WOMAD NZ 2022 – First Artists Announced

Photo by Frederico Pagola

WOMAD returns delivering world-class performers from Aotearoa, for the award-winning three-day festival.

For its 17th presentation in New Zealand, WOMAD NZ is back in full force with all of its eight stages that will feature close to 100 hours of music, with the diverse and rich range of talent that WOMAD go-ers have come to expect. Over three days of March 18-20, Ngāmotu’s stunning Brooklands Park and the TSB Bowl of Brooklands will once again be transformed into a village of colour, energy and inclusion.

A unique opportunity has presented itself with the constraints caused by the global pandemic as WOMAD programmers have dug into the wealth of Aotearoa’s musical talent to present a unique array of artists that will deliver the sense of discovery the festival is so well known and loved for.

WOMAD - Fat Freddy's Drop
Fat Freddy’s Drop. Photo by Kenzie Pigman

This first announcement includes a collaboration of New Zealand and Indian musicians, Shades of Shakti combining traditional Indian music and jazz. Festival favourites, Fat Freddy’s Drop return for the first time in 12 years along with WOMAD first-timers; modern R&B extraordinaire, Deva Mahal and jazz-hip-hop mastermind Avantdale Bowling Club.

Praise for the festival:

“People chatted under shade, tucked into a dizzying array of food, danced in nooks and crannies, or took in spoken word performances on a stage surrounded by trees. Smiles seemed to be mandatory.”  – Chris Schulz, New Zealand Herald

“The place reverberated under the mighty watch of Mount Taranaki with the kind of passion that only comes from the sheer celebration of diversity.”   – Rosie Morrison, The Spinoff

“…most acts put on repeat performances over the weekend allowing you the chance to customise an itinerary that would rival an around the world music trip.” – Rosie Morrison, The Spinoff

“There aren’t too many places you can sit on the grass and watch international music while surrounded by trees, birds, and water.”  Stephanie Mitchell – stuff.co.nz

WOMAD International’s Head of Programming, Paula Henderson says, “For WOMAD, we are usually very spoilt, we have the whole world at our fingertips in terms of programming.  When we first thought about doing WOMAD with a mainly national event over a year ago initially, I thought no way… but, I was wrong.  It will sound a little strange, but, although challenging (as there were no gigs to go to), spending hours scouring the internet to find new artists that would suit the festival has been really exciting and I am confident that we have a programme that our audience will be overjoyed with.”

Fat Freddy’s Drop are excited for their return to the festival commenting, “Taranaki, we’re stoked to be coming back to perform our new and classic tunes under the watchful eye of the mighty maunga. It’s been 12 years since we performed there, and even though we’ve played WOMAD around the world nothing beats Taranaki. Chur Aotearoa”

World Of Words & STEAM Lab

WOMAD - Siouxsie Wiles
Dr Siouxsie Wiles, Photo by Photographers Inc

In addition to the musical line up, the increasingly popular offerings of the World Of Words stage and STEAM Lab return. Iconic kiwi artist, product designer and author, Dick Frizzell makes his performance debut at WOMAD. As does now household name, microbiologist and science communicator,  Dr Siouxsie Wiles who leads the line up for STEAM Lab. Taste The World, Kidzone, and Te Pae Pae will also return with programming to be announced. The full artist announcement is scheduled for October 20, 2021.

WOMAD NZ’s Associate Programmer, Josie Hunter Annand adds “As a festival attendee next March, you can definitely expect that, despite the current global restrictions we’re all facing right now, WOMAD will take you on a journey outside of these confines, with a much-needed chance to reconnect to the people, places, tastes and sounds of our world, right here in Aotearoa!”


Womad Avantdale Bowling Club
Avantdale Bowling Club. Photo by Christian Tjandrawinata
Avantdale Bowling Club

The genre-pushing jazz-hip hop project from Tom Scott has garnered global adoration (NPR, The Guardian) with the debut album topping the charts and award-winning (Taite Music Prize).

Joined by some of the country’s top musicians, Scott’s work has been recognised for its innovation and sheer brilliance.

Fat Freddy’s Drop

Internationally regarded as one of the world’s finest live draws, the band has navigated its way from the incubator of sunshine reggae through a colour-saturated field of soul psychedelia before layering & balancing analog techno, jazz, R&B, disco to create magic on stage.

Shades of Shakti

A collaborative group of New Zealand and Indian musicians that exist in the space between traditional Indian music and jazz using some past examples of ‘East meets West’ collaborations from the likes of Ravi Shankar and Yehudi Menuhin, and John McLaughlin’s group Shakti, as well as original compositions.

WOMAD Deva Mahal
Deva Mahal
Deva Mahal

Hawai’i-raised / Te Whanganui-a-Tara-based Deva Mahal’s modern soul sprawls into gospel & R&B with songwriting that also reflects her roots as the daughter of blues legend Taj Mahal, but is succinctly her own version of musical expression punctuated her breathtaking vocal talent. Elton John is a fan.


Dr Siouxie Wiles 

One of the country’s most recognised and respected scientists, trained as a microbiologist. Most recently, during the COVID-19 pandemic, Siouxsie became one of the primary faces, communicators and educators in NZ, helping ease the public’s anxiety through lockdown and beyond. New Zealand Order of Merit, Blake Award, Kiwibank New Zealander of the Year 2021.


Dick Frizzell MNZM

As part of the World of Words programme Dick will talk about his work “Me According to The History of Art” (Massey University Press 2020. As part of the STEAM programme, Dick will discuss his work “The Sun is a Star: A Voyage Through the Universe” (Massey University Press, to be released 14 October 2021.)

Photo by Charlotte Curd

WOMAD New Zealand remains a place to bring people together to break down barriers, educate, inform and inspire.

Early bird tickets are on sale now at womad.co.nz.

Fans can connect and keep up to date here:

Common questions in regard to Covid-19:

WOMAD NZ will always be following guidelines from the Ministry of Health for all safety measures recommended to keep all WOMAD-ers, artists and staff safe.

If  WOMAD needs to be cancelled or postponed due to the pandemic, please rest assured that WOMAD NZ will be in touch with all ticket holders to inform you of the changes, and what any rebooking or refund process will look like.

Charlotte Curd