WHAT began life 34 years ago as a vision to highlight multi-faceted music, arts and culture from across the globe has blossomed into the planet’s most prestigious world music festival….and it all takes place just a 30 or so minute drive from Swindon.

This year WOMAD has gone where no festival has gone before by launching itself into the realms of science fact and science fiction.

As well offering a vast array of exotic often spicy music and food from far flung corners of the planet – along with a host of child-friendly activities and a plethora new age-like distractions - WOMAD will now unveil a Physics Pavilion.

Festivalgoers roaming that spacious blanket of Wiltshire countryside which serves as the Earl of Suffolk’s back-garden at Charlton Park near Malmesbury can immerse themselves in various forms of science, including the science of music.

More than 30,000 fans attending the four-day summer soiree, which begins on Thursday can witness the “futuristic cosmic piano,” and hear how data from the scientific experiments has been transformed into “amazing interactive musical soundscapes.”

Lead writer and executive producer of Doctor Who, Steven Moffat, will also make an appearance that will include a Q&A session, to discuss how science fact blends with science fiction

Other cosmic subjects included in the pavilion will be Black Holes, Anti matter, Neutrinos, the Northern Lights and – naturally - Time Travel.

It is the result of a link-up between the festival and a string of science institutions including Switzerland-based CERN where an international team of boffins are striving to discover how life/Earth/the galaxy/the whole gamut began.

Festival director Chris Smith said the enterprising move slotted smoothly into the festival’s ethos. “WOMAD has always been about exploring and learning.

“Our first venture into the world of science - alongside an organisation as global and pioneering as CERN - will create a whole new dimension to the festival, and one which will no doubt intrigue, fascinate and excite the WOMAD audience”.

The Physics Pavilion is open from 12 noon until 6pm every day from Friday in the arboretum.

If science doesn’t grab you, the music certainly should as nearly 100 acts descend upon this idyllic corner of Wiltshire from all points each, west, north and south.

Legendary master of funk George Clinton, the driving force behind pioneering American dance bands Funkadelic and Parliament, and an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, is among the bigger names at this weekend’s extravaganza.

As is “purveyor of gloriously epic but never bombastic piano pop songs” John Grant, British rapper Roots Manuva, all-girl Afro supergroup Les Amazones d’afrique, honey voiced soul singer Charles Bradley and giant of black music, Senegalese singer/guitarist Baaba Maal, one of Africa’s most successful musicians.

Veteran Hindustani instrumentalist VM Bhatt, who won a Grammy after teaming up with Ry Cooder on 1993’s A Meeting By The River, will demonstrate a distinctive Indian blues sound.

And if you fancy a good old stomp New Orleans carnival style, look no further than Hot 8 Brass Band, a hard blowing Crescent City combo currently celebrating their 20th anniversary – and still going strong after losing three members in separate shootings.


THE World of Music Arts and Dance Festival was launched by a posse of globally minded musos and culture buffs fronted by former Genesis singer turned global star Peter Gabriel.

Its mission back in 1982 was to draw “wider public attention to traditional and contemporary arts of non-western cultures as practised in this country and throughout the world.”

Over the decades leading western acts such as Robert Plant, Sinead O’Connor, Jimmy Cliff, Richard Thompson, Booker T and Gabriel himself have performed as the festival’s remit widened.

The first WOMAD took place at the Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset 34 years ago, and since then has made various sites its home.

After a lengthy stint at Reading it moved to Charlton Park in 2007 where it has remained ever since.

It has also hosted festivals across the globe from Spain to New Zealand, Chile to Abu Dhabi.



Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK, SN16 9DG

28-31 JULY 2016

Adult Weekend £175

Disabled Adult Weekend £175

SN16 Resident Weekend £120

Teenage Weekend £85 (14-17 years) Please don’t forget to fill out Teenage Registration form

Children 13 and under FREE

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