25 years on and WOMADelaide is preparing to be stronger than ever

By Deb Kloeden, Adelaide correspondent

Venue: Botanic Park, Adelaide. 10th – 13th March, 2017

Up and coming Festivals

Adelaide’s renowned world music festival, WOMADelaide, is gearing up to celebrate 25 years since inception. Now held annually during ‘Mad March’, this year’s festival is promising to be another winner. Adelaide’s beautiful Botanic Park will once again be transformed into it’s own unique world of music, dance, instillations, environmental discussions, kid’s workshops and entertainment, gastronomical tastes of the world, cooking demonstrations, market stalls, bars and cafes. There’s something for everyone, regardless of whether you come for a night or the full 4 days. WOMADelaide attracts it’s own unique patrons who come dressed in rainbows of colour with flowing hair, adding to, or perhaps creating the magical atmosphere that makes this festival so special.

The Specials

Again a plethora of local and international artists have been announced. The first artist announcement promised UK’s British Ska band The Specials. Nearly 40 years since their first hit, they will be returning to Australia after a 5-year absence. You may remember iconic hits like Gangsters, Ghost Town and A Message to You Rudy.


A Serbian gypsy-rock supergroup that hit my radar recently, Emir Kusturica & the No Smoking Orchestra, is a feisty 11-piece band that couples anti-globalist messages with wild, eclectic music. Their energy on stage is incredibly entertaining and slightly mad. In complete contrast, Iceland’s minimal techno duo, Kiasmos, will present a dreamy mix of percussion, beats and synthesizers.

Toni Childs

USA’s rock/pop/alternative/folk singer Toni Childs, has relocated to Australia’s Byron Bay and begun an exciting new phase of life. Toni revived her singing career in 2003 with inspired new recordings and began promoting major global causes, such as ending violence against women. It will be a great treat to see her perform at this year’s festival.

The Waifs

Australia’s The Waifs have a history as long as WOMADelaide’s. Having performed several times previously at Womad, they will be back again this year bringing their blues/roots/country folk sound to their dedicated fans. Australia’s National Treasure, Archie Roach who performed at the inaugural WOMADelaide in 1992, will also perform again this year. Nattali Rize is best know as front woman for Australia’s roots favourites Blue King Brown. This year she will perform with her Jamaican-international band, which is a new-conscious reggae project.

D.D Dumbo

Other Australian musicians I am excited to see include D.D Dumbo, Dope Lemon and Jesse Davidson. D.D Dumbo is a one-man band with his 12-string electric guitar, drums and effects pedals. He recently won Triple J’s coveted ‘Australian Album of the Year’ award for his long-awaited debut record Utopia Defeated. He draws his inspiration from Captain Beefheart, Joni Mitchell and African guitar music.

Dope Lemon

Dope Lemon is a new project from Angus Stone (Angus & Julia Stone). His music resonates with Byron Bay atmosphere. His performances I predict, will be hugely popular. Adelaide’s own Jesse Davidson was a Triple J Unearthed High finalist when he was 16. He has released two EP’s and toured extensively, delivering a mix of contemporary and classic rock. I saw him perform recently in Adelaide and was impressed with his vocal range and professional delivery. His debut album is due to be released this year.

Carabosse, fire sculpture

WOMADelaide is not just about the music. I am also excited to see the return of France’s Carabosse, who will present nightly fire instillations Around The Park. This will be their fourth appearance at WOMAD. Apart from their fire installations, this year they are adding ‘The Wooden Walker Clan’, video projections and performance, to deliver ‘The Exodus of Forgotten Peoples’, a social comment on the displacement of refugees and other political and environmental concerns.

When you think you’ve nearly seen and heard it all, don’t forget to spend time at Speakers Corner listening to ‘The Planet Talks’. Here some of the world’s great minds will provide fascinating conversation about our environment and sustainable relationship with the planet. For many, this is the highlight of the festival.

If you have never been to WOMADelaide, don’t miss out again. This year’s festival will be one of the most exciting and diverse yet. To view the full line-up, visit the WOMADelaide web site.

WOMADelaide’s director, Ian Scobie says:

“It seems like yesterday but in the 25 years since 1992, WOMADelaide has brought together a diversity of artists and audiences and evolved into a completely immersive, welcoming and accessible cultural experience where art matters and is celebrated. It truly has become ‘the world’s festival’, all within one park, over a glorious long weekend.”



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Deb Kloeden

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