WOMAD, the world’s festival, is delighted that following New Plymouth District Council’s announcement of a host city agreement with WOMAD International, New Zealand’s premier international festival will return to its home of the last 18 years in the stunning Brooklands Park in Taranaki in 2022.
After a year off in 2021 due to the global pandemic, 2022 will be an extra special year with all the features that have made WOMAD NZ an award-winning festival along with a raft of new ideas and exciting developments to celebrate its return.
Getting WOMAD NZ back up and happening has been a priority for Director of WOMAD International, Chris Smith.
Smith, who has been in New Plymouth for the festival for the last 14 years comments, “2021 was such a difficult year around the world, but this partnership agreement has been central to the decision to bring the festival back in 2022. WOMAD means so much to the people of New Plymouth who welcome our artists into their community and the festival brings a significant investment into the regional economy – We simply can’t wait to be back here in March.”
Now in a five-year direct partnership with the New Plymouth District Council, the three-day WOMAD festival will continue to be produced by (TAFT) Taranaki Arts Festival Trust who have presented the festival in New Plymouth since 2003.
CEO of TAFT, Suzanne Porter remarks, “Over the last 30 years, TAFT has proven that we have the expertise to deliver world-class festivals and events that have positioned Taranaki as a tourist destination, boosted the local economy, and ensured that our people access arts and cultural experiences outside of the metropolitan areas. TAFT is incredibly grateful for the surety that NPDC has provided, ensuring that WOMAD NZ can still call the beautiful Bowl of Brooklands, Taranaki, it’s home here in New Zealand. We are delighted to be partnering with WOMAD International once again.”
The WOMAD festival provides a substantial economic boost to the Taranaki region pulling in over 11,000 visitors to the region each year and delivering $6 million dollars into the local economy.
Chairman of the TAFT Board Charles Wilkinson adds, “TAFT is thrilled to continue to deliver WOMAD to the thousands of people who attend each year. 2022 will see the WOMAD NZ festival carry on business as usual for our festival teams and volunteers. We are looking forward to welcoming back WOMAD audiences for our 17th anniversary year.”
New Plymouth District Mayor, Neil Holdom said, “This is awesome news for music lovers, local business and visitors as the country emerges from our Covid bubble. WOMAD is part of our district’s DNA.”
Smith adds, “We are intending to deliver the international line-up that WOMAD NZ fans expect, through the richly diverse talent already here in New Zealand and hopefully supported by a number of artists from overseas if circumstances allow.”
Whatever happens in the coming weeks and months, WOMAD NZ 2022 will be a glittering celebration of the cultures of Aotearoa/New Zealand and the diversity of our magnificent world as always.