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Aerial angels and first bands announced for 2023 WOMADelaide


Bon Iver, Florence + The Machine and the spectacular but controversial feather-fuelled aerial show Place des Anges will be among the headliners at next year’s WOMADelaide festival in Botanic Park.

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The early program reveal coincides with the national tour announcement for Grammy Award-winning US indie folk band Bon Iver, who will make their WOMADelaide debut on the festival’s opening night (March 10) with a set spanning their 15-year career.

Florence + The Machine are also touring Australia on the back of their fifth studio album, Dance Fever, released earlier this year. They will headline the Saturday night line-up in their first Adelaide performance since 2019 when they played to more than 14,000 fans at a sold-out stand-alone show in Botanic Park.

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine.

The third show in today’s announcement, Place des Anges (place of angels), proved a showstopper at the 2018 WOMADelaide, drawing thousands of eyes skyward with an aerial performance by artists from French company Gratte Ciel that featured feathered angels dancing above the treetops. The “celebratory ethereal ballet” culminated with feathers falling from the heavens and wowed thousands of festival-goers, but it also sparked anger among some people concerned about issues such as pollution and animal welfare (these were addressed in an explanation about the show on the festival website).

In 2023, Place des Anges will be performed nightly, with WOMADelaide saying it will transform Botanic Park “into a magical wonderland of music, acrobatics and death-defying theatrics”.

Place des Anges is truly one of the greatest aerial spectacles in the world,” festival director Ian Scobie said in a statement.

“To be the only place where the company has performed outside of an urban environment, amongst natural surrounds in the middle of a music festival, makes their return five years on extra special.

“Florence + The Machine, Bon Iver and Gratte Ciel are just three of the outstanding artists who will be part of WOMADelaide 2023 and we look forward to revealing more in October and November when our program of around 70 groups is complete.”

Bon Iver will perform on the opening night of WOMADelaide. Photo: Graham Tolbert

Three and four-day earlybird tickets go on sale for WOMADelaide subscribers from tomorrow, with general public ticket sales open from Friday.

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