WOMADelaide is an annual world music and dance festival, which was first held in 1992 in Botanic Park, Adelaide, South Australia as part of the WOMAD series of music festivals. WOMAD events are a showcase of different sorts of music, arts and dance. They encourage people to experience the music of cultures other than their own as a way of developing global understanding. The WOMADelaide festival aims to entertain all age groups and people from all backgrounds. In 2002 Premier Mike Rann announced additional government funding to enable WOMADelaide to become an annual event.
WOMADelaide was first run in 1992 as part of the Adelaide Festival of Arts. From 1993 it has run every two years in odd-numbered years so as to not conflict with subsequent editions of the Festival which runs in even-numbered years. From 1996 the management of WOMADelaide was taken on by the Adelaide based arts company, Arts Projects Australia. In 2003, WOMADelaide became an annual festival. In 2004 the WOMADelaide Foundation was set up as a non-profit body to present the festival and special projects for remote Indigenous arts communities. In 2010, in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Adelaide Festival of Arts, WOMADelaide extended to four days. Due to overwhelming popularity, the festival has now permanently taken on the fourth day.
In 2008 WOMADelaide won the FasterLouder Festival Award for best Sound & Production. WOMADelaide also received the 2008 Helpmann Award for Best Contemporary Music Festival.
WOMADelaide is held in Botanic Park, which is situated north-east of central Adelaide, between the Adelaide Zoo and Adelaide Botanic Garden. The 34 hectare park is fenced off for the duration of the festival, providing an enormous amount of space. The main stages are set up around a backstage compound with Stage 1 in the middle and Stages 2 and 3 on either side, all facing out from the backstage area. There are an additional four smaller stages (Zoo Stage, Moreton Bay Stage and two in Speakers Corner). There are also visual arts exhibitions, a KidZone, a Global Village market area with over 100 food, crafts and display stalls, as well as several bars. All front-of-stage areas, the KidZone and the food and drink area are designated smoke free. WOMADelaide currently leads the way in Waste Minimisation working closely with Zero Waste SA. After the 2005 festival some six tonnes of compost from WOMADelaide waste were returned to the Botanic Gardens in an effort to preserve the delicate ecosystem in which the event is located. In 2007, WOMADelaide joined forces with Greening Australia, Australia’s largest environmental organisation, to remove the global warming impact of the event. The carbon generated through artists’ travel, and the festival site lighting and power was offset through the re-vegetation of native bushland in SA, which also helped to restore native habitat for rare and endangered species and reduce the effects of salinity.
WOMADelaide draws its performing artists from all over the world. A specific emphasis is placed on traditional music and performances of various cultures although some more contemporary, popular acts are included. The festival runs from 6pm to 1am on Friday, from 12noon until 1am on Saturday and from 12noon-12midnight on Sunday. In 2010, due to substantial popularity WOMADelaide was extended to include Monday from 12noon - 12midnight, making the festival four days in length. Artists also lead workshops demonstrating and/or discussing aspects of their performances on smaller stages. There are also artists who do 'roving' performances through the park and installation pieces, such as La Compagnie Carabosse who set up large fire installations at the 2005 festival.
More than 300 groups from 80 countries have appeared at the festival since 1992.