The South Australian Government today announced that it has secured a five-year license extension and an exclusive arrangement with WOMAD Ltd in the UK, to guarantee the future of the WOMADelaide festival in Adelaide until 2024 as well as supported a major development program for the festival.
The renewed and increased State Government support provided via the South Australian Tourism Commission’s Events South Australia will ensure that WOMADelaide can significantly develop and expand its programming, while continuing to present one of the nation’s most diverse and engaging outdoor festival programs of music, arts and dance, visual arts, street theatre, speakers and family-friendly entertainment which has secured its place as a major events tourism drawcard for the state.
The Premier of South Australia and Minister for the Arts, the Hon Jay Weatherill, said that the new agreement is a genuine coup for the state, and one that further cements SA’s reputation as the arts and festival capital of Australia.
"Guaranteeing WOMADelaide's place in South Australia is not only a boost for the arts sector, but also for tourism and the associated industries, as 45% of the festival’s audience comes from interstate. This unique festival delivers a $15.1 million economic impact annually, and with increased capacity from 2018, the value of WOMAD will continue to grow,” said Mr Weatherill.
WOMADelaide Director, Ian Scobie, said he was thrilled to receive the news of this important ongoing commitment and support from the State Government.
“The new agreement has enabled us to confirm the presentation of two large-scale, landmark productions to the 2018 festival; the extraordinary French aerial spectacular, Gratte Ciel’s Place des Anges (pictured), and the music masterpiece from India, The Manganiyar Seduction, Mr Scobie said.
As darkness falls each night, Gratte Ciel’s ‘angels’ will appear high above the treetops in Botanic Park, flying high above and descending into the audience in a cascade of white feathers; dancing across the sky in a magical performance set to music that will delight both young and old. This will be the first time that Place des Anges, which features a 32-strong French cast and crew working alongside multiple local crew and volunteers, will be presented outside an urban environment.
At the opposite end of Botanic Park, will be The Manganiyar Seduction, a stunning visual and musical spectacular composed of 43 musicians performing within a 36-windowed, multi-level, purpose-built ‘jewel box’ stage. The 60 minute performance, also to be held after dark each night at the 2018 festival, transposes the songs and traditions of the Manganiyars, a caste of musicians from the heart of the Thar Desert in Rajasthan, and is the creation of Roysten Abel whose more intimate work the Manganiyar Classroom delighted WOMADelaide audiences this year.
WOMAD’s founder, musician Peter Gabriel, said “Over the past 25 years, WOMADelaide has not only evolved into a great Australian event, but also a great WOMAD event. WOMAD festivals have always flourished in beautiful surroundings, and the location in Adelaide next to the Botanic Gardens is still one of my favourites."
"WOMADelaide has its own unique style and consistently brings its loyal audience new delights from all over the world under the inspired guardianship of the Ian Scobie and his excellent team."
"We really appreciate our partnership with the South Australian Tourism Commission and this big vote of confidence in our future."