'Devastated' - WOMAD, Homegrown festivals canned

Source: 1News

The entertainment industry took another hit Wednesday, as two of New Zealand’s major events were cancelled.

Event organisers said they are ‘deeply saddened’ and ‘devastated’ after the cancellation of Wellington’s annual Homegrown festival and Taranaki’s WOMAD festival.

It is the second time both events have not gone ahead in the past three years, with Homegrown cancelling its 2020 event and WOMAD cancelling its 2021 event.

This year, the threat of Omicron and Covid restrictions left both festivals with no other choice.

It comes as part of many cancellations this year, with events such as Splore Festival, the International Buskers Festival and Auckland's Pride Festival part of the ever-growing list.

The WOMAD festival attracts thousands of visitors each year, and Venture Taranaki chief executive Justine Gilliland said it is another major blow to the region.

“A highlight for many locals and visitors has had to follow suit along with several other events this summer and cancel.”

The sold-out Homegrown festival would have seen more than 22,500 plus people attend on March 19, and managing director Andrew Tuck said they hoped to give themselves as much of a chance to make the festival happen as possible.

“We’re devastated, we thought at the start of summer we were going to sneak through, but it feels right to call it now for everyone’s safety.”

However, both events said they will try and use the Events Transition Support Scheme to support artists and suppliers who have been affected.

Tuck said, “It’s a really tough time for everyone in the events industry and our hearts go out to everyone.”

Both Homegrown and WOMAD organisers are offering to refund or roll over tickets to their 2023 events.