Wednesday, March 20, 2013

WOMAD New Plymouth 2013

We've just returned from our third WOMAD weekend. New Zealand's WOMAD event is held in New Plymouth each March and provides a eclectic mix of music and dance events. The festival runs from for three days - Friday afternoon till midnight, Saturday midday to midnight and Sunday midday to 11pm.

Crowd at the main stage
Along with thousands of others we camp at the racecourse which is next door to the Brooklands Park where WOMAD is held. After setting up our campsite we picked up our wristbands and programmes and spent some time planning which acts we would go to see. There are five stages running with performances generally running for an hour. It's not possible to see all acts so it takes a bit of planning to try and catch the ones you're most interested in. The first year we went we played it by ear and missed out on some great acts. We've got better at it!

This year the standout acts on Friday night were Hugh Masekala followed by Shunsuke Kimura and Etsuro Ono. After an enjoyable first evening we headed off to the campsite while Fly My Pretties were playing on the main stage. Saturday dawned bright and sunny and we had a lazy morning including a swim down at the beach before packing up some supplies and getting back to music listening / watching at midday.

We started the day with a fun performance from Newtown Rocksteady - great to see a Wellington bank performing and they got the crowd rocking. The next great act for the afternoon was The Correspondents from the UK. Their live act is great to see with Mr Bruce (the lead) dancing like a crazy man. The other act that we really enjoyed was Lau. These guys were billed as Scottish folk artists which didn't particularly appeal. In reality they were great - amusing, good music and fun.

Sunday dawned.... wet. Ugh! The weather forecasters were right for once. With jackets on and spare clothes we followed the crowd to get the final day of WOMAD started. For us the day started on the main stage with the Melbourne Ska Orchestra. Considering the weather was fairly rubbish these guys got the crowd jumping (watch the beginning of the video at the link I've provided and it was pretty similar to that).

Melbourne Ska Orchestra on the main stage (in the rain)
The other act that we particularly enjoyed was Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch. They were joined near the end of their act by the guys from Lau.

Abigail Washburn and Kai Welch with Lau on the Chimney stage

Our evening ended with a repeat performance from the Correspondents.

Of course there plenty of other performers who were very good. I've just mentioned the ones that were the highlights for us. After a great weekend of music / performance and a few drinks and yummy food we packed up camp on Monday and headed for home - in the rain.

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