WOMAD festival kicks off in New Plymouth

A near-capacity crowd of music fans has descended on the WOMAD festival of music and dance in Taranaki.

WOMAD spokesperson Lucy Macrae said the festival was pumping, with perfect sunny weather today as global acts add to the vibe at big stages at Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl.

The Garifuna Collective were first up this afternoon, with their intoxicating mix of African rhythms and Latin American grooves.

“Garifuna Collective are from Belize, they reflect the spirit and the unity that has kept the afro indigenous people alive in this Caribbean country and they sing in the Garifuna language, which is just one of many which is spoken in Belize.”

RNZ’s Mark Amery who is a stage MC at this year’s festival told Music 101 it was “really beautiful” to be able to introduce the collective, who played on the main stage.

He said he particularly enjoyed last night’s set from Pakistan’s Rizwan-Muazzam Qawwals, whose music he described as “totally intense” and “hypnotic”.

“It’s really amazing to come to a festival where you are constantly surprised by the diversity of and intensity of music,” he said.

“It’s a beautiful place to be, particularly after a break of a couple of years.”

About 45,000 fans are expected to attend the festival, which kicked off last night celebrating its 20th anniversary.