WOMADelaide 2020 truly proved that ‘music is the language of us all’

Company Archibald Caramantran

By Deb Kloeden, Rock At Night Adelaide, Australia

REVIEW: WOMADelaide 2020, 6th March – 9th March

Perfect weather, record-breaking crowds and one of the best line-ups yet helped to make Womadelaide 2020 very special. This annual four-day World Music festival is a true celebration of music, dance, performances, topical environmental discussions, workshops, culinary tastes and much, much more. Although it is the music that mainly draws me to Womadelaide, I love discovering all the other unexpected treats that surprise me around every corner.


Highlights of these included the giant, four-metre high roving puppets of Company Archibald Caramantran, Australian artist Craig Walsh’s MONUMENTS (projected faces in the trees) and the wired aerial theatre As The World Tipped from UK, which focused on the world’s environmental crisis.

Over the weekend I caught well over half the wonderful music acts, enjoying some old favourites like The Cat Empire and Matt Corby, and discovering new favourite bands such as Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo, Australia’s Afro-beat/hip-hop trio, True Vibenation and Afro/European heavy metal impersonators Ifriqiyya Electrique.

Australia’s high-energy roots/pop band, The Cat Empire, headlined the Friday night line-up with a blazing set. Charismatic front-man, Felix Riebl had the crowd eating out of the palm of his hand, presenting the bands most popular songs, including ‘Music is the language of us all’, which truly epitomised the essence of Womadelaide.

Gospel legends, The Blind Boys Of Alabama drew a huge crowd on opening night. These true gentlemen added humour and class to their performance. Lead singer Clarence Fountain, even took a guided walk through the crowd.

Thandi Phoenix

Kate Miller-Heidke, Australia’s entrant in the 2019 Euro vision contest, gave a stunning performance with her incredibly high Soprano-like voice. Other female Australians that impressed were Thandi Phoenix, Ngaiire, Hiatus Kaiyote, Odette and Adelaide’s own Stellie, who made her debut appearance at Womadelaide. International Women’s Day was celebrated on Sunday 8th March during the festival.

While talking women that impressed, UK’s Laura Marling had the crowd transfixed during her beautiful set, and the Finnish foursome Tuuletar gave a very unique performance combining beatbox with Finnish Folk Music.

True Vibenation

New highlight discovery, Japan’s Kikagaku Moyo, had me mesmerised with their unique brand of Psychedelia. Their music morphed solid classic rock and fuzzed out Psychedelic Rock with moments of Classical Indian threaded into the weave. Sadly they only played one show. Australian trio True Vibenation (now residing in Berlin) had me hooked from the first beat. Combining, reggae, dub, hip-hop, soul and Afrobeat, True Vibenation placed a large emphasis on horns and percussion to present their very danceable beats. UK MC, General Levy also gave an impressive show, combining jungle, ragga, calypso and drum n’ bass.

Ifriqiyya Electrique

Ifriqiyya Electrique were truly electrifying with a storm of electric guitars, percussion and bass, set against a backdrop of politically charged video images. If you closed your eyes, you could swear you were at a futuristic Black Sabbath show.

Los Amigos Invisibles

Other bands that impressed with their unique sounds and presentations were King Ayisoba, Los Amigos Invisibles, Ezra Collective, Echo Drama, Liniker e os Caramelows and S.O. Crates.

Sadly the highly anticipated Ziggy Marley was a late cancellation from this year’s line-up, but one of Australia’s favourite singer-songwriters, Matt Corby took his place, finalising the main stage entertainment with his incredible voice and charm. His performance was a wonderful way to finish a huge weekend of fantastic experiences that sated all the senses.



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Deb Kloeden

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