WOMAD Festival. © Duchesne Markham

WOMAD: a world of music, art and dance


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World of Music, Arts and Dance, to give WOMAD its full due.

We have Peter Gabriel to thank for the first WOMAD, back in 1982. (Imagine what he was wearing! Eek.)

The man who was at the forefront of bringing World Music to the, um, world would be surprised and delighted by the extent of his vision – and look how far it’s travelled!

New Plymouth has hosted WOMAD since 2005. And, to use a quaint and formal term, it goes off. Its appeals are many, but one certainly is the sheer breath-taking breadth of performers that grace the stages. The Bowl of Brooklands rings to the sound and vision of a staggering array of dancers, performers and musicians from truly anywhere and everywhere.

Local dubstep, dance-pop from Mali, South African a cappella; legends, the children of legends, standing on the shoulders of giants, jiving, gyrating and vibing from dawn till, well, dawn, really.

The Bowl of Brooklands hosts them all, itself a natural amphitheatre of some reckoning, ensuring the congas, castanets and clapping fly through the air with the greatest of ease to your awaiting eyes and ears.

What’s ultra-smart about WOMAD is that it’s organised to a frightening degree to cater to all-comers, new-comers and old WOMAD hands. If you just want to pitch the tent and get in amongst it, step this way. If you need to entertain the kids in between catching your favourite acts, there are arts and crafts for our future WOMAD stage-gracers, an array of specially targeted activities that are amazing – and totally free.

Camp or glamp, champ, the choice is yours. It’s a festival, with that full outdoor, laid-back, summertime festival vibe, yet every need is catered to and the fantastic administration, and long experience, of the organisers ensures a maxed-out, but chilled-out, good time for all. You can even zhooj it a tad and do the Wildernest thing where a concierge, no less, will show you to your already pitched and perfectly readied tent so you can just let the fun begin.

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