WOMADelaide 2018 – The Plus Ones’ Definitive Guide

Gypsy punks, Brazillian brass, rainbow plastic pneumatic sculpture you can walk inside WOMADelaide 2018 is set to wow us once again. This fantastic four-day festival (March 9-12) of Music, Arts and Dance serenades approximately 20,000 people per day and we cant wait to be among their number!

Nestled in Adelaide’s lush Botanic Park and in the middle of their Mad March, the team behind the WOMAD are presenting a truly international mix of amazing talent. With around 500 artists from 30 countries, there’s nothing else quite like WOMADelaide, which has quickly become a permanent fixture in our festival calendar. Flights were purchased soon after returning from last year’s festival and we have been patiently waiting since. As the line-up has been released, we have been rocking out to albums at work and at home and finding out more about the artists.

Just before the festival kicks off, here are our top tips (in alphabetical order) from an outstanding line-up of 61 acts.

photo: Badstance

Bixiga 70’s (Brazil) tag line should read ‘Be serenaded by Brass! Bixiga’s Brass!’ We have been rocking to Bixiga 70 at home and at work recently. A great fit to the WOMADelaide line-up, we cant wait to hear their big upbeat sound, numerous band members and even more instruments. Their versatility is demonstrated by their show times – midday or late night, these guys will get you moving in an Afro-Brazillian style. No vocals, just rhythm to infuse your soul. A must see and our favourite thing about WOMADelaide is, if you see them early and love them, go to a second show!

Elephant Sessions (Scotland) is on the very top of Cara’s list. Listening to their rocky violin and mandolin makes one’s heart sing. This young quintet is kicking off their Australian tour with WOMADelaide. Combining modern sounds and traditional folk from Inverness, they are described as a ‘Neo-trad quintet’. Impressively, their album ‘All We Have Is Now’ won the 2017 Album of the Year at the BBC Scotland Traditional Music Awards. This is your chance to see why.

Gogol Bordello (USA) are self-proclaimed gypsy punks will lift the crowds off their feet for one show only on Saturday night! With a heritage from three continents, they unify on stage with energy, talent and chaos! If the Botanical Gardens had a roof, it would surely be raised. Get in early if you want to see this performance up close as Gogol Bordello will pull in a crowd.

Hat Fitz and Cara (Australia and Ireland) are wonderful for so many reasons that keep you curious. There is something intriguing about two artist bands, about wife and husband duos and intercontinental style fusion. And of course…there is something universally amazing about people called Cara. Strong vocals, easy harmonies, vintage drums and pure talent, these are a bluesy duo to earmark for Friday night.

Lura (Cape Verde) personifies is what lazy WOMAdealide afternoons are made for! Lura’s powerful voice guides chilled but energetic rhythms, which will keep you moving, with a wide smile on your face. Guaranteed. Good for dancing, or just moving your feet, depending on the crowd. Although WOMADelaide is a ‘Dance Like No One is Watching’ kind of place – so go for it!

My Bubba (Iceland/Sweden) are a Nordic duo not to miss. My is Sweedish, Bubba is Icelandic and together these two train engineers have beautiful voices, intriguing lyrics a guitar a banjo and lap harp that will draw you in, Scandinavian Siren style.

Thundercat (USA) plays homage to his love of Jazz, Funk, Soul and everything in between – including his cat. This Grammy winning feline was Eryka Badu’s bass guitarist and has always stood out from the crowd. Now with three highly acclaimed albums to his name including the latest titled Drunk, this cool cat will captivate you for one show only.

Morgan Sette

Around the Park

As much as you can go to the festival, the festival can also come to you. WOMADelaide has a number of interactive and immersive arts selections that amaze. Here are our notable mentions:

Architects of Air (UK) is a company established in 1992 that has created over 500 exhibitions in 40 countries, a perfect fit for WOMADelaide. This year, they bring their serene, beautiful and colourful ‘luminarium’. Enjoy gliding and wandering through this inflated colourful world that is hard to describe with words although their website proclaims ‘”Somewhere between a womb and a cathedral”. Visit this plastic place of worship in the early morning to beat the crowds (and heat) and experience some serenity.

Cie Pernette (France) have engaged local Adeladians and equipped them with spray bottles so that they can dance to the familiar sounds of Strauss’s “Blue Danube”. Why not! The result is likely to be a fun performance with everyone laughing and humming along (da da da da daaaa).

Charles Seja

Taste The World (TTW)

We love Taste The World. A real hit from previous years, it is a great way to get to know the artists and their cultures off stage. Such a simple yet genius idea, TTW interviews artists in an informal and intimate culinary session. Seeing artists cook their favourite food and play their music along the way is a special treat. Tasting the food at the end of the session can literally be having your cake and eating it too. Our top tip is Le Vent du Nord’s recipe called Pouding-Chômeur (aka Poor Man’s Maple Cake) on Saturday at 3.30pm. All TTW sessions fill up so be there early to get a seat and in the first rows to get a taste.

Other highlights will be Elephant Sessions’s Haggis Pakora with a Chivas Whisky Sauce and Daymé Arocena’s Cuban Fried Rice. Yum!

Healing Village

This is the perfect place to get many a varied form of massage, chiropractic work, readings, and energetic healing. No excuses for not being able to stay and keep dancing for the whole four days now!

Grant Hancock

The Planet Talks.

One thing that makes WOMADelaide stand out from other festivals is its ability to inspire. There is no area more inspiring than ‘Speaker’s Corner’ for The Planet Talks where national and international speakers talk on a variety of topics generally centered on the environment and sustainability. Here are some of our highlights:

Julian Burnside AO QC needs no introduction. His work with refugees and asylum seekers is longstanding and admirable. If you don’t know him, look him up! He is also an official National Living Treasure and you don’t see that every festival!

Walk Sew Good are two friends and travelling companions Gab Murphy and Megan O’Malley will talk about their 3,500km walk through South East Asia to find out about sustainable fashion and the options we have to avoid injustice and exploitation. Come along and listen to their experience and what you can do. Be the change.

Ursula Rakova is an international campaigner from the Carteret Islands, PNG which are threatened by rising sea levels. PNG is at the forefront of climate change and Ursula is working with residents on day-to-day issues like schooling and their future.

Other crowd favourites will include Tim Costello, Robyn Williams, Deb Tribe, Peter Greste and Tim Flannery.

Grant Hancock

With so many artists, acts, stalls, shops, talks, workshops, food purveyors and bars to choose from, WOMADelaide is literally a World of Music, Arts and Dance. All conveniently located in Adelaide’s beautiful Botanical Park. Over four jam packed days, the entertainment will be world class. Our top tips above can guide you and the only other advice is to pace yourself! And if that fails, get your second wind with Gogol Bordello! See you in the Gardens. We’ll be the ones dancing!

– Duncan and Cara
Duncan was the most illegible bachelor in town, but times have changed, although he is still a purveyor of Melbourne’s surprising, quirky, and cultural events.

Cara has long hair, long legs, and a long association with all things arty, crafty, colourful and fun!

WOMADelaide runs from March 9-12 2018 at the Botanical Gardens, Adelaide. With single day/night or multi day passes you can purchase tickets now.
The venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones are invited guests of WOMADelaide.
Image credits: WOMADelaide, Grant Hancock, Badstance, Morgan Sette, Charles Seja.