Living up to its self-made caption of being ‘the world’s festival’, the four acts headlining WOMAD this year cover three different continents between them and their music. Ziggy Marley, the eldest son of Bob and Rita Marley, is playing the timeless, accessible reggae of his Jamaican roots, applying to the genre the political and social consciousness he inherited from his parents.
Many will be excited to learn that singer-songwriter Anna Calvi is also headlining. Calvi, whose musical achievements have twice been nominated for the prestigious Mercury prize, released her most recent album Hunter in August last year. It received a five-star review from the Guardian, with critic Michael Hann describing it as: ‘glorious and triumphant’, and ‘a record that succeeds on any terms you try to force upon it.’
Mali afro-pop singer-songwriter Salif Keita – formerly the vocalist of Les Ambassadeurs – is another headlining act. Salif’s album Soro was praised for helping to break African music in the UK in the late ‘80s. Electro duo Orbital – aka the Hartnoll brothers Phil and Paul – are also headlining. Having raved through much of the 80s, they say festivals are still their natural habitat.
As is now custom with weekend-long UK festivals, campers have the choice between bringing a tent and finding a spot on a pitch-your-own site, or opting for a more comfortable but expensive arrangement – from glamping to renting a Podpad or even turning the festival experience into a spa weekend.
Under 13s can go to WOMAD for free, a policy which the organisers insist on to preserve the festival's family-friendly atmosphere. Prams carrying infants happily wade through the mud alongside the elderly in mobility scooters, all of which contributes to a refreshing and visibly unique spread of attendees. It’s a place where young and old crowds blend imperceptibly among its attractions and, despite the English rain, you really get a feel for the escapism which most British festivals lack. Book to revel in a slice of laid-back midsummer magic.
Tickets are now available here.
|What||WOMAD Festival 2019, Charlton Park|
|Nearest tube||Paddington (underground)|
25 Jul 19 – 28 Jul 19, 12:00 AM
|Price||£185-£225 (standard adult ticket for 3 or 4 days)|
|Website||Click here for more information and to book|