Adelaide celebrated the return of large-scale live music events for WOMADelaide 2021, held between 5-8 March in a custom-built, temporary arena in a new venue - Adelaide’s King Rodney Park / Ityamai-itpina. The reimagined COVID-Safe format of four nightly, seated concerts was embraced and hailed by critics and audiences alike as an enormous success. The four evenings featured two unforgettable performances from global rock icons Midnight Oil, a stunning collaboration between singer Lior, conductor Nigel Westlake and the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra Compassion, and an emotional farewell show from the beloved Archie Roach. The world premiere of Midnight Oil’s Makarrata LIVE, a spectacular performance of solidarity and empowerment driving recognition for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people featured some of the country’s finest First Nations musicians, including Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Troy Cassar-Daley, Tasman Keith, Leah Flanagan, Frank Yamma and Bunna Lawrie.
2021 also saw a new artist development program, the WOMADelaide x NSS Academy, debut graduates MRLN X RKM to the WOMAD stage for their biggest performance to date.
"It’s not the Womadelaide we remember – how could it be – but the fact it has happened at all is a gift" - Walter Marsh, The Guardian
"With 30th anniversary celebrations on the card for 2022, thoughts do turn to how on earth could they ever top a festival such as this? Even with COVID restrictions, WOMADelaide have once again set the bar for what a festival should be in Australia – and we were lucky to experience it" - Tyler Jenke, Rolling Stone