WOMADelaide brings the party to the world – and the world to the party!

When Adelaide throws its famous summer party, WOMADelaide brings along a world of guests – this year from a staggering 26 countries! Adelaide’s Mad March is the babushka doll of festivals, with arguably WOMADelaide at its centre. For over 30 years, the Botanic Gardens/Tainmuntilla’s giant Moreton Bay figs have welcomed and sheltered festival goers. This year there are even more of them, with 1 and 2 day passes SOLD OUT – but you can still pick other individual day tickets. With plenty of acts to choose from every day you will not be disappointed.

Photo Credit: Jack Fenby

Last year, WOMADelaide showcased a wealth of worldwide talent, primarily from within its own borders. This year, the borders are wide open, and Adelaide’s summer festival season is welcoming everyone with open arms alongside a host of home-grown talent.  As ever, there are familiar faces along with the emerging talent; Billy Bragg returns to Australia – after many a postponed attempt – a silver lining for WOMADelaide’s fans. Florence and the Machine will debut this year, and The Proclaimers will demonstrate their vocal prowess. I can already hear the crowd singing I’m Gonna Be 500 miles as if it is part of the national identity.

With such a huge range of the world’s finest acts, performers and speakers, The Plus Ones are here again to help you navigate your path through it all. We will highlight some of our standouts and direct you towards some must-sees in the vast program. This is provided in the most magnanimous of orders; alphabetical.

Line up – Music and Dance

Angel Olsen (USA) – With a voice that has been described as “captivating” and her recent album Big Time getting universal approval, there seems no better time to check it out than Monday afternoon. You can sit back and relax to the sultry voice of an Angel, literally! What a perfect way to round off the festival.

Asanti Dance Theatre (Australia/Ghana) – It is a wonderful year for dance this year. And Asanti Dance Theatre are generous enough to have two performances and a workshop. With Ghanian roots, but residing in Australia, this fabulous troupe have a driving beat that will sweep you up and carry you along. But where will you end up…

Photo Credit: Phil Hines

Bangarra Dance Theatre (Australia) – Well known to many, particularly from its extensive tours throughout Australia, Bangarra has been a tour de force for over 30 years. As professional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander performers, the group has told their stories to audiences with proud passion. There is simply no other dance company like Bangarra. The performance is Terrain. A must see.

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn (USA) – I must admit that I have a special interest and admiration for musical duos. This pair have added advantages – one (Béla) is considered one of the best banjo players in the world, Abigail sings and dances and they are also, simply funny. This husband-and-wife banjo couple are a delight to see. They will make you feel welcome, and I am sure you will return the favour.

Dem Mob (Australia) – Hailing from Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjantjara (APY) Lands in the far north of South Australia, Dem Mob (Skew, Easy, and Litty) are new and already highly regarded rappers, influenced by WOMADelaide favourite Baker Boy. Drawing on a range of rapping styles, held together and defined by the catchiest of catchy hooks and singing in Pitjantjatjara language, Dem Mob has a sound that is fresh and will remain so!

Photo credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)

Genesis Owusu & The Black Dog Band (Australia) – There are many reasons that Genesis Owusu and The Black Dog Band are memorable. From flamboyant stage presence, a direct arresting singing style, driving energised songs and a shining smile, these guys will give you more memories from a WOMADelaide evening than you realise was possible from one act! This will be fun and the perfect way to round out the festival.

Kee’ahn (Australia) – Kee’ahn is a proud Kuku Yalanji, Jirrbal, Zenadth Kes song woman. Her voice seems to float on the breeze and harmonises with itself. At times haunting but always beautiful, Kee’ahn is mesmerizing. Relatively new on the scene and winner in 2020 of both the Archie Roach Award and the Music Vic Award for Best Emerging Artist, Kee’ahn is here to stay – many more WOMADelaide’s ahead are predicted.

Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and Tim Shiel (China and Australia) – Mindy and Tim’s musical collaborations are fascinating and something we can thank the pandemic for. A clearly unique combination of Mindy’s guzheng (Chinese zither-like horizontal harp) and Tim’s composer (including video games) skills, and as a performer in his own right. Their work culminates in music that is able to be both modern and traditional, atmospheric and ethereal. This is bliss.

Nightmares on Wax (DJ) (UK) – Having made his mark on the world stage back when WOMADelaide started, Nightmares on Wax was emerging. Having since carved out a section of the electronica/dub/techno/jazz/funk world (though adamantly “not trip hop”)  George Evelyn is categorically a pioneer or the laidback sounds that late night atmosphere of Adelaide’s Botanic Park is most suited to. This will be perfect!

Rizwan Muazzam Qawwals (Pakistan) – If you can say the name Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan in the same sentence as any artist, people will listen. When they are related, they will really listen. If they continue to listen, you know there is talent. Performing in the Qawwali music style, drawing its history from Islamic poetry, Rizwan Muazzam Qawwals showcase their playing, harmonious vocal talents and faith. Their melodic, compelling, spiritual performances are highly renowned for good reason.

Photo credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)

Sampa the Great (Zambia) – Zambian born, Botswanan raised, and Australian based, Sampa the Great has many strong influences to draw upon – and it is no wonder she has become a pioneer in her own lifetime. Bursting with life and bursting onto the world stage a few short years ago, Sampa now owns it! ARIA award winning (Best Hip Hop release), Sampa the Great’s talents are not only in her music but in her performances. This is high energy and seriously fun! Brace yourselves!

