Organizers of the Womad festival in Taranaki say that next March’s event, with a completely New Zealand-based lineup, will be as fantastic as any other year.
They say that local artists have what it takes to fill the event with the sounds, flavors and vibes of the four corners of the world.
Covid-19 forced to disconnect the festival this year at the 11 hour.
But now acts like LatinAotearoa are poised to take center stage at New Zealand’s premier world music festival.
The band’s DJ producer is Brazilian Kiwi Bobby Brazuka.
Calling from the lockdown in Auckland, he has no doubt that New Zealand has the talent to pull off a Womad.
“With the selection of musicians they’ve chosen so far, it’s such a good lineup. You can’t go wrong with Fat Freddy’s Drop and Hollie Smith and Deva Mahal. These people are amazing, you know, and they go and travel overseas and play in. massive festivals around the world. “
At the official launch of the event last night, festival director Emere Wano announced 16 new acts.
He said the decision to cancel Womad 2021 laid the foundation for what he promised would be an impressive Womad 2022.
“We had already started that discovery last year. Looking at what talent we really had in Aotearoa because we were very clear that we could only do this if the depth of talent was available here with the borders closed.”
But if you’re concerned that Womad is at risk of becoming another homegrown festival, have no fear.
Along with Kiwi staples like Salmonella Dub and Fly My Pretties, Emere Wano said there were hidden gems too, like New Zealand’s own Bulgarian vocal group Acapollinations.
“And now is the time to show that work that they have done abroad and they may not have had that opportunity if our borders were open because we may have a Bulgarian group, if you know what I mean.”
Wano said it was also an opportunity to sign up for artists who had returned from abroad, such as Fat Freddy’s Drop.
“Usually we can’t get them, so they canceled a tour, so they got in touch and said ‘hey, we’re really looking forward to playing’ and we were like ‘yeah, great, we’ll take you.’ They’re the classic example, but there would have been several artists who would normally be abroad. “
Wano is also excited to announce that the Topp Twins will celebrate 40 years in the entertainment business at the festival.
The executive director of the organizers of Womad NZ, Taranaki Arts Festival Trust, Suzanne Porter answered the curious questions of Covid-19.
She said that Womad was following the government’s lead.
“From what we know at this time, and we don’t have the details yet, is that you will be asked to get vaccinated twice in order to attend any large meeting and it has not been defined what a large meeting is, but Womad will definitely be in. that category. “
She was taking negative comments on the subject in stride.
“The way I saw it was by the happy smiling faces and the sad and angry faces and it was around 80/20, reflecting the public’s stance on vaccination, I would say.”
The New Plymouth District Council is funding this year’s festival to the tune of $ 2 million.
Mayor Neil Holdom said it was not a safe bet, at the moment.
“I would have to say that with the current Delta outbreak and the uncertainty I think we’re probably 50/50 if we can, you know, some of that may be required.”
I was hopeful that Wellington would soon offer some more clarity on large-scale events.
“I think the government realizes that New Zealanders need to go out and have fun this summer because it has been a long cold winter and we are all quite tired.”
You wouldn’t get any arguments from Bobby Brazuka on that front.
“We’ve been through a lot these last few years and it would be great to see everyone there and we have a great show, we bring great moments and a great Latin experience for you with a little Kiwi influence.”
Womad New Zealand is scheduled to run at the TSB Bowl in Brooklands and Brooklands Park in New Plymouth between March 18-22 next year.
More performer announcements are expected in the coming months.
Musical artists featured in WOMAD 2022:
Acapollinations, Avantdale Bowling Club, Bobby Brazuka, Carnivorous Plant Society, Deva Mahal, Fat Freddy’s Drop, Fly My Pretties, Hollie Smith, IPU Kodama Japanese Drum Team, Latinaotearoa, Lord Echo (DJ set), Mudra Dance, Niko Ne Zna, Ria Hall, Salmonella Dub, Shades of Shakti, SWÂMP THÏNG, Topp Twins, Weird Together, Yaw Asumadu and Ozi Ozaa
Speakers from OMV STEAM Lab and World of Words to appear at WOMAD 2022:
Dick Frizzell, Dr. Siouxsie Wiles, Tom Sainsbury