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18 mars 2008

Womad spin-off on Fleurieu

WOMAD Earth Station is being planned as a camping event to be held on the Fleurieu Peninsula each October, starting from 2010.

Womadelaide's new environmental spinoff event will take up to 10 years to fully develop. "We have a preferred site and we've an agreed price with the owner of that site," aid Arts Projects Australia director Ian Scobie. "Subject to local council approvals we will proceed with that. It will probably be finalised by July."A second, backup site has also been earmarked in Eden Valley.

APA is working on the Earth Station concept with developer Woods Bagot as well as Womadelaide's parent organisation WOMAD – World of Music, Arts and Dance – which was cofounded by singer Peter Gabriel in England in 1982.

Mr Scobie said it would take up to a decade to develop the Earth Station site to be environmentally sustainable. "We've got a long way to go. The project has really got a 10-year window of development," Mr Scobie said.

"The first festival will probably be presented in similar formats to Womadelaide, with temporary facilities and generators. The infrastructure development for recycling the effluent and all of those things are going to take years to develop."

Environmental strategies will include planting reed beds and trees. A preliminary planting festival is likely to be held to prepare the site, which would be able to accommodate several thousand campers. The Premier, Mr Rann, said the State Government would work with WOMAD Earth Station to develop renewable wind and/or solar power for the site.

"Part of the experience is living in this global village," Mr Rann said. "This would be the greenest festival in Australia." Mr Rann also said the existing Womadelaide festival had been signed up until 2014, with an option to extend until 2019.

For the first time in the event's 16-year history, all three-day passes sold out in advance this year. Womadelaide organisers are also looking at expanding future events from three to four days. Victoria, like South Australia, has a public holiday on the Monday. About half of Womadelaide's audience this year came from interstate and overseas, according to exit polls conducted over the weekend.


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