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World of Music Art and Dance Festival 2009

World of Music Art and Dance 2009
13-15 March
Brooklands Park & TSB Bowl of Brooklands, New Plymouth
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WOMAD (World of Music Art and Dance) has a strong organisational history dating back almost 30 years.

WOMAD was founded in 1980 in Bristol, England, through the inspiration of celebrated UK musician Peter Gabriel, and has since grown into an international organisation with diverse creative involvements and an ‘unparalleled international track record” (WOMAD 2006).

After its first WOMAD Festival in Shepton Mallet in 1982, during the 1980s WOMAD successfully established itself in the UK and went on to host the first international WOMAD Festivals in Denmark and Canada in 1988.

For the following two decades WOMAD continued to grow in strength – so much so that by 2006 WOMAD had presented more than 150 festivals in over 27 different international locations, involving thousands of artists from more than 100 countries and nationalities, performing to a combined audience of over four million people worldwide (WOMAD 2006).

WOMAD Ltd continues to develop as an organisation, working in partnership with organisations internationally to bring WOMAD Festivals to the world.

In 2002, the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) became aware that the WOMAD NZ festival was on the market for expressions of interest because Auckland would not be presenting it again.

WOMAD NZ had twice been presented in Auckland and had not succeeded financially as was hoped, even though artistically it was a great success.

TAFT expressed its interest in gaining the rights to present WOMAD in Taranaki and was successfully in securing the NZ rights to the festival.

In its first year in Taranaki (2003), WOMAD was more successful than anticipated. However, staging the bi-annual arts festival and WOMAD back-to-back nearly killed the TAFT team. After these events a decision was made to move the arts festival to a winter timeframe – July/August and for WOMAD to stand alone as an event during March. The summer calendar was becoming increasingly packed with a wide range of events. The move to the winter timeframe was done with some trepidation but it proved to be an incredibly successful move for the Arts Festival.

WOMAD FINANCIALS All TAFT’s festivals are independently analysed so that TAFT can present concise and correct information on the economic benefits that each festival provides.

WOMAD has a direct economic impact of 2.89 million dollars and a flow on economic impact of 6.43 million dollars. Direct spend on festival production in the region is 1.21 million dollars.

WOMAD THE EVENT OVER FOUR FESTIVALS An estimated 150,000 participants. An overall economic impact of at least $28 million, including at least 13.8 million of direct impact. A total of at least 1,465 performers including at least 714 international performers and 751 performers from New Zealand. All performers are treated as ambassadors for Taranaki and manikitanga is of utmost importance in TAFT’s hosting so that when the performers leave Taranaki they will speak well about Taranaki and the festival all over the world. A total of 33,125 visitors attracted to the region for the first four festivals, staying an average of 3.75 nights.

WOMAD THE EVENT Typically each year 70% of attendees are from outside the region and they give WOMAD a satisfaction rating of 97.7%. Approximately 42% of all visitors stay in some form of commercial accommodation. All commercial accommodation is booked out over the weekend, such is the demand for accommodation that WOMAD runs its own campground, accommodating 3,000 people. 97% of those surveyed over the first four festivals have indicated that WOMAD gives a positive image for the Taranaki region.

WOMAD – some realities There are some realities that TAFT must deal with in the delivery of WOMAD - these follow.

The TSB Bowl of Brooklands has a capped audience of 12,500. TAFT agrees with this capping as it facilitates a quality experience - a key driver for all TAFT events.

Due to the diminishment of public sector funding private sector partnership dollars have increased by 72% on an annual basis since 2003. Partnerships with the public and private sectors are always going to be needed to keep the ticket price affordable.

WOMAD attracts a large percentage of out of town visitors… typically 70% of total attendees are from outside Taranaki.

CONCLUSION This comment form Helen Clark sums up the impact that events and festivals can have on a region

“WOMAD itself is evidence of the economic spin-offs which can come from the cultural sector - it is part of the process by which Taranaki is being branded as a vibrant, interesting, and creative centre to the rest of the country, and also to overseas visitors”.


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