Whenever summer begins to make way for the dappled light of autumn, my mind turns to WOMADelaide; the expectation of the year’s best weekend coming up, and the memories of so many previous WOMADelaides.
For me, and for tens of thousands of other WOMADelaide fans, the memories are indelible. The beauty of a global party in Botanic Park, set amongst the ancient trees and the unmistakable WOMAD flags. The glorious surprises of previously-unknown-to-me musicians, whether a tour-de-force on the main stage, or the intimate beauty of haunting performances under the magnificent branches of the Moreton Bay fig. The kids who’ve grown up loving Kidzone at WOMADelaide and then keep returning as young adults. And there’s the food. There are never enough days to taste all global options on offer, but it’s worth giving it a shot.
But for me WOMADelaide also brings extra memories; I’ve had the privilege of a Q&A with some of the visiting artists and thinkers who have made WOMADelaide so special. Here are some of the best, beginning with a standout from the Planet Talks series at WOMADelaide:
The late great Polly Higgins. Getting to know her left me filled with admiration and hope. Her campaign to create the international crime of Ecocide simply made sense. At present corporations can get away with simply paying a fine if they irreparably damage the environment; it’s just the cost of doing business. Making Ecocide a crime would change that; decision-makers will lift their game on environmental stewardship if they know they risk time in jail for destroying our life-support systems. Polly explained it to me here.
Fatoumata Diawara on Mali, music and militants.
A chat with Sir Tim Smit – co-founder of the Eden Project.
Nano Stern on Chilean musical heritage and the revolutionary act of kindness.
Vandana Shiva on seed freedom.
The late great Hugh Masekela
Respect and activism – music’s power unleashed at WOMADelaide.
At the launch of WOMADelaide 2014, I wrote: “The welcome to Kaurna country by Steve Gadlabardi Goldsmith and the Taikurtinna dancers dragged us very willingly from the humdrum of normal life into the magic of global culture, song and dance that transforms this weekend each year.”
This year – more than ever – we need this vision of a world that can be healed and united.
Bliss at WOMADelaide begins on Friday evening 6th March 2020 and continues till late evening on Monday 9th.
All photos: Simon Loffler