A brief history
WOMADelaide was first presented as part of the 1992 Adelaide Festival of Arts, in a joint venture between the Adelaide Festival and the UK based WOMAD organisation. WOMAD – the World Of Music, Arts and Dance – was established in 1982 by former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel (pictured) with the goal of introducing a wider international audience to talented artists from around the world. The resulting WOMAD festivals have since grown into a global phenomenon, with events held in Australia, the UK, New Zealand, Spain, Chile, UAE, Russia, Italy, Singapore, Sri Lanka and the USA.
In Australia, the commercial and critical success of the first WOMADelaide encouraged the subsequent staging of the festival as a ‘stand-alone’ event biennially from 1993, in alternate years to the then-biennially staged Adelaide Festival. WOMADelaide shifted to an annual cycle from 2004 once again as part of the Adelaide Festival program, which has also, since 2012 moved to an annual cycle.
In February 2004 the WOMADelaide Foundation, a not-for-profit body listed on the Commonwealth Government’s Register of Cultural Organisations, was established to present the festival each year. WOMADelaide became a four-day event in 2010 in celebration of the Adelaide Festival’s 50th anniversary, running over the Public Holiday Monday in March.
Over 950 artists and groups have performed at WOMADelaide since the very first festival back in 1992. From Remmy Ongala & Orchestre Super Matimila (Tanzania,1992) to Mavis Staples (USA, 2008) and Luzmila Carpio (Bolivia, 2015), browse the full list of previous performers that have brought their unique and magical talents to Botanic Park HERE.
For more information, and for students doing assignments and seeking a more detailed history of WOMADelaide and the WOMAD organisation, please see our Summary and History document.