Womad 2021 cancelled after hunt for new production partner draws a blank

Iconic music, arts, and dance festival WOMAD has been cancelled for 2021.

Womad (The World of Music, Arts and Dance) New Zealand has pulled the pin on its 12-14 March 2021 schedule, after trying to find a new production partner when the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (Taft) withdrew its support in November.

At the time, Taft said it was a “heart-wrenching” decision influenced by the uncertainty of Covid-19.

Womad director Chris Smith said he received inquiries from New Zealand companies wanting to produce the festival.

“We have been working hard to develop a new partnership, and even though we are very close to getting the right arrangements in place with a great partner, producing a festival like Womad is a complicated task,” Smith said.

“We feel that we have run out of time to get the Womad we all know and love in place by 12th March.”

Smith said the New Plymouth-based festival would be back in 2022.

“We believe that the right place for the Womad experience is still its home of the last 20 years the Brooklands Bowl, New Plymouth. We are doing everything we can to secure our long-term future there.”

The annual schedule for the three-day family-friendly arts festival includes musicians,DJs, authors,comedians and poets.

In September, the popular Laneway music festival was also canned for 2021.

The festival has been staged at Auckland’s Albert Park in recent years and attracts a high calibre of local and international acts.

Past headliners include The 1975, Florence + The Machine, Charli XCX and Haim.

In a statement at the time, Laneway organisers cited the unpredictability surrounding Covid-19 as reasons for canning next year’s event.

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