WOMADelaide 2016

  Last updated March 6, 2017 at 3:22 pm

Topics:  

Welcome to Australia’s Science Channel’s coverage of the World of Music Art and Dance (WOMAD), where we look for the science behind the festival. 


There’s something fresh and crisp about walking through a big festival like WOMADelaide in the cool of the morning just before the crowds are let in and the day’s festivities begin. There’s a latent excitement, an expectation of fun and frantic activity in this lull before the dancing storm.



As I walk through the Botanic Park the screeches of flying foxes forces my gaze up into their roost trees as they squabble and settle down to a day’s sleep unaware of the cacophony that’s about to engulf them.


Then I pass the life-sized inflatable Stonehenge jumping castle, mostly deflated and resting flaccidly in the morning sun, the dozens of air pumps whirring into life to fill this behemoth ready for another continuous hoard of families out for some sacrilegious, paganistic fun. I was there last night, bouncing away with my son and partner, the three of us jumping around like lunatics to the sounds of the Violent Femmes on a nearby stage. Now, in the energetic hangover of another day, I pause to remember the memories created by such extraordinary events.


WOMADelaide bills itself as a music and dance festival, and there’s certainly no end of either over the long weekend in early March. But you could well ask “Where is the science” to attract the likes of RiAus and Australia’s Science Channel? It’s a fair question and the truth is that science is riddled through the whole festival. Our job is to reveal and record that science.


As Ian Scobie, WOMADelaide Director says “The essential ethos is built around the fact that we’ve got one planet, we get one life and all humanity is equal within that.” So there’s a lot of environmental science, not only on display, but also entwined in the development and planning of the whole festival. Great efforts are made toward creating the smallest possible environmental footprint for an event with tens of thousands of visitors.



There’s a dedicated stage, Planet Talks presented by the University of South Australia where all kinds of interesting discussions take place. This year I lead a discussion on ‘Why Should We Trust Scientists?’ and Robyn Williams from Radio National’s Science Show talked through ‘Off the grid game changers’ about how to be innovative in your use and acquisition of energy. David Suzuki gave a talk there and others provided a rich diversity of sciency bits and pieces to feed the mind between bands and dancing.


There are displays for a number of aspects of eco-living as well as innovative and creative products. And then of course, there is the most incredible diversity of music from all over the world and workshops for a huge variety of different musical and dance traditions.


But for me, the highlight was just soaking up the ambience. It’s exhilarating to be among so many people who have come from so many different backgrounds and they have all come together in this place just to have fun. Over the days the festival morphs into an organism, the festival goers become the corpuscles that pump through its vessels, delivering its life. There’s a tangible unity, a sense of common good in an environment where you can have a lot of fun and learn a little bit more about how to take care of our only home in the cosmos.


WANT MORE WOMAD? WATCH OUR VIDEOS:



Did you like this blog? Follow us on FacebookTwitter and Instagram to get all the latest science.




About the Author

Paul Willis
Paul is a respected leader in the science community with an impressive career in science. He has a background in vertebrate palaeontology, studying the fossils of crocodiles and other reptiles. He also has a long history as a science communicator, with a career spanning as Director of The Royal Institution of Australia, presenter and host for Australia’s Science Channel, working for the ABC on TV programs such as Catalyst and Quantum as well as radio and online. He’s written books and articles on dinosaurs, fossils and rocks and is finding new ways to engage the people of Australia with the science that underpins their world. Follow him on Twitter @fossilcrox.

Published By

The Royal Institution of Australia is an independent charity, and the sister organisation of the prestigious Royal Institution of Great Britain, tasked with promoting public awareness and understanding of science.


The Royal Institution of Australia is passionate about building and connecting communities engaged with science, and as such works closely with scientific organisations, institutions, universities from Australia, and leaders to inspire the next generation of innovators and to create a lasting legacy for Australia.


Featured Videos

Placeholder
Click here for teacher's resources
Placeholder
Wonders of Witchelina
Placeholder
Special Investigation - Australia's Antarctica
Placeholder
Inventors in the Trenches
Placeholder
Science Meets Parliament 2017 - Australian of the Year
Placeholder
Science Meets Parliament 2017 - Chief Scientist
Placeholder
Special Investigation: Science Denial
Placeholder
Science Update: Climate
Placeholder
On the Road with Paul: Episode 5 Southern Hairy-Nosed Wombats
Placeholder
On the Road with Paul: Episode 4 Ediacara
Placeholder
On the Road with Paul: Episode 3 Lightning Ridge
Placeholder
On the Road with Paul: Episode 2 Naracoorte Caves
Placeholder
On the Road with Paul: Episode 1 Arkaroola
Placeholder
Postcard from Paul: Episode 4 Stonehenge
Placeholder
Postcard from Paul: Episode 1 The British Museum
Placeholder
Postcard from Paul: Episode 3 London's Roman Wall
Placeholder
Postcard from Paul: Episode 2 The Royal Institution of Great Britain