American alternative rock legends Violent Femmes will headline this year’s Woodford Folk Festival.

At first glance, Violent Femmes (of Blister in the Sun fame) might seem like an odd fit with the folk festival, but the band’s co-founder (and Australian citizen) Brian Ritchie says it’s all a matter of perspective.

“Folk means people and Woodford offers the honest music of the people of most parts of the globe,” he says. “Another definition might be that it’s a temporary city in the humid rain forest where people co-exist for the sake of listening to that music. Any way you look at it the range and mass of art and audience at Woodford is unique in the Aussie festival scene. I enjoy attending Woodford because there are always surprise gems like a sitarist playing by candlelight or Canadian maritime music around a campfire. The organisers are music lovers foremost and put their hearts into it.”

Violent Femmes will be joined by Bertie Blackman, The Cat Empire, Archie Roach, Nahko and Medicine for the People, The Topp Twins, Sticky Fingers, Kate Miller-Heidke, Jeff Lang, Lau, Matt Anderson, Christine Anu, Tiny Ruins, Del Barber, We Two Thieves, Shooglenifty, Led Kaapana, Hiatus Kiayote, Mia Dyson, Darren Middleton, John Smith and Jenn Grant.

Not just a music festival, Woodford also hosts leaders in politics, arts, academia and sustainable business. This year’s speakers include Bob Hawke, Josh Fox, Rhoda Roberts, Uncle Jack Charles, Catherine Deveny, Sean Choolburra, Richard Fidler, Robert Llewellyn, Juice Rap News, Karen Middleton, Nigel Brennan, Tim Cope, Tenzin Choegyal, Professor Ian Lowe, Rod Quantock, Fiona Scott Norman, Anna Rose and Simon Sheikh.

The Woodford Folk Festival will be held at Woodfordia from 27 December to 1 January. Over 400 acts will present 1556 shows across 35 venues over six days and nights. For more info, visit our event guide.