WOMADelaide made a triumphant return to Adelaide’s Botanic Park over March 11 – 14, as it celebrated three decades as one of the country’s premier outdoor festivals of music, arts and dance and signalled the return of large scale outdoor festivals in Australia.

PRESS RELEASE: 15 March 2022

The weekend was truly alive with joyous celebration as over 650 artists took to WOMADelaide’s seven stages including The Cat Empire’s final ever festival appearance and Paul Kelly’s unforgettable Monday night set to close the Foundation Stage.

Dancenorth’s ‘Noise’ captivated crowds nightly to the rhythm of 100 percussionists, Joseph Tawadros delivered his beautiful concerto for oud with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, while Electric Fields accompanied by special guests Antara singers and Tjarutja First Nations Dance Collative delivered an extraordinarily powerful show, and Adelaide producer Motez delivered an otherworldly live premiere.

“The richness and diversity of Australian culture is the most notable feature of WOMADelaide 2022.” - The Advertiser, Stephen Whittington

Joseph and James Tawadros joined the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra in opening the festival on Friday and from the first note it became apparent that the weekend ahead was set to be a true celebration of Australia’s rich multicultural fabric as Tawadros’ cinematic Concerto for Oud and Orchestra rang out across the park.  

YolÅ‹u rapper Baker Boy dramatically raised the energy as thousands sang and danced along to the multiple ARIA nominated MC. Springtime touted their hypnotic grunge rock, while Adelaide’s Shaolin Afronauts saturated audiences with their unique Afro-funk fusion.

Closing the first night’s festivities was the debut WOMADelaide performance from New Zealand’s L.A.B, whose high energy, guitar-heavy electro-reggae ensured the masses left the Friday night beaming with delight.

Saturday saw the powerful return of A.B. Original, who not only dominated the stage but were joined by Courtney Barnett, Thelma Plum and Mo’ju for some extraordinary musical moments that will be remembered by WOMADelaide crowds for years to come.

South Australian producer Motez delivered the premiere performance of his extraordinary new live show, coupled with a spectacular lighting design that lit up the park and mesmerised audiences into a dancing frenzy. Australia’s international powerhouse Courtney Barnett played her first ever gig at WOMADelaide and helped celebrate the festival’s 30th birthday with a 90-minute set that had the audience hanging off every note.

On the Sunday night, The Cat Empire bid a passionate farewell to the festival as the current line-up played their last ever WOMADelaide performance, 19 years after their first in 2003, with thousands of people enjoying the greatness of one of Australia’s most beloved bands. Electric Fields drew a remarkable crowd as Zaachariaha Fielding and Michael Ross, joined by a collection of remarkable first nations dancers, held the audience in awe late into the Sunday evening.

For the final day, Paul Kelly, who played at the first WOMADelaide in 1992, captivated the crowd as thousands sang along and revelled in the musical storytelling talents of one of Australia’s greatest singer-songwriters.

Other highlights on Monday included the powerful hip hop of Malyangapa, Barkindji woman Barkaa, the USA’s Cedric Burnside took festivalgoers on a blues journey across Mississippi and back to Botanic Park, and UK producer Floating Points offered revellers one last chance to dance and celebrate three decades of WOMADelaide.

With perfectly balmy weather across the weekend, audiences rejoiced as they were immersed in the sights and sounds of WOMADelaide, reinforcing the festival’s 30-year tradition of taking audiences on a journey through the world’s finest music, arts and dance.