After a 5-year gap, thanks to that global pandemic, plus getting married and having a baby, I’m returning to Charlton Park for a weekend of worldly music, diverse dancing and delicious dishes. This time round, with an 18-month-old in tow, there certainly won’t be the drinking of previous years, but with so much to explore at WOMAD, I can’t wait to arrive!

Ever since my first visit to the World of Music and Dance, almost 10 years ago, I’ve looked forward to taking my own family along. For the last weekend in July, the grand estate of Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, transforms into an oasis for lovers of good music and culture. WOMAD’s history as a music and arts festival stretches back over 40 years, with Peter Gabriel one its founders. The event celebrates diversity in music, drawing artists from all over the world. Despite it’s long run, up here in the north when I mention it, its rare to find someone who has heard of WOMAD, but after my first visit it quickly became my favourite weekend festival. Where others will look at a festival line-up for all the acts they know and want to see, WOMAD’s line-up gives you a chance to discover acts you may never have otherwise seen or heard of, but you also get to catch some more familiar big names too!

This year’s headliners include: Italian Reggae artist, ‘Alborosie’, The hip-hop trio hailing from Edinburgh ‘Young Fathers’ ‘Amadou & Mariam’ – a bluesy duo and husband and wife from Mali and Senegalese singer and guitarist ‘Baaba Maal’ With world music at it’s core, as you travel between stages you can expect to hear traditional folk from around the globe, played on instruments you’ve never seen before, next you may stumble across some gypsy-jazz maybe a bit of Afrobeat or even some electronic-psych.


Along with the music there is much more to explore, in the World of Wellbeing you can rejuvenate yourself with a spot of yoga or some unique treatments, such as a gong shower!

Also in the main arena is the smorgasbord of cuisine that WOMAD has to offer, bouncing between stages and food vans, and the odd bar, what more could you want? Well, there’s plenty more and in another uniquely WOMAD way, you can even see musical acts cooking up dishes from their home countries with lots of cookery classes for adults and for children!

On that note, something that made me look forward to the day I return with my own family, is the World of Children. With countless activities running throughout the day and the most incredible atmosphere this very special area has so much for the younger generation to enjoy and explore.

Getting back to the music, I thought I’d share five acts who I’ll be looking to catch over the weekend:

As mentioned earlier ‘Alborosie’ though hailing from Sicily, is a fantastic reggae artist who now resides in Kingston, Jamaica, might treat myself to a rum cocktail during this one…

The name ‘London Afrobeat Collective’ kind of gives a lot away about this group, but there is more to their musical influences and styles. I think I’ll be dancing about with my wife and my daughter to these.

With bagpipes, fiddles, accordions and more to boot ‘Ars Nova Napoli’ will be bringing a unique folk feel to the fields of Charlton Park.

‘The Great Malarkey’ are set to get the crowd bouncing with their catchy gypsy- punk music, I’m all for it.

For a much more chilled and ambient set, I’ll be seeking out Saxophonist ‘Laura Misch’ Might just find me laid flat out soaking this one up.

I could write for hours about all the things I’m looking forward to at WOMAD, but I’ll explore more of this in my review following this year’s event. For more information on the festival, you can visit www.womad.co.uk or read my reviews of previous years on this very site.

I’d also recommend you search for the WOMAD 2024 playlist on Spotify, it’ll give you a great flavour of what to expect and even if you don’t join us there, you might just find your new favourite act in the playlist!

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Tom Longman

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