, is held annually over six days and six nights from Dec 27th through to January 1st. More than 2000 performers and 438 events are programmed featuring local, national and international guests. This year will be the 34th Woodford Folk Festival and the 25th held at Woodfordia.
Ceremonies have always held a special significance for Woodfordians as a place for annual traditions, rituals and customs. The first Fire Event was held in 1989, with six performers and a band. Directed by Neil Cameron, the Fire Event nurtured a talented and loyal team of artists, theatre makers and volunteers who returned year after year to build large-scale lanterns, props and of course the signature bonfire sculpture.
In 2003, dear friend of the festival, musician and long-term Fire Event artist, Paul Lawler took the reins as Director and ushered the Fire Event through another decade of amazing shows. In 2012 – 2013 we welcomed Director Joey Ruigrok van der Werven into the Woodfordia family, bringing Joey’s experience and influences of spectacles from across Europe.
Alex Podger, literally a baby of the Fire Event, is the current Fire Event Director and works with an extraordinary team bringing to life important stories for our time through images, music and theatre. The fabric of the ceremonies draw threads from all corners of the organisation and is truly a collaborative project coming from the heart of Woodfordia.
The show is built from the ground up onsite using mostly reclaimed building waste and up-cycled materials over six weeks by a dedicated team that grows from 6 to 160 people, consisting of professional artists and dedicated volunteers from across the world in a truly gargantuan feat of artistry, hard work, resourcefulness...and more than a bit of sweat.
The music is composed specifically for the event by a team of composers, songwriters and sound designers, and performed with guest artists and Woodfordia's own orchestra and choir; 400 festival patrons learn the score each morning of the festival to play it live together - for the first and only time - on New Year's Day.
The Fire Event is created by a dedicated team of over 160 volunteer artists, makers, puppeteers, performers, painters and technicians, with the support of many more festival departments, contractors, volunteers and staff.
We wish to sincerely thank them all.
COMPOSER + ORCHESTRA DIRECTOR
FIRE CHOIR DIRECTOR
FEATURED MUSICAL ARTISTS
SPECIAL GUEST PERFORMANCE
Boban Markovic Orkestar
LANTERN PARADE + MAKING COORD
WRITER / DIRECTOR
STAGE MANAGER, SHOWCALLER and ASSISTANT DIRECTOR
EMIR PUPPETS DESIGN
PHOENIX PUPPETS DESIGN
Alex Podger + Patrik Marsh
BONFIRE IMAGE DESIGN
Steven Hill + Alice Goed
FIREWORKS SUPPLIED BY