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Last updated April 2010.

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5-8th March 2010 .Botanic Park. Adelaide.

Womudelaide ?

Nah not really, whilst it rained quite heavily on Saturday ( when this picture was taken ) it wasn't enough to create a Glastonbury like mud bowl.

© Captain Kaos

   The first ever 4 day WomAdelaide was a trifle wet at times, but it did not stop us all from having a good deal of fun and the weather proved to be no deterrent as far as numbers attending were concerned. Over 80,000 are reported to have passed through the leafy gates . Its evident that despite many regulars deciding that this year wasn't for them , others have taken their place . Womadelaide continues to defy recessions, bad weather and doubters and trundles on its merry way seemingly unscathed.

   Unlike 2009, where I expressed some gripes about changes , I think that this years festival was one of the strongest ever. Ok, it seems like my old fave eatery Buddha's Bowl has gone for good, and it looks like the Holy Cow restaurant is going to stay at the Global village and not move back to the Speakers Corner area, but there were a lot of good things happening that more than made up for these changes.

  Musically, this was one of the best lineups for years. It was such a good bill that it proved difficult to slot in all the worthwhile acts , even over four days . Because I was so busy chasing from one stage to another to catch the music , I missed out on most of the live theatre. This year was a huge improvement on 2009, which had seemingly skimped on this aspect of the festival . There were far more roving acts in evidence and the organisers had also taken more care over lighting installations this time round . Eye candy was to be be found sprinkled around the site as well as on stage , although the lighting for the Dj's at speakers corner still sucks . When is anyone going to book a decent VJ to enhance the music for the late night sessions ?

    The musical highlights were many and varied. For those who liked to pigeonhole their World music , there was Celtic music in the form of the phenomenal Mairtin O'Connor Trio . The laid back Cretan Lyre music of the Ross Daly Ensemble was nevertheless , mighty in its interweaving of instruments. The slightly more up tempo Palestinian activist Amal Murkus was another highlight .

    Other more adventurous souls would have appreciated the brass driven fusion presented by a host of acts. One could indeed have been able to mount a strong enough case to label Womadelaide 2010 as the year of BRASS. Band after band blew away the bad weather by infusing their music with a full on blast of horns .

   Melbourne based Public Opinion Afro Orchestra had no less than a six piece brass section, whilst the Dub Colossus had to make do with only four. The Ethiopiques sported a measly two wind instruments and one of these was a flute , but Chicago's Hypnotic Brass Ensemble topped the lot, fielding no less than seven players, including a massive tuba to hold down the bass lines as Taj Mahal did back in the early 70s. People were raving about their performances , as they had an incredible dynamic onstage . A tuba also featured in the Nortec Collective lineup and trumpets were to the fore in Eliades Ochoca's band.

Angus Watt flags cock a silken snoot at the inclement weather as they flutter protectively over stage one during the Armada's excellent set on Saturday arvo .

© Uncle Trumperbutt

      I loved the insane dancing crew from Grrilla Step. Krumping is full on , hostile and menacing, but so full of energy ! This mix of krump and polynesian rhythms was just mesmerising , these fellahs really had the crowd stomping and hollering for more . A revitalised Xavier Rudd ran amok all over the stage during his Monday set and he looked like he was loving every minute onstage. Now that he has moved away from his one man band setup he has the freedom to move and he took full advantage of it ! His band members were no mean slouches either , his music has been enriched by their presence.

     Other highlights were Ojos de Brujo ( who had fantastic projections ) . The Nortec Collective had great projections too and they also impressed with their odd mix of traditional Mexican instruments and technology , their two electronics manipulators, Bostich and Fussable, were hot ! Last but by no means least , Besh o droM , another frantic European act that also had a mean sax player onboard, took the crowd by storm . Much frenzied dancing took place despite the rain .

Grrilla step Krumpers invade the crowd © Captain Kaos

Ravi Shankar © Captain Kaos


   Downers ? Very few, I had a ball this year and there were no really BAD acts .But niggles ? Well, I found that the old school Ska of the Skatalites a bit ordinary, they soon wore out their welcome as far as I was concerned . Compagnie Transe Express were ok, but the problem was that their suspended artistes were just too far away for the show to have much impact. Unlike the Compagnie Carabosse, you could not get up close to the actors. Good percussion though and these guys had a wander through the crowd on occasions.

  Monday was special for two reasons . It was the first time the festival has run into a fourth day and the first (and probably last time) it played host to the wonderful Ravi Shankar. A friend was bored by Ravi, but I thought this was one of the best sets of Indian music ever in the festivals long history( I have seen them all since 1993). The 90 year old Shankar , despite appearing frail, radiated peace, tolerance and spirituality. He also demonstrated that time had not diminished his ability . A set that was full of vibrancy and subtleness. His daughter Anoushka proved that she was worthy of carrying on her fathers legacy in her opening solo spot. After that we had to go, nothing could have topped this and certainly not Dub Colossus , who were ok but not as good as their name suggests.

   Anyway, despite initial fears that we would feel totally stuffed after four days walking and dancing , despite our advanced years , we did survive and were able to go to work the next day. Will the festival continue in the four day format ?

The four-day Womadelaide music festival has finished at Botanic Park and organisers are celebrating a record result.
Director Ian Scobie says about 85,000 tickets were sold, exceeding the previous best of about 72,000.

Mr Scobie says organisers are pleased they decided to extend the music and dance festival from three days to four.

"The four days has made the pace of the festival I think for the audience and the artists slightly more relaxed," he said.

"Despite the sort of threatening weather at times, the sort of pace of the festival has been a little bit more laid back for people to enjoy, which has been great."

   Cost pressures that existed in 2009 evaporated in 2010 , the Aussie dollar is strong and this would have made it more profitable to tour , we have been inundated by good acts in all genres. The recession has hardly hit Oz , so people are relatively well off compared to most OECD countries.

  We would also like to profusely thank those folks who have allowed us to use their photos of Womadelaide 2009 on the site. If you follow the links to their personal sites you will see even more photos from this most wonderful of festivals !

womadelaide 2010

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