Older music-lovers looked after at WOMAD

We discover why the WOMAD festival is increasingly popular for the over 65s.

WOMAD Michelle Hoffmans over 65's area 2010.

Janine Sirett still counts the first concert she ever went to as the best of all time.

But then, it was the Beatles. As a fresh-faced 15-year-old, Janine set off from her home-town of Manaia in Taranaki, to see the Fab Four rock the Wellington Town Hall. Fast forward a few years, and a lot more concerts, and 67-year-old Janine now gets her live music fix at WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance).

“I’ve been going for over ten years and I just love it. It’s a great vibe. Of course there’s all the artists but the crowd-watching is pretty good too!

Every year, New Plymouth plays host to WOMAD. It’s a 3-day musical extravaganza set in the TSB Bowl of Brooklands, drawing in crowds of close to 17,000.

Janine Sirett with grandson Christian, enjoying WOMAD

Along with music from around the globe, some of the smaller acts are often the real crowd-pleasers.

“I love the street artists,” says Janine. “My favourite WOMAD act was two Italian guys who were fully painted as Indian gods; they’d point to someone in the audience and bring them up on stage and make them up in this amazing make-up.”

Like the many other over 65s now heading to WOMAD, Janine is pleased with the extra lengths the organisers are going to to ensure that seniors are looked after.

“The dedicated seating is a great idea. It gives you a great view and it’s comfortable.”

She does say that the infamous hill on the side of the Bowl can be a challenge.

“My advice is to get to the top, whether that’s walking or organising a buggy ride, and stay up there. You can see the main stage and all the other stages and food are up there too.”

Numbers of seniors visiting WOMAD have grown steadily over the years with over 65s now making up around 10% of festival goers.

How WOMAD caters for Seniors

Fun times Photo: Dominika Zielinska, www.domizphotography.com

  • An over 65s viewing platform at the three main stages; those who don’t want to struggle for a space to sit on the grass still get a great view and complimentary bottles of water
  • Mobility scooters are available to borrow for 2-hour blocks
  • Hearing impaired support communicators
  • Dedicated access and parking for disabled festival-goers (contact the WOMAD team to organise a disabled parking pass)
  • Golf carts running half-hourly from the disabled car parks and around the Bowl
  • Disabled toilets are available

Tickets go on sale very soon. You can like the WOMAD Facebook page to keep up with artist announcements and ticket sales or check out the WOMAD website for more information.

To apply for a disabled parking pass, phone Chris Herlihy on (06) 759 8412 or email:

Win tickets to WOMAD 2016

The organisers of WOMAD have provided us with two, three-day tickets to next year’s event for SuperGold Card music fans.

The tickets have a value of $259 each.

To enter a draw to win one of these tickets, please email seniors@msd.govt.nz telling us in no more than 200 words what you think is “The best thing about getting older”.

Please use the subject heading “WOMAD Tickets” and include the following information:

∙ your name

∙ address

∙ daytime phone number.

The draw closes on 16 November 2015 at 11.59pm

The two winners will be selected by the Minister for Senior Citizens from all entries received before the closing date.

Terms and Conditions

1. By participating in the draw, entrants agree to be bound by these terms and conditions.

2. Eligibility: The draw is open to SuperGold Cardholders only.

3. Entry is free. One entry per person.

4. Dates: The draw closes on 16 November 2015 at 11.59pm

5. Prize: The two winners will be selected by the Minister for Senior Citizens from all valid entries.

6. Winner notification: The winner will be contacted using the details provided.

7. The judge’s determination of the winner will be final.

8. Not redeemable: The prize is not transferable, exchangeable nor redeemable for cash.

9. By entering the draw, winners agree to their names being published and to be photographed and/or interviewed and waive any claims to royalty, right or remuneration for such use.

10. Entries become the property of the Ministry of Social Development, which will keep the personal information it holds about entrants confidential and will not disclose it to third parties.

11. Pursuant to the Privacy Act 1993, entrants have the right to access and request the correction of any personal information.

The economic power of older New Zealanders

WOMAD is a good example of the growing power older people have as consumers, particularly in arts and entertainment. You will probably notice the number of concerts from classic bands from the 60s, 70s and 80s who are coming to New Zealand. It's likely more events like this will cater specifically for seniors.

By 2031, it's projected that the annual spend of people 65+ will be $39 billion - over double the spending of today.

Catering for that market will become more and more essential for any smart business.