Adelaide never fails to deliver during the festival season, always giving us an excuse to get out of the house and immerse ourselves in arts and cultural. With the Adelaide Fringe Festival, Adelaide Festival of the Arts and our very special world festival, WOMADelaide, it's obvious why they call Adelaide the festival state. So we headed to WOMAD to check out what it was all about… suffice to say we weren’t disappointed.
There was distinct sense of merging the idea of art and life together at WOMAD—a sentiment which most of the festivals in Adelaide share. Encapsulating this sentiment was 2016’s large-scale art installation, Sacrilege—an inflatable life-sized replica of Stonehenge by UK conceptual artist Jeremy Deller which was constructed just like a bouncy-castle. It was truly fascinating to see how people engaged with this form of art even if, through the eyes of a child, it was considered a toy.
There were also countless stalls this year, many of which hosted a wide variety of fair-trade products. Adorned in bright colours of woven hemp or hand painted like these adorable lunch boxes by Mamitas, it’s hard not to feel fantastic about purchasing functional everyday items as creative as these.
Food was also a large part of WOMAD, with dishes from Adelaide’s own Barossa, Sri-Lanka, Cambodia and Italy. One stall was even named ‘Johnny Cougar’s Melon Camp’. Satisfying my hunger for the day was a bright and colourful salad from ‘The Fast Foodie’. The chickpea, pumpkin smash salad with spinach and sesame seeds, topped with pesto and grilled haloumi was a perfect balance of texture and taste.
Underneath canopies of bats in the picturesque Botanic Park, sat thousands of people just to hear Kev Carmody. He recounted the stories and experiences which influenced his song writing as a contemporary Aboriginal Australian musician. He finished with the coveted ‘From Little Things Big Things Grow’, a duet previously performed with Paul Kelly and left with few beautiful words to wish us all well—‘our spirit walks with you, be safe’.
Later that afternoon, The Jerry Cans performed on the Novatech stage, bringing so much energy which caused nearly the entire audience to jump around and dance! Though they sounded surprisingly Irish, they were in fact a Canadian/Inuktitut group. Their unique throat singing, teamed with a fiddle, accordion and a bouncing reggae beat, made them one of the stand outs groups for WOMAD this year.
Fortunately, I also was lucky enough to catch the surprise guests of the day, Barbu, which were a musical and acrobatic troupe, also from Canada. Beards, incredible athleticism and hilarious antics brought together the soul of this group.
The beauty about WOMAD was its culture—by its very nature it encouraged the attendance of people from all walks of life. It sparked wonderment in all its attendees not just through food and music, but also in its values.