Marley, an eight-time Grammy Award winner and the son of reggae legend Bob Marley, led the 2020 WOMADelaide full program announcement and was to have played one show only to close out the festival on Monday night.
However, the festival released a statement this afternoon in which the singer apologised to fans, saying he wouldn’t be able to make it to the WOMAD festivals in Adelaide and New Zealand.
“I had some unforeseen family responsibilities that came up and I have to take care of it,” Marley said.
“I always love coming. I was really looking forward to this trip and we haven’t been there in a while so it was really sad that we’re not making it but alas, next year at the WOMAD festivals we will be there and so we will see you then.
“My apologies to everyone – WOMAD crew, music fans, music lovers, everyone. My apologies, but we’ll see you next year.”
WOMADelaide director Ian Scobie said the festival was “working hard” to find a new artist to fill Marley’s Monday timeslot on the Foundation Stage and hoped to make an announcement about it soon.
“We are sad that Ziggy will no longer be joining us this weekend, or our sister festival in New Zealand next weekend, but we have been assured that this decision was not made lightly,” Scobie said.
“We wish Ziggy and his young family only the best.”
Marley was a big drawcard for the festival, having built a strong music career in his own right as well as upholding the legacy of his father. He has released eight records with his band The Melody Makers, including breakthrough album Conscious Party in 1988, as well as seven solo albums.
The 2020 WOMADelaide festival opens tomorrow evening and continues through until Monday in Botanic Park, with more than 40 acts on the line-up.
Other musicians performing across the weekend include civil rights icon and Rock and Roll and Blues Hall of Famer Mavis Staples, Australian festival band The Cat Empire, UK folk singer Laura Marling, and Mali musician Salif Keita.