The global festival turning green

10 March 2023

WOMADelaide has a long and proud history of driving and embracing new sustainability practices which have, in turn, become common practice at major events across Australia.

Baker Boy performing at WOMADelaide 2022. Image credit: Jack Fenby.

What has become an annual pilgrimage for global artists and audiences, sees South Australia become home to more than 30 countries over a four-day program every March.

With the iconic open-air world music festival set in Adelaide’s stunning Botanic Park/Tainmuntilla just around the corner, we thought we’d take a closer look at all the ways WOMAD is living up to its promise of being a global and green leader.

Toward a Zero Waste Landfill Event

With an aim to be a completely zero-waste-to-landfill event, WOMADelaide currently diverts 98% of all its waste away from landfill.

In 2001 WOMADelaide was the first major event in Australia to adopt a waste management strategy which meant only recyclable and biodegradable wastes were produced by festival goers.

On top of this, all organic waste generated on site is mulched, treated for composting and delivered back to and used by the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

In recent years WOMADelaide has been able to return up to 16 tonnes of composted green waste as organic mulch for use by the Adelaide Botanic Gardens.

Adopting a circular economy for the environment

Since 2014 WOMADelaide has been using fully compostable cups at all bars and in 2018 it moved to providing re-usable cups and water bottles at all bars to encourage circular economy practices at the festival.

The efforts to reduce waste were increased in 2020 when WOMADelaide also eliminated the sale of single-use plastics in the form of PET plastic drink bottles from any participating stallholders or vendors.

WOMADelaide forests

One of the many things that makes WOMADelaide so unique is its location. Nestled in Adelaide’s 34-hectare Botanic Gardens, the festival comes to life with the sounds of global artisans under the protection of several hundred trees — some which are over a century old.

In honour of its garden home, WOMADelaide has partnered with Greening Australia to create two native, biodiverse forests in regional South Australia — one near the Coorong and Lower Lakes and one on Kangaroo Island.

Since 2007, $2 from every WOMADelaide ticket sold has been invested into these WOMADelaide Forests, resulting in more than 75,000 native trees and shrubs being planted.

These efforts have offset over 21,650 tonnes of carbon emissions.

WOMADelaide’s partnership with Greening Australia has offset over 21,650 tonnes of carbon emissions. Image credit: WOMADelaide.

Planet Talks powered by the planet

In 2022, the Frome Park Pavilion, which hosted The Planet Talks (a yearly panel discussing the most pressing topics affecting us all) was powered completely using 100% biodiesel (b100). This means fuel made entirely from organic matter, such as food waste, with zero mineral diesel.

This project was the first time in South Australia that a large-scale outdoor event has used 100% biofuel.

So, while enjoying your WOMADelaide is experience this year, here are some ways you can be part of the ripple effect of change:

  1. Wherever possible, ride a bike to the festival – the festival offers staffed bike parks at each of the event entrances with the ability to house more than 700 bikes
  2. Be gentle and look after the environment in which the festival is held
  3. While you’re visiting, check out the New State of Mind hub where you can relax, recharge and experience why South Australia is the place to live, work and play with a deeper purpose.

Discover more about living and working in South Australia or head to WOMADelaide for more information on this year’s event.