Our family loves WOMAD and feel very lucky to live in Adelaide because we have all been going since the kids were little (Jamie spent his 23rd birthday at Womad on Saturday). But I gotta say, this year left us feeling a bit like the passive consumers of a corporate ‘growth at all costs’ institution, which is ironic because I managed to earn a site access pass by helping out with the ‘Planet Talks’ sponsored by the Environment Institute. The thing that really got up my nose was that having committed to our 4-day passes months ago in order to get a few dollars off the $307 ticket price, there was absolutely NO FLEXIBILITY. You get a wristband that has to stay attached for the full four days. I was not able to return my unused wristband when I earned by site access pass. I couldn’t share ‘spare days’ with my kids and nobody we knew wanted to commit to buying my full four day pass.
I wasn’t going to whinge about this until I met up with my esteemed colleague (and the other ‘mayor’ of most of the Womad stages) Michael Coghlan. He echoed my sentiment that it seems that the ‘success’ (ie growth) of WOMADelaide has gone a tad too far. With so many rules & regulations designed to protect financial interests it feels like one is cheating by trying to SHARE anything of the experience with others who have not PAID. By sharing I mean anything from extra tickets to photos, and heaven forbid – video recording from smart phone if you are lucky enough to get front and centre!
Now that I have that off my chest, I do want to say how grateful I am to have been there for the full four days to suck the marrow from the awesome array of artistry that the event attracts. With the help of a few well informed friends and the awesome program guide I was able to discover some real unexpected treats. What follows is my journal as compiled by my FourSquare check-ins.