Everyone has heard of the Jules Verne adventure Around The World in 80 days. Musically speaking, fans will be able to travel the globe in 80 hours this weekend by heading to a swathe of countryside two miles from Malmesbury.
Nearly 100 bands and artistes from throughout the world will appear at the four-day WOMAD Festival at Charlton Park which gets underway tonight.
Some 30,000 people will converge on the Earl of Suffolk’s ancestral home for Wiltshire’s largest music event, which is also the most prestigious festival on the world music calendar.
This will be the 32nd UK WOMAD. It began at the Royal Bath and West Showground near Shepton Mallett in 1982 and arrived at Charlton Park, via a several other locations including Reading, in 2007.
WOMAD director Chris Smith is more than happy at their beautiful and spacious Charlton Park home and is keen for the event to remain there over the coming years. “The local community have taken us to heart and that’s very important,” he said.
The music begins at 7pm tonight with a performance by around 100 young musicians and dancers, aged from eight to 18, from Malmesbury School and village schools.
Every year since Charlton PThe theme of the hour-long show will be reggae after the youngsters have been rehearsing with a Bristol based collective, AMJ.
Last month the festival organisers were stunned when the man they were thrilled to have finally clinched to top Sunday night’s bill, soul legend Bobby Womack, sadly died at 70.
Often controversial Irish singer Sinead O’Connor – best known for her chart topping interpretation of the Prince song Nothing Compares 2 U – has stepped to close the show at the Open Air stage.
Also among this year’s big hitters arefolk-rock giant Richard Thompson, Anglo-Indian composer Nitin Sawhney, and legendary African singer Youssou N’Dour.
More information and tickets prices are available at 0118 960 6060 or at www.womad.co.uk