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Rollercoaster Emotions For Womad Winner, Announced Today

For 24 year old Jessica Griffith and her Taranaki-based family, becoming the winner of this year’s “From Anywhere to WOMAD for Free” competition has been a rollercoaster ride for their emotions.

Their original entry included a video montage of Jess from a baby in a rasta-coloured beanie through to teenage celebrations at the festival as a food stall staffer to a New Year’s Eve prank where her mum and dad tell her she’s won the competition, then reveal they’re just kidding.

Luckily for them all, Jess did end up winning off the back of this innovative entry.

“My first words were "What!? Is this real?! You better not be messing with me right now, I'm at work!!" says Jessica, currently on her OE in California with a severe dose of homesickness. “For the rest of the evening at work I was creepily friendly to all my customers and my happiness was clear by my ridiculous grin. I am so excited to be coming back to New Zealand for WOMAD and sharing it with the people I love the most.”

This is the second year event organisers have run the competition, whereby people nominated a loved one to win a trip to WOMAD NZ from anywhere in the world. Entries were judged on creativity, connections to WOMAD in their stories and public voting.

The ultimate decision was a tough one for the judges, who spent a number of hours debating the top entries.

As payback for the New Year’s Eve prank, the organisers of WOMAD tracked down Jessica’s mother Zay and pranked her in return. They told her on video she had won; then revealed she’d actually come in second. Once she was suitably disappointed, they let her know the happy decision – Jess would indeed be home for WOMAD 2014.

“At the time it was completely surreal,” says Jess’s mum Zay. “To go from winning to losing to winning again: I thought, ‘Well, I deserved that!’ I am so unbelievably grateful and love, love, love that our girl is going to be with us at WOMAD again this year.”

“I believe that if you put good things out into the universe then you will receive back,” says Jess. “Maybe when you least expect it and need it the most.”

For the first time, Jess and her family will be able to watch films at the festival, thanks to 150 silent disco headphones. At previous WOMAD celebrations films could be no more than an hour and there was crossover sound from the other stages, this year the problem has been fixed.

There will be three feature films, some art films of Len Lye and an opportunity to view the TropFest short film competition winners. It offers a time for festival-goers to relax in between dancing to their favourite bands.

ENDS

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