Welcome to WOMAD's May 2008 newsletter
The quintessential music festival returns the picturesque surrounds of Charlton Park, Wiltshire, from Friday 25 July to Sunday 27 July. Over seventy world-class artists from forty different countries will perform across seven stages in the English countryside. Easily accessible by road: just seven miles from Junction 17 (Chippenham) of the M4, one hundred miles due west of London, less than thirty miles from Bath, Bristol and Swindon.
In readiness for what many regard as an annual pilgrimage, the crew at WOMAD have been busy redesigning the site at Charlton Park. Busy doubling the amount of trackway so that to-ing and fro-ing is direct and hassle-free. Relocating the open air stage and main arena to a large robust field with a gently sloping incline. Installing permanent stone track ways around the main arena to ensure smooth and swift servicing of all areas without vehicles ever crossing this central space. Moving the vintage fairground, a beloved and popular WOMAD institution - next to a hard and handy stone track.
The camping area now comes with an extra 35 acres - and there's more space for parking. There is an enticing array of accommodation options, from deluxe boutique camping in Royal Maharaja Shikar tents and VIP camping to oh-so-comfy tipis, yurts and plywood Podpad hobbit-houses. Camping phobic? The Tangerine Fields Crew will assemble a 2, 4 or 6 person tent ready for your arrival (complete with airbed and brand new sleeping bag) and pack it up again once you've gone. And because we all deserve peace of mind, a subtle but alert police presence will ensure that the camping area is, indeed, as safe as houses.
Communication has been similarly improved: stewards are savvy, plentiful, on-message. Information boards positioned at key points across the site will deliver up-to-the-minute information on everything from who's performing where and with whom to workshop timings and traffic conditions; festival goers can leave messages on designated boards as well. WOMAD Radio - will be broadcast over a 20mile radius, offering a 24 hour mix of music, artist interviews and site-specific updates.
With its arboretum, open lawns and rolling fields, the idyllic Charlton Park is now more accessible than ever: frequent shuttle buses will run from both Kemble and Chippenham stations, and into nearby Malmesbury. On-site, Fair Mobility Scooters are available - complete with training and full instructions - for those who may need them.
More than 250 stallholders in the Global Village will be ready with their food and drink; their arts, crafts and merchandise. A full programme of dance and percussion workshops has been designed for both adults and children. Look out for cookery sessions in the Taste the World Cafe. Late night dance music sessions with the cutting edge DJs. A Sufi Night. An Irish Ceilidh. The irrepressibly gorgeous children's procession on Sunday.
WOMAD is looking forward to welcoming you under hundreds of dreamy coloured flags - ideally ruffled by a summer breeze - that mark WOMAD out as a sort of three-day Utopia.
Warm wishes, The WOMAD Festival Team.