The 38th WOMAD festival – the 13th at Malmesbury – saw 300 performances by more 100 performers. And it was almost all under sunny skies.
Children from local schools opened the show on Thursday, backed by the Bollywood Brass Band. They were followed by German techno-brass outfit Meute, who had the crowd jumping and carried on without missing a beat when the power went out on their stage.
Other highlights included performances by soul legend Macy Gray, reggae royalty Ziggy Marley and African music superstar Salif Keita.
Former world snooker champion Steve Davis, now a DJ, was one of the stars at Molly’s Bar and festival closers Orbital provided a stunning finale at the open air stage with a set accompanied by a laser show.
One festival-goer, Dave Philips from Swindon said: “I’ve been coming here since it moved to Charlton Park and I think this was one of the best. It isn’t just the music, it’s the workshops, the talks and the food.”
Global festival director Chris Smith said: “This has been a landmark year. We’ve always been forthright about the potential impact of the political climate on global culture, and this inspires and energises us in our effort to both use music and arts to celebrate our common humanity and creative diversity, and to speak out when these pillars are threatened.
“Offstage we demonstrated these values with our continued commitment to environmental sustainability and global cooperation, while on stage we programmed a line-up with genuine variety and countless opportunities for musical discovery from American R&B to Ukrainian folk-punk, to Caribbean calypso, to indigenous Australian roots, to classic British EDM. What’s unique about WOMAD is that all of these extraordinary artists have, as always, and more closely than at any other festival, rubbed shoulders with one of the biggest, most diverse audiences we’ve ever had, proof if it were needed that music can – literally- bring the world together.”