WOMAD2017 - Saturday Wrap

Here are our highlights of WOMAD Day 2. Keen for more live, punchy WOMAD content? Follow Jen and Justin each day of WOMAD live on Facebook.


Melbourne rapper L-FRESH the LION (Novatech) took off at 3pm, with the crowd full of fists raised in the air and some great dancing to a few cheeky covers (notably Dre's 'Next Episode').

I hung around for a curious edition of Planet Talks (in Speaker's Corner, 4pm). Guests Carmel Johnston and Josh Richards talked about the prospect of a manned mission to Mars, and in particular, they discussed NASA's proposed 2027 Mars One mission.

Plenty of ideas worth discussing here, but I shouldn't write an entire WOMAD article about space travel. I'll leave it at a quote from Richards, the Australian candidate for Mars One, on the qualities required of a Mars conquistador:

They want to send 4 MacGyvers that are good housemates.

[pictured: Tago, Sinkane, La Mambanegra]

Then it was off to the main area, but not before bumping into some wayward gadabouts:

After a bite to eat, and a bit of Bingo, I found myself surrounded by hippy teens for Dope Lemon (Stage 3, 7pm), led by Angus of Hottest 100-winning Angus and Julia Stone fame.

The famous sibling's laid back, reverberating rock songs echoed over the hills, full of wayward festival goers, and set the scene for a slow, subdued sunset.

Today's Bingo progress (3/36):

  • Baby wearing elastic earmuffs
  • Hour-long queue at Byron Bay Donuts
  • #vapelife

[pictured: The Bulb Heads (roving act), The Waifs]

At their third WOMAD, The Waifs (Foundation, 8pm) mixed old and new songs, including an ode to rural women in honour of International Women's Day. The nostalgic crowd were even treated to an encore - almost unprecedented at the festival, putting The Waifs in the select company of Billy Bragg and Sinead O'Connor.

I mean, picture the Waifs. Do you like the Waifs? Boy, you'd have loved it. I liked it, especially the part where they were the Waifs.

Manganiyar Classroom (Stage 2, 9pm) told a romantic and at-times contemplative parable about the way children are taught. The choir of nascent scholars play and laugh and chide their teacher for trying to teach them without using music - gasp! It's all in good fun, but it has a nice, simple takeaway message about the way education works and could be improved.

Plus, I took up drumming for a few years after I too drummed on school desks, so this has some special personal resonance.

Emir Kusturica and his No Smoking Orchestra played out the Foundation Stage (10:30pm) with a band that seemed to grow larger with every song. An accordion, a trumpet, a saxophone, a mum and dad guitar, drums - if you like instruments, or two-time Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or winning directors, you'll love these guys.

(NB: I'm not sure if the No Smoking Orchestra are playing again - they're not listed as a single-show act in the program; but they also only have one show listed, so that might be a typo? If they do end up playing again, go along and have a dance! They thoroughly make it worth your while.)

This being the 25th anniversary, I imagine our final post-Monday review will make much of the ways in which this WOMADelaide harks back to WOMADs of old.

To me, this pair of acts represented why people keep coming to WOMAD instead of festivals that host more traditional, domestically popular music acts. You don't have to know the bands to know that they've been well chosen. And also pretty damn fun.

And after the summer heat, it was a sweet relief to hear the bats back in numbers, singing along to Skratch Bastid's DJ set.


Words by Justin McArthur, images by Jen St Jack. You can follow Jen and Justin each day of WOMADelaide, here on Great Scott! and live on Facebook.

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