Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) has pulled out of hosting WOMAD NZ, citing financial risk as the reason.
But that isn't the end for the internationally established festival of music, dance and arts, says Chris Smith, director of WOMAD LTD.
"Since TAFT advised us of their decision several months ago, at WOMAD we have been working hard to find a new production partner to keep the festival alive in 2021 and beyond. Those discussions are ongoing but very positive and we hope to be able to announce the continuation of WOMAD New Zealand into 2021 in the coming days."
Chris says Taranaki is still likely to be the region of choice for the festival in 2021.
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"By promoting WOMAD in New Plymouth for another year, we will be able to offer employment opportunities to many of our longstanding crew and supporters in the toughest of years for our industry, and to continue to support local business with a festival that injects millions of dollars into the economy in a region we now call home."
In an emailed statement from Emere Wano, event director, and Suzanne Porter, CEO of Taranaki Arts Festival Trust, the decision made by TAFT to not present WOMAD NZ 2021 was described as being "heart wrenching".
"WOMAD NZ for the last 20 years has been about connecting Aotearoa to the world and the world to Aotearoa. With the global uncertainty surrounding Covid-19, TAFT has been carefully considering all the implications this has on presenting the festival. TAFT explored all options possible, including seeking an underwrite from the government and funding organisation to support the festival going ahead in 2021.
"Festivalgoers, artists, staff, and the wider community has been at the forefront of the festival teams planning over the last few months, after much consideration, TAFT has decided they will not present WOMAD NZ in 2021."
Chris says with international travel still severely restricted, WOMAD NZ 2021 will be different to previous years, but will still offer festival goers a diverse and rich programme.
"Not surprisingly the format for 2021 will be somewhat different but will present the usual diverse programme of artists with all or most of them based in New Zealand. This is possible because of New Zealand's richly diverse population and cultural heritage."