It is only four weeks until the green fields of Wiltshire are transformed into a joyous celebration of music, culture and food from all over the world, and preparations are in full swing for the biggest and best global party the UK has to offer.
Stellar acts from across the globe will light up the stage over four days; from reggae legend Ziggy Marley to the ‘Golden voice of Africa’ Salif Keita to twice Mercury-nominated Anna Calvi to raving with techno duo Orbital, it’s truly an eclectic and wonderful mix of genres across the weekend. Pop queen Macy Gray celebrates the 20th anniversary of her hit I Try with a big performance on Friday night, whilst rock icon Robert Plant brings his new project to WOMAD, Saving Grace with Suzi Dian. Kicking off the weekend in style is Juan de Marcos’ Afro-Cuban All Stars which will no doubt get every person in the crowd dancing as if they’re in the streets of Havana with their incredible sound.
Complementing all the phenomenal music on offer is the mouth-watering cuisine on site; audiences can not only catch artists on the mainstage but also in the unique Taste The World stage, where performers cook up a storm and share dishes from their home country. The line-up this year includes the likes of BaBa Zula’s Turkish dumplings, DakhaBrakha’s Ukranian ‘Borscht’ soup, Anandi Bhattacharaya’s Bengali Curry and JoJo Abot’s ‘Red Red’ plantain and black-eyed beans, along with many more delicious offerings. Elsewhere, WOMAD is positively brimming with tastebud-tingling food stalls from every country imaginable, so WOMAD-ers can literally eat their way around the world.
As if music and food weren’t enough to keep festival goers occupied, there’s plenty to get stuck into across the weekend. The World of Words, the hub of creativity that celebrates words at their very finest, boasts an impressive line-up of discussions, Q&A’s, poetry slams and even a WOMAD book club. With appearances from the likes of living legend Calypso Rose, female supergroup A Change Is Gonna Come and Sudanese brother and sister duo Emmanuel Jal & Nyaruach as well as a whole host of speakers from across all genres from sustainability to Buddhism and even chocolate mindfulness…
Over at the World of Physics it’s a whole universe to explore as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing with cosmic workshops, talks from NASA astronauts, space-themed film screenings and, brand new for 2019 is the Cosmodrome, an incredible planetarium hosting talks during the day and at night, will become a stargazing hotspot as the team of astrophysicists are on hand with telescopes and advice galore to help catch the most beautiful sights in the cosmos.
For younger festival goers, there is a whole world dedicated just to them, jam-packed with creative workshops, music sessions, games, cookery classes and more for them to enjoy. The World of Children is themed around Space this year, and so kids can expect everything from building spaceships out of junk materials, to making jet packs, space rockets and aliens all for the famous Kids Parade on Sunday, a highlight of the festival.
Giving it a go isn’t just reserved for the kids though, as WOMAD boasts a packed programme of workshops for adults over the weekend led by top performers from the line-up. Jamaican legend Brushy One String will give a masterclass on his unconventional reggae rhythms whilst elsewhere the Iberi Choir of Georgia run a workshop on their incredible style of singing and the phenomenal Ta Dhom Project featuring Shri show audiences how its done with their fusion of hip-hop and the rhythmic language of kannakol from the classical Carnatic tradition. Elsewhere, there is everything from beatboxing with world champions The Beatbox Collective to a mass participation masterclass from Reggaeton icon Leandro Charanga, to get the heart pumping and toes tapping.
Meanwhile at the World of Wellbeing it’s all about relaxing in style; whether it’s a hot stone massage, a gong bath, a manicure or just simply a soak in one of the oak-fired hot tubs you’re after, you’ll find it here in the most chilled out spot at the festival.
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