Live Review + Gallery: WOMADelaide Day 1 (Friday, 10th March, 2023)

This was my first time attending the WOMADelaide festival, a celebration of world music held on the traditional lands of the Kaurna People. WOMADelaide – World Of Music Arts & Dance – is an iconic open-air festival celebrating cultural discovery in the heart of Adelaide’s stunning Botanic Park, having been held annually since 1992.

To say that I was pleasantly surprised would be an understatement. I was greeted at the entrance gate by the sight and sound of around 30,000 flying foxes (Australia’s largest bat species) roosting in the tall trees….a ‘wow’ moment just as I entered the site. With all of this, there was also the park gardens, with its’ long, cool green grass and plenty of tall trees to provide shade if necessary. This was beginning to look like it was going to be different to any other major festival I had attended before.

The festival was opened officially with a traditional indigenous Welcome To Country, and was quickly followed with acts filling the surrounding seven stages, and other roving acts moving throughout the site.

No one person could possibly cover every act throughout the festival, so I shall give you a rundown on those acts I did manage to catch.

My first port of call after the Welcome To Country was The Garifuna Collective. Garifuna culture of Central America has been shaped over centuries by its mixed ethnicity and location.  The people were descended from Caribbean natives and enslaved Africans and the music is an intoxicating mix of both cultures’ rhythms. The Collective had the right amount of energy and punch to get everybody into the spirit of the festival, urging the crowd on to dance and move to the music.

Next up, I had the pleasure of catching American banjo players, and husband and wife duo, Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn. The beautifully crafted interplay between these two master musicians was a delight to behold.

Following this, I had to battle my way through an enormous crowd who had assembled before Stage 2 to see Norwegian alt-pop star, AURORA, strut her stuff……..and strut she did, with her highly energetic music and stage presence captivating all.

My next port of call was to the Zoo Stage to see emerging Melbourne-based, folk-rock songstress, Grace Cummings, who surprised many with her deep and powerful vocals.

Next up was Ukranian/Canadian trio, Balaklava Blues, a band who blend traditional Ukrainian song-writing and instruments with electronica and dub-step to create their highly unique sound.

My final act for day one was Julian Belbachir who was born in Sydney to Moroccan and Australian parents, and was raised in the multicultural Surry Hills and Redfern areas. This upbringing influenced his musical journey, and he bought a great band to the festival to entertain with a lively African reggae-infused set.

Welcome To Country

The Garifuna Collective Gallery

Béla Fleck & Abigail Washburn Gallery

AURORA Gallery

Grace Cummings Gallery

Balaklava Blues Gallery

Julian Belbachir Gallery

All photos: ©fullonrockphotography/Andrew Fuller

Previous Premiere: The hyperkinetic Radio Free Alice provide us with an exclusive look at their new video for the heady joys of single 'I Gotta (Fall In Love)'.
Next Gallery & Set-list: The Hardkiss - The Academy, Dublin 13.03.2023

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