WOMADelaide is the four-day festival of Music, Arts and Dance presented annually in Adelaide’s Botanic Park as part of the Adelaide Festival on the middle weekend in March.
The festival was first presented in 1992 as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. This first festival was a joint venture between the Adelaide Festival and the UK based WOMAD organisation, established by Peter Gabriel in 1982 for the presentation of a festival presenting the World Of Music, Arts and Dance from around the globe. WOMADelaide was subsequently staged as a ‘stand-alone event’ biennially from 1993 in alternate years to the then biennially staged Adelaide Festival, until shifting to an annual cycle from 2004 once again as part of the Adelaide Festival program, which has also, since 2012 moved to an annual cycle.
In February 2004 the WOMADelaide Foundation, a not for profit body on the Commonwealth Government’s Register of Cultural Organisations, was established to present the festival each year. It became a four-day event in 2010 in celebration of the Adelaide Festival’s 50th anniversary, running over the Public Holiday Monday in March.
WOMADelaide regularly attracts around 20,000 people per day, (not including children 12 and under who are admitted free) with over a third of attendees coming from interstate and overseas. WOMADelaide programming will generally feature up to 500 artists from around 30 countries. Set in the magnificent inner city Botanic Park, the action across seven outdoor stages comprises performances and workshop activities and is complemented by a strong range of site performance and visual arts programs. Other focused programming initiatives include the popular The Planet Talks environmental discussions series, and the Taste the World food and cooking demonstrations that feature festival artists introducing audiences to the food and culture of their homelands. Additional festival attractions include the KidZone for children’s arts activities, the Electrolounge – a late night electronic music club in Speakers’ Corner, and the Global Village with over 100 international food, retail and charity stalls, bars and the Taste The World Restaurant.
Being mindful of the range of issues affecting people and cultures around the globe the festival has adopted a strong protocol of environmental awareness through its management and staging. Greening Australia works with WOMADelaide to offset the ecological footprint of the festival, with $2 from every WOMADelaide ticket purchased invested in native biodiverse tree plantings. Likewise, sustainable waste management is an important part of the festival’s operating considerations with the ongoing development of a zero-waste-to-landfill policy to divert waste away from landfill and into sustainable pathways.
WOMADelaide has received numerous industry awards including the 2015 Australian Event Awards ‘Best Cultural, Arts or Music Event’, the SA Music & Fowlers Live Awards ‘Best Festival / Best Music Event’ for 4 years running (2012 – 2015), the 2008 Helpmann Award for ‘Best Contemporary Music Festival’, and nominations in each of the 2005, 2010, 2015 and 2016 Helpmann Awards for ‘Best Contemporary Music Festival.’
WOMADelaide 2016 broke all previous records with total attendances of over 95,000, and the 2016 Economic Impact Study & Visitor Survey demonstrated that the festival delivered more than 15 million dollars of economic benefit to the state of South Australia. Based on the survey results and sales data, 45% of attendees were perceived to have traveled from interstate or overseas to WOMADelaide, delivering over 10,000 unique new visitors to South Australia with an accompanying 56,000 visitor nights.
Over 750 artists and groups have performed at WOMADelaide since the very first festival back in 1992. From Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila (Tanzania,1992) to Mavis Staples (USA, 2008) and Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia, 2015), browse the full list of artists that have brought their unique and magical talents to Botanic Park HERE.