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Near-record crowd at 2014 WOMADelaide

Festivals

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Thousands of world music fans made the most of the idyllic weather at the 2014 WOMADelaide, with ticket sales over the four days close to record levels.

Organisers said a total of 90,000 people went through the gates at Botanic Park over the long weekend.

The Saturday program sold out for the first time in a number of years, and tickets sales hit a new record on the Friday.

The only bad news came at the end of the festival, with a fire early this morning badly damaging stage two. No one was injured, and a spokesperson said it was not yet known how the blaze began.

Shade offered by the park’s towering pine trees and Morton Bay figs was at a premium on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, but festival-goers still happily got to their feet front-of-stage to dance to bands such as Brooklyn jazz/funk/hip-hop eight-piece Red Baraat, French reggae outfit Dub Inc and Aboriginal band Coloured Stone, which celebrated its 35th anniversary at the festival.

Fat Freddy's Drop. Photo: Che Chorley

Fat Freddy’s Drop. Photo: Che Chorley

Night-time acts rocking the main Internode Stage included Kiwi dub/reggae/soul band Fat Freddy’s Drop, Grammy-winning US hip-hop act Arrested Development, energetic young Zimbabwean group Mokoomba,  and Colombian/Belgian Latino-funk band La Chiva Gantiva.

Arrested Development. Photo: Che Chorley

Arrested Development. Photo: Che Chorley

There were plenty of more laid-back – and stripped-back – sounds across the park over the four days and nights, with the powerfully emotive voice of Portuguese Fado singer Carminho especially captivating.

Pokey LaFarge. Photo: Che Chorley

Pokey LaFarge. Photo: Che Chorley

Among other acts that proved popular were Scandinavian singer Ane Brun; St Louis jazz/ragtime/blues artist Pokey LaFarge; Papua New Guinean born singer-songwriter Ngaiire; ARIA-winning Australian Megan Washington, who played two concerts showcasing new songs as well as favourites from her two albums; and UK singer and activist Billy Bragg, who played just once on Monday evening.

Billy Bragg. Photo: Che Chorley

Billy Bragg. Photo: Che Chorley

For those seeking intellectual stimulation, the Planet Talks series canvassed a range of environment-related topics with national and international speakers, while Taste the World saw a number of this year’s artists showcasing their cultural cuisine and culinary skills alongside host chef Rosa Matto.

Slow Dancing. Installation by US artist David Michalek

Slow Dancing. Installation by US artist David Michalek

WOMADelaide always incorporates a strong visual element, and this year’s giant moving-image installation by US artist David Michalek, Slow Dancing, was exceptional. Featuring super-slow-motion video projections of dancers from a range of cultures and genres – from ballet to hip-hop – in the tranquil after-dark setting of “The Pines” at the back of the park, it was hypnotically beautiful.

I Spy: WOMADelaide social photos

 

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