WOMAD 2011

World of Music, Arts and Dance

WOMAD isn't really a place, and a trip to Malmesbury in Wiltshire from Milton Keynes in Buckinghamshire hardly constitutes travel, but we did take Man and we did have a good time.

Small but perfectly formed

For our first time at a music festival we chose the very civilised and relatively small WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival. After watching the BBC news from Glastonbury we were ready for mud, but here there was none.

The motorhome camping fields were beautifully organised with lots of space. Our field was near enough for walking to the arena each day but shielded from the sound by trees.

There was water, lots of clean Portaloos, and a dump point. No electricity and very few generators. Open fires were not allowed.


Performers included El Tanbura from Egypt.

The Boxetts from the UK (good, but their over reliance on excessive bass amplification made it impossible the hear the finer points of their performance).

AfroCubism - Mali/Cuba

Vieux Farka Toure - Mali

As well as several large stages there was also a more intimate, if equally loud BBC Radio 3 stage where Fatoumata Diawara also from Mali performed.

For me Rodrigo y Gabriela from Mexico were one of the highlights.

The Dhols of Jaipur - India

Those with more musical discrimination than me rated Majorstuen from Norway very highly.

Ayarkhaan from the Sakha Republic (a north eastern republic within Russia, a little smaller than India with a population under a million) also on the BBC Radio 3 stage were definitely interesting, and you certainly couldn't hum the tune.

More traditional, and very funky were Blitz the Ambassador from Ghana/USA.

The Creole Choir of Cuba.

The main stage was closed on Sunday night by the very high energy gypsy-punk combo Gogol Bordello from the USA.

The Audience

Sometimes off-stage was more interesting than on-stage.