Regular, long time readers of this website probably know that I love Womadelaide and usually get there in one form or another every year. Here’s the proof from 2008 and if you’re really keen you can get to other years’ wrap-ups from that post.
The last couple of times I’ve been to Womadelaide, it’s been really dusty which plays havoc with my sinuses and has made the experience a lot less enjoyable.
Get a load of the amount of dust from this photo from last year. People were walking around with kerchiefs over their face to try and keep the dust out.
For this reason I’d decided some time ago to only go on the Friday night, but of course it’s rained this week and it’s a bit cooler so the dust probably won’t be a problem this weekend. Aaarrrggghh!
I went along last night and had a total blast. Sorry Jeanie, you’ll have to live vicariously through me. We walked into Botanic Park to be greeted by Strange Fruit. I have to include a photo as it will give you some idea of what they do. Unfortunately you can’t see them in motion, see their facial expressions or hear the music. It’s really clever and I absolutely loved it and this was only the beginning of the evening.
While watching Strange Fruit I bumped into a friend who was covering the event and she recommended seeing ‘The Black Jesus Experience‘. So we did. They ‘…fuse an exciting blend of traditional Ethiopian song with Jazz, Funk and Hip Hop.
Other standouts from the evening were Tony Allen – afrobeats, Speed Caravan – Cairo meets Chemical Brothers (my description this time), Natacha Atlas, and Sa Dingding who has an absolutely amazing voice and some great dancers.
Womad is normally very friendly and the atmosphere is warm and embracing. With the odd waft of sweet pot smoke, huge lineups for organic donuts from Byron Bay (why you’d bother is beyond me) and recyclable food containers etc it’s the type of festival it’s great to take kids to and you’re pretty sure they’ll be absolutely safe there. When JJ was two or three I did lose him for 15 minutes or so which made me panic because I didn’t know where to start looking for him but I didn’t fear for his safety.
But then there’s odd little incidents that just make you shudder. Sa Dingding – mentioned above – was very popular and she’s more of a sit down show so we were sitting down near the edge of where people were standing up. Nearby was a group of young men being a bit rowdy and the punters near us weren’t happy with it at all. One woman asked them politely to move away if they wanted to talk. They carried on however. Then another woman said ‘why don’t you French people just fuck off.’ I just felt really embarrassed she’d said this. For a start we’re at a World Music and Dance festival, and secondly it’s very racist. I actually don’t think they were French, but Algerian, and they were probably performing at Womad. I just hope they didn’t understand her. It didn’t stop them talking, and after a little while they moved away and all was back to normal.
This was the only occurrence of something a bit seedy that happened all evening.
I wish now that I’d bought a weekend pass. I’d go and see Paprika Balkanicus, Kaki King, Bedouimn Jerry Can Band, Ska Cubano, Neil Finn perhaps, and stumble across other great acts.