Four days of World Music from artists you’ve never heard of? Hippies and families wandering Botanic Park in bare feet? So WOMADelaide is obviously an old-person’s festival right? WRONG!

This annual event is an absolute feast for all your senses. Food from all corners of the globe – check. World-renowned acts (including plenty of proud Australian talent) – check. Dream catcher-filled trees; face-painting for the young and young-at-heart; independent stalls reminiscent of the Gilles Street Markets – check, check and check.

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Friday night kicked off in style with the hustle and bustle of the ‘Colour of Time’ Parade. Inspired by India’s traditional Holi festival, it featured dancers, musicians and crowd revellers all coming together in an explosion of sound, colour and energy. Following the parade, Melbourne-based duo Willow Beats stole the evening with their intimate, spellbinding performance Fresh’s own Dave Collins from Beats’n’Pieces played a chilled set at Yalumba Bar, warming up the punters for headline act of the night- Rufus Wainwright. Japanese Jazz outfit Soil & Pimp closed the evening with an electric live set. Their unique brand of high energy ‘Death Jazz’ really got the crowd into a dance frenzy

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New Yorkers Balkan Beat Box were an energetic stand-out. The six-piece band, fronted by charismatic Ori Kaplan, displayed their Latin-influenced, rhythmically-dominated sounds interweaved with rap melodically driven by the two saxophonists. DJ Theo Parrish loves what he does and it shows. His mix of House Funk had even the tiredest of feet bopping along. After a day of sunshine, warm weather and relaxation, all of the premium talent came out in full form on Sunday evening. First Aid Kit, drew a substantial crowd to the Internode stage with songs from their acclaimed third album Stay Gold as dusk fell.

Bill Fragos from Soul Good was there to spin some smooth house tracks for the folks down at the Yalumba Bar. DJ Spooky closed off the evening with an electric and hypnotic DJ set, which really set off the beautiful outdoor atmosphere. His 70’s rock influence was evident throughout his performance. Adelaide’s own Timberwolf, a confident performer with an established following, also gave an excellent performance.

Robert Ragz from Dancehall and Ting was on hand to warm up the punters with some chilled dance hall and reggae for headliner Sinead O’Connor at Yalumba bar. Sinead then set out to prove that she was more than her hit 90’s single – but the crowd who waited patiently for over an hour for “Nothing Compares to You” were indeed rewarded at the very end of her set.

Despite her absence from the music industry for the past 17 years, eighties superstar Neneh Cherry was in excellent form. She had a story to tell, making full use of her powerhouse vocals, through to the adjacent stages. Switching effortlessly between her rap style and her alternative hip-hop electronica sound, she commanded the stage with confidence and sass. Finally, those not ready to face the festival’s end danced on to the African influenced Disco beats of Invisible Cities DJs .

Thank you WOMAD.

Words by Anh Ngo and Emily Angwin.

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