WOMADelaide (World of Music, Arts and Dance, 7-10 March 2014) in South Australia’s capital is the ultimate child-friendly music festival. Beautifully set in the Adelaide Botanic Park on the northern edge of the city, your children will dance bare foot in the grass to the sounds of African drums, South American panpipes and French hip hop. It makes for the perfect higlight to any family holiday Down Under and is a great reason to travel to Adelaide with your kids.
WOMADelaide is about embracing people from all over the world through music, arts and dance – so acts likes of Arrested Development and Billy Bragg tend to draw a friendly, bohemian audience.In other words,the festival is meant to be attractive to all types of people and it’s charm lies in being friendly for all ages, safe and spotlessly clean. If there is one music festival for kids, this is it. Travelling musicians and puppetry are a unique spectacle as they walk through the festival with a usually a train of children following.
The vibe at WOMADelaide is very chilled and relaxed. For instance, to give an indication of the mindset of the organisers, the festival is green so only recyclable containers are used and no glass is allowed.
Each year there are impressive child-specific activities beyond just a token playground. These range from Carclew Youth Arts workshops that kids can contribute to and workshops where they can learn to build things or play music to performances and the awesome Evelyn Roth inflatable nylon zoo in the KidZone. There are also workshops for under 12s run by Boxwars and the brilliant Ants roving performance that sees human-sized ants interacting with the children all over the festival grounds. (Check out the video below, it's a pretty clever concept.)
And to prove how family-friendly the whole festival really is, the organisers cleverly provide wristbands for kids at the entry gates that you can mark with their names and a contact phone number in case they get lost. [To read about another family-friendly music festival for kids, see the suitcases&strollers story Austin City Limits.]
Bring a blanket for the end of the day, so you can leave the kids sleeping on the grass in the fresh air while you dance amongst the moonlit trees.
Giant morton bay fig trees provide shade from the Adelaide heat and you’re welcome to bring your own chairs and picnic rugs. While there’s plenty of festival food, many families bring their own. An Adelaide summer can be very hot, so be sure to keep everyone sun protected and well hydrated. St John Ambulance volunteers and the police are on site and you can purchase sunblock and hats from the chemist tent.
There are plentiful toilet blocks and baby change facilities. You can bring strollers into the festival.
The only downside is that there are very few wet weather contingencies so if it rains, expect to get wet.
WOMADelaide is scheduled once a year to run concurrently with the Adelaide Festival, the Fringe Festival and the Clipsal 500. This means the city gets busy with festival visitors, so book your hotels early.
Adelaide city is easy to navigate and move about, so even if you don’t manage to get a hotel within walking distance of the festival (you can easily walk into town from WOMADelaide), getting public transport should not be a problem. There is even a “cloak room” where you can put your bikes if you decide to cycle in.
To read more about other family-friendly music festivals see the suitcases&strollers story Fuji Rock Festival
Images: Grant Hancock; Tony Lewis; Charles Seja