While the pandemic forced a dramatic change in format for the world music festival in 2021 – it was moved from Botanic Park to King Rodney Park in the Adelaide Park Lands, with a seated, socially distanced audience and no international artists – organisers and fans hailed it as a success.
The concert series opened on Friday night with Archie Roach making his seventh – and final – WOMADelaide appearance, a poignant performance featuring mainly songs from his 30-year-old debut album, Charcoal Lane. Singer-songwriter Lior took to the stage on the same night with the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra to perform his Hebrew-Arabic song-cycle Compassion, with the orchestra conducted by his collaborator, composer Nigel Westlake.
WOMADelaide 2021 headliners Midnight Oil performed on Saturday night and had the capacity audience on their feet for the full set of hits from throughout their career, then returned last night for Makarrata Live – songs from their latest album performed with First Nations collaborators including Dan Sultan, Alice Skye, Troy Cassar-Daley and Bunna Lawrie.
Other highlights over the weekend included Tash Sultana, whose Sunday night set showcased the musician’s skills on myriad different instruments, neo soul singer Kaiit, and Vika and Linda Bull, who were in fine form on Saturday with a set including gospel songs, new tracks and a powerful rendition of “Bridge Over Troubled Water”, performed as a tribute to music industry legend Michael Gudinski.
Read reviews of WOMADelaide concerts here.
WOMADelaide in pictures
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This article is supported by the Judith Neilson Institute for Journalism and Ideas.