Sons Of Zöku (Australia – Adelaide) – Sometimes it is hard to define a band, and sometimes a name can be too limiting. While Sons Of Zöku prominently progressive psych rock, their world influences means that each concert feels like a new, untouched and spontaneous event. Perfect for enjoying as the sun goes down on a Sunday evening. Just arrive with your drinks at hand because you won’t want to leave.

Youssou N’Dour & Le Super Étoile de Dakar (Senegal) – A WOMAD and WOMADeliade favourite returns! While at first glance it seems surprising that Youssou N’Dour’s career includes being a politician (Senegal’s minister for Tourism), it is less surprising when reflecting on the impact that Youssou N’Dour’s music has had on the world. From Amnesty concerts to chart-topping hits with Neneh Cherry and collaborations aplenty, this is a consummate musician not to be missed.

Photo credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)


The generosity of the artists at WOMADelaide seems to hold no bounds. Not only performing and cooking for festival goers at Taste the World, but many artists also bring their audiences together in dedicated workshops to further share their passion for their art. Taking part is a guaranteed way to connect with your favourite artists and make more WOMADelaide memories! The workshops, like the artists themselves, are wonderfully diverse.

Offerings over the weekend include.

Saturday – Constantinople, Justin Adams and Mauro Durante and Ku Arts

Sunday – Bab L’ Bluz, Kefaya and Elaha Soroor, Ku Arts and Small Island Big Song

Monday – Asanti Dance Theatre, Gosti, Ku Arts, Richard J Frankland and San Salvador

Ku Arts. Photo credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)

You just need to ask yourself which one(s) do you want to take part in? A full timetable is here to help you choose.

Around the Park

While the stages at WOMADelaide provide amazing shows, for some, it is the spontaneity of coming across some of the wandering acts that really made the festival special. This year, there are some remarkable offerings, including those that you literally bump into and others that will draw you in…

Gratte Ciel – WOMADealide 2018 was a memorable event – notably due to Gratte Ciel’s ariel performances and an abundance of feathers. Eyes all looked upwards for their enchanting and beautiful performance and will do so again. This time, with even more expectation – are you ready to do your Feather Angel?

Photo credit: Grant Hancock

Gosti – You may well hear or be aware of Gosti before you actually see them. Drawing in crowds in an iconic Macedonian dance with the siren sounds of the gaida, tapan and tambura. Crowds will gather into a raucous friendship making frenzies. Be prepared!

Didier Théron Company – With the ‘aid’ of rubberised/inflatable suits, the Didier Théron Company performers are able to transform themselves and into an array of, sometimes questionable, positions… But be warned, even though they are part of the show, you will be too! This will be truly captivating!

Gaia by Luke Jerram – is on display throughout the festival. Inspired by astronaut’s overwhelming experience of seeing Earth and speaking of the overview effect, Luke Jerram created has A 7-metre diameter highly accurate representation of Earth. Foco alAire will also lead a procession from Gaia on Friday night.

The Planet Talks

As ever, a fabulously orchestrated series of talks over the long weekend. The conversations are diverse, pertinent and relevant. This year, carefully collated panels will discuss thought provoking and hot topics such as:

Can Seaweed Save The World with Catriona Macleod, Alice Jones, Nikolai Beilharz and Steve Meller

Natural Rights with Peter Burdon, Anne Poelina and Tanya Ha

Crimes against Nature with Emma Carmody, Phill Cassidy, Ruby Jones and Sarah Wheeler.

For even more of political finger on the pulse:

Race to Net Zero with Brynn O’Brien, Eytan Lenko, Maree Lowes

The Party Room with Fran Kelly and Patricia Karvelas and

Voice to Parliament with Dan Buorchier Megan Davis, Sally Scales and Patricia Anderson AO.

Patricia Anderson AO. Photo credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)

Taste the World

If there is one thing that sets WOMAD festivals apart from all others, it is Taste the World. While simple in concept – artists from the festival share their stories and cook a recipe (or two) with for a tent full of festival goers – the result is a generous and intimate experience. This is always one of my favourite elements of the festival. This year, Julian Belbachir, Cimafunk, Béla Fleck & Abigail WashburnSmall Island Big Song, and Ondatrópica, among others, will come to the Taste the World tent. The only questions are “what will they cook” and “what will they share?”


Kids are never an afterthought at WOMADelaide. Indeed, you could argue they have a festival all their own! With a wide range of activities to suit the energy and interests of any and every child, you can choose from a range of workshops. The Ripple Effect Band will create community through music while the Explorer’s Tent (hosted by SA Museum) will excite any budding anthropologist. There is an opportunity to climb trees or dance it out at a Silent Disco with the ever the irrepressible Guru Dudu. Or, if winging down is coming to mind, you can simply read in Adelaide City Library’s book nook or, even better, settle down to story time with Rachel Coopes.

Photo Credit: Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain)

There are so many artists, acts, stalls, shops, talks, workshops, food purveyors and bars to choose from, WOMADelaide is living up to its acronym of a World of Music, Arts and Dance.  I look forward to seeing you there!


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


WOMADelaide runs from March 10-13 2023 at the Botanical Park, Adelaide. With single day/night passes remaining, you can purchase tickets now.
The venue is accessible.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones are invited guests of WOMADelaide.
Images credit: Jack Fenby, Phil Hines, Leigh McGrane (Against The Grain), Grant Hancock