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Latest from Man ABOUT ADL

WOMADelaide 2018

9–12 March 2018

Each year in Botanic Park the Adelaide Festival hosts one of the greatest four-day open-air music festivals in the world.

This festival is renowned for its diversity and vibrancy and attracts around 80,000 people; a third of them travelling to Adelaide from interstate and overseas.

Image: Derek Tickner

Since its Adelaide debut in 1992 WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) has become an annual tradition for lovers of music, arts, and dance. It typically features over five hundred stunning artists from thirty countries around the world that perform across seven outdoor stages.

Man About ADL was there to soak up all the festival goodness at WOMADelaide 2018. Please take a few moments to click on the links below to experience WOMADelaide 2018.

Anoushka Shankar

Image: Derek Tickner

The delight of WOMADelaide is that it begins months before the actual festival starts. In October 2017 sitar virtuoso Anoushka Shankar, fourteen piece roots reggae band Havana Meets Kingston, along with acoustic guitarists Rodrigo y Gabriela, tenor saxophonist Kamasi Washington, and Australia’s favourite electronic group The Avalanches were among the first artists confirmed for WOMADelaide 2018.

The excitement continues to build in the weeks leading up to the festival as the timetable is published and attendees can then begin to plan their four-day WOMADelaide experience.

Image: Derek Tickner

When you first step into Botanic Park your ears prick up to the overlapping beats and soulful voices that bleed into the air.

You rush to the information desk to get your WOMADelaide pocket guide and nestle under the canopy of a Moreton Bay Fig tree where you can plan out the next four-days of sensory overload.

The radiant, bright, and tribal textiles is the second thing that draws your attention; festival fashion exclusive to Womadelaideans. Also popular with festival goers this year were metallics, glitter (always a favourite), and angel wings.

Image: Derek Tickner

If you have never experienced WOMADelaide you may not realise but it isn’t all about the glorious music and dance. There are so many other incredible things to do and experience.

The Planet Talks invite acclaimed guest speakers to participate in live conversations. This year’s highlights included: a keynote address by renowned environmentalist Professor Tim Flannery; climate change discussions with climate justice activists Ursula Rakova and Kathy Jetnil-Kijiner who spoke about being displaced from their homelands due to the effects of human made global warming; and a compelling conversation with foreign correspondent Peter Greste who endured four-hundred days in a Cairo prison on charges of terrorism.

Poh Ling Yeow

Image: Derek Tickner

Food. So… much… food! I’m still full! Taste the World offered a fascinating program of poignant stories, exotic flavours, and cooking presentations from some the festival’s artists who cooked and shared with us their own dishes.

The Global Village was home to an incredible array of international cuisines. Even if you sampled a little something every thirty minutes you probably still wouldn’t get through it all.

If you had any room left after all the delicious food there were liquid delights to suit everyone’s tastes available at the iconic Cooper’s Bar, the laid-back Hills Cider Bar, the super tasty Yalumba Vine Room, and the suave Botanical Gin Bar that showcased a variety of the finest South Australian gins. And it doesn’t stop there, chef-in-residence Poh Ling Yeow cooked up a feast of tantalising courses at Jamface By Poh for the Taste The World onsite restaurant.

Image: sourced from WOMADelaide 2018

KidZone is like a sub-festival within the WOMADelaide festival. A fantasy world especially designed to engage and delight kids of all ages. They have their own dedicated interactive program full of discovery and bouncy things.

Some of the highlights this year were the ever popular Justine Clarke from ABCs Play School reading stories for the Story Time series, Evelyn Roth's Nylon Zoo a translucent tent where kids can dress up, dance, and tell stories, and Kaurna Classroom that celebrates the Kaurna culture and shares some wondrous stories.

Image: sourced from WOMADelaide 2018

South Australia was well represented at Womadelaide 2018 with eight local artists and bands taking feature spots on the stages.

Kings & Associates an exciting neo blues band, alt-pop artist Naomi Keyte and her wonderfully relaxed and atmospheric tunes, Yellow Blue Bus with their flamboyant bandura Ukrainian inspired folk songs, Hana & Jessie-Lee's Bad Habits breaking hearts with their alt-country soulful harmonies, electronic artist Abbey Howlett sensational looping melodic rhythms, Lonelyspeck’s experimental electronica sound calmed even the Grey-headed flying foxes dangling from trees overhead, DJ Tim Whitt incorporating sound bites of his own field recordings into his electronic pop, and new Adelaide favourites Hartway playing their Nu Disco, Acid Jazz, House, and Future Soul tunes, with live jazz horns to a packed space in the Electrolounge.

Hartway: image by Josh Geelen

If I had to pick one highlight that filled me with absolute delight it would be the The Manganiyar Seduction by Roysten Abel. This is divinely breathtaking and marvellously theatrical. From the outset it fascinates. A huge wooden structure draped in red velvet contains thirty-six separate red-curtained cubicles arranged in four horizontal rows seats the forty-three Manganiyar musicians. Initially, these curtains are closed to the spectator but soon open to reveal individual musicians who each perform with a sonic intensity that chills to your bones, make your eyes widen, and your breath gasp. At one point I was in tears, not crying out of joy or sadness but purely from the visceral effect of the music. As a spectator I was completely affixed and seduced by this incredible and intensely passionate performance. You can watch a snippet here.

The Manganiyar Seduction

Image: Derek Tickner

A lovely element of WOMADelaide (that you can only sense if you go) is the excitable mood it puts people in. There is certain vibe that is difficult to describe here in words but is one that is felt. It was rare not to see random dancing as people were transitioning between stages, and when you looked around there was always a friendly exchange of smiles and expressions of joy at the brilliance of the world music and dance that has been brought to our wonderful lands.

Not to be missed next year: WOMADelaide 2019 is 8-11 March.

A special thank you to photographer Derek Tickner who provided Man About ADL with some amazing images. You can see more of his photography here:


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