WOMADelaide - Behind the Scenes!

 

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WOMADelaide, the musical melting pot that somehow manages to fit the entire world inside our own parklands, is heading for its 20th anniversary. And while it attracts performers from all over the globe, it’s the home-grown heroes who stitch the patchwork together. We set out to meet some of the locals who get a very different view of the event from behind the scenes.

No-one sums up the WOMADelaide spirit like Maureen Graney and Andrew Boorman, two volunteers among 160 or so who keep the crowds on track, they’ve been at every event since 1992, and are well qualified to be ambassadors-at-large.

Maureen: We’re called crowd care volunteers, and our job is to be a presence within the grounds, and any questions that anybody has, we help them out with.

Andrew: They call us a roving information booth. It’s really lovely to be able to put back into the organisation and you feel like part of WOMAD after all those years, so it’s nice to be on the other side, not just as a paying customer but also what comes behind, what goes on behind WOMAD.

We can always take home a little of what we love from WOMADelaide and that means someone has to chase up at least 5 dozen acts and artists on the program, and arrange to have their music in stock for the festival. Vic Flierl is like a one-man i-tunes store.

Vic: Yeah there’s nothing like seeing a band live to get people obviously interested in buying the CD, and so each year there’s like another 20 world music artists if you want to call them that who become well known, just because they’re here, we’ve never heard of them before, you know a couple of months ago, and now they’re well known, and some of them keep selling for years.

Now, sometimes the music of WOMADelaide takes on its very own flavour – literally. Doug Pike is responsible for helping artists cook up dishes from their own far flung corners of the globe in the Taste the World tent, and his shopping list is a little unusual.

Doug: Well they’re not bizarre for the people cooking them that’s the point, it’s maybe bizarre for us, I think we cooked camel last year, and people were like “wow, camel, never had that before” but really it’s quite bland and inoffensive, it’s really not something to be scared about. It’s just camel.

Getting the youngsters involved is a WOMADelaide hallmark. Amanda King helps create about 240 costumes in the magical Kidzone, so children can transform themselves.

Leigh: Okay Amanda, I’m intrigued, what are you working on?

Amanda: This is going to be a Budgie costume, and it’s 1 of the costumes being made for the parrot parade on Sunday.

Leigh: And the parade is always such a highlight.

Amanda: Yes, especially for the children and the families, its great fun.

In a venue that’s all about the outdoors, you’d think bad weather could really put a dampener on things but with 8 years’ of handing out festival pocket guides under her belt, Moni Almond knows just how waterproof our love affair with the event can be.

One year it was pouring down with rain, and we were in the info booth with no lights, saturated, soaked and could not direct any traffic because no-one could see anything, it was quite frustrating but again it was a really good time because everyone was running crazy.

Besides, you can always pick yourself up something dry to wear as a memento!

Kieran in the Merchandise Tent knows just what sells, and you may be surprised…

Kieran: The chairs usually, they just fly out and they sell out within the first couple of days for sure.

And the last word from someone who’s seen it all, and will still be back next time.

Andrew: Well it’s like the United Nations at play I think. Ah and everyone’s having a terrific time, the music from all over the world, it really allows you to dip into lots of different musical cultures, food, fantastic.