WOMADelaide’s future is secure and looking bright for the 2018 festival

By Deb Kloeden, Rock At Night Adelaide

Venue: Botanic Park, Adelaide. 9th – 12th March, 2018

Up and coming Festivals

The South Australian Government has secured a five-year license extension which guarantees the future of the WOMADelaide festival in Adelaide until 2024. This is great news for the many festival goers who make this festival a regular part of their year.

The 2018 festival line up has now been released and it’s shaping up to be as exciting as ever with the ‘queen of the sitar’, Anoushka Shankar, the Australian premiere of Havana Meets Kingston featuring legendary reggae duo Sly & Robbie; fiery guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela and saxophonist Kamasi Washington.

Also announced are the scorching desert blues guitarists from Mali, Tinariwen who last performed at the festival in 2008; Australia’s electronic music superstars, The Avalanches; veteran Ghanaian singer, Pat Thomas and UK dub producer Adrian Sherwood.

Being a huge reggae fan, I’m excited to see Havana Meets Kingston perform with Sly and Robbie, alongside members of Buena Vista Social Club, Los Van Van, Chucho Valdes and Inna de Yard. The 14-piece band delivers a live show where Jamaican bass culture meets Afro-Cuban sounds, head on.

Originally from Mexico, acclaimed guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela began as buskers on the streets of Dublin. Now one of the most prolific and recognisable duos on the planet, their electrifying rock-meets-flamenco style will have its Adelaide premiere at WOMADelaide.

Australia’s The Avalanches will be huge crowd favourites with their popularity spanning over seventeen years. Combining psychedelica, pop, rhythm and beats, they are bound to put on a show not to missed.

Thievery Corporation’s Eric Hilton and Rob Garza bonded 21 years ago over a shared passion for Bossa Nova. They have since headlined many of the world’s best festivals, including Coachella and Lollapalooza, and influenced an entire generation of electronic producers, collaborating with artists such as David Byrne, Femi Kuti and Seu Jorge along the way.

The lineup also includes New York’s gypsy punks, Gogol Bordello; American bassist-singer Thundercat; breakout Israeli hip-hop artist Victoria Hanna and indigenous rising talent, Baker Boy.


The Australian line up includes the hip-hop collaboration of Remi x Sampa (Remi Kolawole and Sampa The Great); the return of Mama Kin after eight years in the form of her new project Mama Kin Spender (with Tommy Spender and a 16-piece choir); the nu-soul of Hiatus Kaiyote’s Nai Palm and the vintage sounds of Tex, Don & Charlie. The brilliant guitarist and singer-songwriter, Dan Sultan returns to WOMADelaide with a new and exciting musical direction and an expanded live ensemble. His recent album Killer draws on gospel, soul and electronica, while still firmly planted in the world of gritty blues-rock.

Nai Palm

A much-loved singer and musician, Deborah Conway has been making her mark on the Australian music landscape for over 30 years. A rare female agitator at a time when the music industry was male-dominated, from her beginning with indie darlings Do Re Mi to her powerful collaborations with Willy Zygier, her presence and powerful voice always commands attention.


I recently discovered Didirri, a young singer-songwriter from Warrnambool who is, first and foremost, a storyteller – one with that rare ability to quickly draw the listener into his world. I have been fortunate enough to have seen most of these Australian artists before, and look forward to hearing the new material they have to offer.

Architects of Air

But WOMADelaide is much more than just a music festival. This year Architects of Air return with their giant, interactive inflatable sculpture called Arboria. Their inflated world of caverns and crawling spaces was incredibly popular in 2015, with over 1hr waits to enter.

As darkness falls each night at WOMADelaide 2018, the skies above Botanic Park will be transformed into a playful wonderland of aerial theatrics, spectacular acrobatic scenes, and the softly cascading feathers of mischievous dancing angels.

The 2018 Planet Talks program of discussion panels will open with one of the world’s most prominent environmentalists Tim Flannery. Current Professorial Fellow at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute and chief councilor of the Australian Climate Council, Flannery’s keynote address and conversation with legendary Australian science broadcaster Robyn Williams, will offer rays of hope for a more sustainable relationship with the planet.

The second feature talk, hosted on the Monday of the festival, will see award-winning foreign correspondent Peter Greste examine the current state of Press Freedom and what it means for democracy. Head to the WOMADelaide website to find the full list of Planet Talks speakers.

One of the highlights of WOMADelaide is simply just wondering around the beautiful park site, taking in the atmosphere, delicious food smells and colourful patrons. As usual, Kid Zone will offer fun and entertainment for children. Workshops and cooking demonstrations conducted by various artists provide an interesting insight into their lives and cultures.

Last year the festival was the State winner of ‘Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event’. This year is gearing up to be another winning success. If you have never been before, do yourself a favour and book your tickets before they sell out.








Deb Kloeden