Music festival WOMAD has been cancelled for the first time in its 16-year history after its production partner pulled out last month for financial reasons.
Last month long term organiser the Taranaki Arts Festival pulled out of the festival, saying it risked losing millions of dollars if next year's event was cancelled due to a Covid-19 lockdown, RNZ reported.
The 2021 WOMAD New Zealand Festival, held annually in New Plymouth, was due to kick off on March 12, 2021.
Today WOMAD announced on its Facebook page the festival has been cancelled.
"WOMAD is disappointed to announce that it has made the difficult decision to cancel the 2021 WOMAD New Zealand Festival scheduled for March 2021 in New Plymouth," the post read.
Event organisers were "overwhelmed with messages of support from WOAD fans and the community of New Plymouth" after the Taranaki Arts Festival Trust (TAFT) announced on November 29 that it was "unable to continue its’ support of the festival for financial reasons," WOMAD said.
The three-day festival is now looking to "develop a new partnership" after receiving "numerous inquiries from NZ companies wanting to produce the festival" in New Plymouth or elsewhere in the country.
"We have been working hard to develop a new partnership, and even though we are very close to getting the right arrangements in place with a great partner, producing a festival like WOMAD is a complicated task.
"After consulting our many friends in New Zealand and aware that the Christmas break is upon us, we feel that we have run out of time to get the WOMAD we all know and love in place by 12th March."
WOMAD is expected to return in 2022.
"We believe that the right place for the WOMAD experience is still its home of the last 20 years “The Brooklands Bowl”, New Plymouth. We are doing everything we can to secure our long-term future there.
"With a degree of envy we wish everyone in New Zealand a sunny and Covid-free Christmas."