Adelaide’s WOMADelaide Festival is facing criticism over a performance at this year’s event which involves a large amount of duck feathers being dumped onto a crowd.
The performance by French aerial circus company Gratte Ciel dubbed ‘Place des Anges’ (‘Place of Angels’), combined with dust and pollen from Adelaide’s Botanic Park, has caused trouble for asthma sufferers, and has raised concerns with others over its environmental impact.
The show, which is being performed on each night of this year’s WOMADelaide, uses a new set of duck feathers for each performance. But despite the feathers being certified free from allergens and contagious diseases after being washed, sterilised and dusted, some festival-goers say they were worse for wear after the show.
Not everyone disliked the performance…
— Senator Penny Wong (@SenatorWong) March 11, 2018
…but many attendees have since criticised the festival on social media:
Dear @WOMADelaide – I love this festival however, I’m totally not loving that now, thanks to #gratteciel we are dancing on the feathers of dead chickens. Disrespectful, wasteful and not to mention, allergic. pic.twitter.com/VGy0QOkqQJ
— Jade Lillie (@_jadelillie) March 10, 2018
— Jeremy Glover (@passivepeter) March 11, 2018
Organisers say no animals were killed to create ‘Place des Anges’, and that the feathers used come from European-regulated farms which breed ducks for their meat (the feathers being a by-product).
Organisers say they are also employing extra staff for the “significant clean-up following each performance”, and will be composting all the feathers along with other compostable festival waste.
WOMADelaide Director Ian Scobie has told the ABC that a dry summer increased the amount of dust and allergens at this year’s festival, but said Botanic Park had been repeatedly watered to reduce the dust.
“We’ve always been conscious of the fact that asthma is one of those afflictions that can strike people, particularly if you are outside,” he said.
“It is just a really dry year, so we’re saying to our patrons… ‘If you’re someone who suffers from asthma take your medications and your precautions.'”
Music Feeds has contacted WOMADelaide for comment regarding criticism of ‘Place des Anges’. Watch video of the performance, below.
WOMADelaide 2018 concludes today.