1997 saw attendances swell to 60,000 for the fourth iteration of WOMADelaide, with the event now being managed by Arts Projects Australia.
Festival highlights included a LOUD opening night set from Midnight Oil, who debuted a new song - "White Skin, Black Heart". Crowd favourites, Afro Celt Sound System, made their first festival apperance and had to borrow percussion instruments from local musician Jerome Lyons after their drums got lost-in-transit. Shooglenifty, the Terem Quartet, and Dya Singh were similarly well received across a mild, sometimes overcast three days of entertainment.
The biennial WOMAD New Zealand was born as a ‘sister festival’ to WOMADelaide in 1997, being presented in Auckland the weekend after Adelaide in 1997 and 1999. WOMAD NZ took a year off in 2001 and emerged in New Plymouth in 2003 and 2005, where it has been annual since 2007.
"Adelaide can't be like this all of the time because WOMADelaide is a celebration of something very rare, something very special" - Fran, Entropy Magazine
"WOMADelaide's theme is a celebration of acceptance of difference, with music as the core" - Sarah Thomas, The Advertiser