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Future secured for Womad NZ with $1.9 million insurance confirmed for 2022

Future secured for Womad NZ with $1.9 million insurance confirmed for 2022
May 31, 2021

The WOMAD New Zealand festival has confirmed its 2022 dates after securing a NZ$1.9 million underwrite from the New Plymouth District Council, providing an insurance safety net for the three-day festival if COVID-19 forces it to be cancelled again.

The Council said the cover would be available for five years through to WOMAD NZ 2026, recognising the festival’s NZ$6 million economic contribution to the local economy.

The funding would only be able to be issued in the event of a pandemic-related cancellation - such as changes to government alert levels.

Organisers of the event, the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT), have subsequently confirmed new dates for the next edition of the world music, arts and dance festival from 18th to 20th March 2022 at New Plymouth’s Brooklands Park.

Welcoming the backing, WOMAD International Director Chris Smith advised “2021 was such a difficult year around the world, but this partnership agreement has been central to the decision to bring the festival back in 2022.”

Smith also said the organisation was planning to deliver an international line-up, as well as “the richly diverse talent already here in New Zealand … hopefully supported by a number of artists from overseas if circumstances allow”.

New Plymouth District Council has also announced that it has come to a five-year host city agreement with the festival's parent company in the UK.

This year's event was cancelled after TAFT, which had bought the festival to New Plymouth for 20 years, pulled out as production partner and Womad International could not find an alternative host.

At the time, TAFT said it pulled out because it risked losing $3.5 million, and it was unable to get the New Zealand Government to underwrite the festival in the case of a late COVID-19-related cancellation.

Image courtesy of WOMAD NZ/Andy Jackson.

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