Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Meryl Dorey took the last piece of my hippie soul and squashed it into the Woodford mud.

This is me with my Mum. We're at the Woodford folk festival. For years I have been going. It's almost a Christmas time tradition. It always rains, and it's always muddy. Unfortunately I moved far away four years ago, and have only been back twice since. I love the music at Woodford. I love the dancing at Woodford. I love the different cultural displays at Woodford. I couldn't wait to take my daughter to the child's festival at Woodford, in a couple of years. I couldn't wait to see how the organizers had integrated the "Dreaming" festival into the folk festival. And the FOOD! Awesome. It's something about the atmosphere (and I don't mean just the 'exciting' smoking wafting around). I even took to saying that "everyone needs a little more woodford in their lives"

On my last couple of visits up to the festival I became more aware of the sheer amount of 'woo' on offer along side the hare krishna vegan lunches and Bollywood dancing workshops. There are palm readings, crystals and reiki . With a little bit of critical thinking, google and logic, one will quickly find that these practices are pseudo-scientific and fantasy. "Buy hey," I shrugged "It's just a bit of fun". It was a hippie festival after-all. And that's why I liked it. It's not like anyone was getting hurt...

You've heard the saying "It's all fun and games until someone gets poked in the eye". Well, the Woodford folk festival is the fun, the person doing the poking is Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network and putting children at risk of vaccine preventable diseases is a lot more serious than a poke in the eye!

Let me explain. The Woodford Folk Festival  has invited the anti-vaccination lobbyist, to speak this year. Meryl Dorey has been investigated by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, and the report for the Australian Vaccination Network wasn't exactly complimentary. So, as a result of her inclusion on this year's "wooford" line-up, the social network sites and blogs have gone crazy! (Check out tweets to @woodfordff ) And so they should. The Woodford folk festival is posing a risk to public health and risking the lives of children. Meryl Dorey spreads mis-information about vaccination. If impressionable festival goes listen to her un-truths they could be lead to believe vaccination is too harmful for their children, and themselves. Ms Dorey, of course, doesn't tell of the dangers of contracting the diseases that these vaccines prevent. Australia is in the middle of a whooping cough and measles epidemic, and it's deadly.

It's not like the organizers are unaware of the public's concerns about Meryl Dorey. There have been copious letters written, tweets tweeted and contact from media for comment. While a public relations officer might believe (wrongly in my opinion) that blogs can be ignored, interaction with mainstream media should definitely be high on the PR priority list. Mamamia was the first to publish an article on their website: "Woodford folk festival allows dangerous anti-vax women to speak" and this afternoon Tracey Spicer publicity pulled them to pieces on 2UE radio.

So, now me. This has been quite a monumental moment in "journey to self identity". I've admitted many times before I was so far down the rabbit hole there seemed little hope I'd ever escape from wonderland. Through my association with some awesome critical thinkers I have grown into a far more reasonable person. Well, at least a more reason'ing' person. But I have held onto woodford. It was the bit of my dark past I wasn't ready ditch just yet. But, alas, it is time to let go.

Thank you Meryl Dorey for taking the last piece of my hippie soul and squashing it into the Woodford mud.

EDIT: oops, There is always something I forgot to say, and here it is:
Since the festival itself is completely non-responsive to both public and media inquiries, attention has been turned to the sponsors. All contact information can be found on "A Drunken wiki".

UPDATE: Festival Executive Director Bill Hauritz says: go ahead and boycott the woodford folk festival. Seems he doesn't care about public health and safety, science or facts. Lame response Mr Hauritz, not good enough


  1. NSW Health actually issued a public warning about this woman - but Woodford are letting her promote her lies.

  2. @stinginthetail It is an outrage!

  3. Eggrings, the AVN and their lies,misinformation & cherry picked data should not be allowed to stand unchallenged. Good on you for speaking out!

  4. Thank you @Mooselet.
    Feel free to speak out yourself. It is the only way that people will find out about the dangers that the AVN pose to public health!

    Go here: http://wiki.mycolleaguesareidiots.com/DoreyAtWoodford.ashx
    It has everything you'll need to know!