A GLEEFUL Julia Gillard received a rousing reception from the large crowds at Woodford Folk Festival after a surprise appearance.
The first sitting Prime Minister to attend the festival in its 27-year history, Ms Gillard took to stage shortly after noon yesterday to discuss everything from her rough year in politics and Barack Obama to her first Christmas without her father and her new year's resolutions for the government.
The concert stage tent - one of the largest venues on the festival site - was packed for her appearance, forcing most of the estimated 5000 who turned up, outside onto a nearby hill.
Ms Gillard, who was joined on stage by former Labor PM and festival favourite Bob Hawke, received a stirring round of applause as she arrived on stage.
The pair spent much of the 45 minute-long session, hosted by Woodford founder Bill Hauritz, joking and laughing with the audience, while discussing a number of issues.
The Prime Minister's appearance at the festival wasn't confirmed until yesterday morning and there were those who didn't believe it until she walked on stage.
Throughout the talk, Ms Gillard made fun at her own expense, refusing a request from the crowd to "sing a song" by telling the audience the Gillards were the only Welsh family incapable of holding a tune.
By far the biggest response from the crowd came from a reference to her speech from earlier in the year, slamming Opposition Leader Tony Abbott for being a misogynist.
There were a few hecklers in the crowd, crying out to interrupt questions on issues such as immigration and Julian Assange.
Later she dined at a private lunch at the Flash Fella Duck, before venturing into the streets of Woodfordia.
They followed her over to the opening of a new bridge, covered by an impressive bamboo arch, which was named Julia Creek Bridge in her honour.
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