New Dad @ WOMAD: Day two

Saturday kicks into gear with a fizz.

The stunning Ezra Collective sweeping up the ever swelling midday crowd with their intense, complex rhythms and beats. One of the must see acts on my list, they did not disappoint. Energetic, exciting and fresh they send a jolt of electricity through some bleary eyed revellers, an exhausted new dad included. What a way to kick off day two!

With the promise of more crackers and dancing, Ira rolls in to WOMAD fashionably late. After basically refusing to sleep all night, he and mummy stayed home for an elongated nap and arrive ready to party just as RURA wrap up their stellar performance at the Dell stage.

I think organisers need to realise just how drawn to folk and Celtic music Kiwis are. The Dell stage and surrounding hills, paths and trees were absolutely jam packed with people, they could easily have filled one of the larger stage areas.

Ira munches on a cracker as we wind our way through the stalls, his legs kicking excitedly as we draw nearer to the sounds of The Hot Potato Band.

Thick, heavy ska beats thump across the crowds as some on stage acrobatics are performed all while wielding full sized tubas, saxophones and trombones.

I think back to my days in the youth orchestra and wonder how my conductors would have reacted to see me bounding across the stage waving my precious instruments in the air while having audience members throw avocados at me… WOMAD is the only event I can think of where an avocado could elicit such a crowd reaction.

Our little family find a super-secret shady spot to hide from the sun, and Ira toddles off to find more crackers. Some friends join us, and we lay in the cool grass, taking in the sounds and watching Ira play happily amongst the flowers.

That’s the thing with the bowl, even though there are 15,000+ revellers, you can always find a shady spot somewhere to just sit and prepare for the next act or eat in peace.

For other parents navigating WOMAD, you will be pleased to know that the La Leche League have a parent’s tent set up in a quiet corner behind the OMV Taste The World stage.

Here you will find some comfy sofas, bean bags, toys, books and friendly, helpful trained midwives to talk to. A quiet spot to take your little ones for a feed, a change or just a bit of playtime.

Ira makes friends with some of the other young WOMADers, enjoys a book or two and gives mummy and daddy a chance to sit and have a bit of a breather. This truly is a wonderful facility to have set up and adds to the family friendly vibe of the weekend. We’ll be back!

As the sounds of Flor De Toloache wash over us, Ira props himself up against a fence devours a few more crackers. Mummy takes some candid photographs of our family and the audience. The mid afternoon heat makes things a bit sticky but everywhere people are keeping themselves well hydrated.

We dance our way through the early evening, enjoying the vibes and celebrating the beautiful cultures that have been brought to us.

WOMAD really is the cultural highlight of the year, and as the sun begins to cool and the shadows grow longer, Ira heads home with Mummy in the hopes of a better nights sleep while Daddy stays behind to catch L.A.B. and The Blind Boys Of Alabama.

Night time at WOMAD is always a colourful affair, the trees light up, people who have been waiting all day to turn on their Christmas light laden costumes burst in to blinking art installations and the photo opportunity WOMAD sign on the lake reflects perfectly for that Instagram worthy shot. 

L.A.B. get the crowd pumping with their electric energy, reggae heavy beats filling the air and drawing probably the biggest crowd of the day.

The Blind Boys Of Alabama show that age is no barrier to being a crowd pleaser as they play with such heart and vigour that it is easy to forget that the four stunning vocalists are all well past 70. Skill and raw talent never fade away and their powerful, highly entertaining performance is a highlight of the entire weekend.

Sunday promises to be another day of outrageous colour and entertainment, I can’t wait to be a WO-Dad for day number three!

For more than 10 years, Martin Quicke has loved everything about WOMAD – the music, the food, the beer and especially his glitter beards. This year he’s experiencing a new side of his favourite festival, as he’s bringing his 13-month-old son along.
Welcome to his 2020 festival experience: New Dad @ WOMAD.

Words by Martin Quicke with photos by Hannah Dodd