World of Music, Arts and Dance

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WOMAD Charlton Park 2008
The festival's logo, the WOMAD lion

WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) is an international arts festival. The central aim of WOMAD is to celebrate the world's many forms of music, arts and dance.


WOMAD was founded in 1980 by English rock musician Peter Gabriel, with Thomas Brooman, Bob Hooton, Mark Kidel, Stephen Pritchard, Martin Elbourne and Jonathan Arthur.[1][2] The first WOMAD festival was in Shepton Mallet, UK in 1982. The audience saw Peter Gabriel, Don Cherry, The Beat, Drummers of Burundi, Echo & The Bunnymen, Imrat Khan, Prince Nico Mbarga, Simple Minds, Suns of Arqa, The Chieftains and Ekome amongst others performing.

Gabriel and his company — which had funded WOMAD — faced financial ruin due to the high costs of the festival[3] in its very first year, put down to lack of suitable transport to the venue and a lack of publicity. At the suggestion of Tony Smith, the manager of Gabriel and Genesis, he and the remaining members of Genesis agreed to play together for a single show under the name 'Six of the Best'.

Since 1982 WOMAD Festivals have travelled all over the world, bringing artists to numerous locations and entertaining over one million people. The main UK event was held at Rivermead in Reading, Berkshire from 1990 until 2006.[4]


From the outset, the WOMAD name has reflected the festival’s idea; to be embracing but non-definitive, inspiring and outward looking; and more than anything, enthusiastic about a world that has no boundaries in its ability to communicate through music and movement.[5]


WOMAD has always presented music that they felt to be of excellence, passion and individuality, regardless of musical genre or geographical origin. WOMAD encourages collaboration amongst the artists they invite to perform. The first WOMAD Festival in 1982 had Echo and the Bunnymen join forces with the Drummers of Burundi, and WOMAD Abu Dhabi 2010, saw a collaboration between Tinariwen, TV on the Radio members Kyp Malone and Tunde Adebimpe, and the French Algerian Mehdi from Speed Caravan.

  • Workshops. Adult workshops are taken by the musicians and will involve dance, musical instruments and discussions. Children's workshops involve painting, circus skills, graffiti, modelling, story telling and more.
  • Taste The World. Musicians cook a choice of dish from their home country in front of an audience.
  • Global Market. The Global Market sells international food and wares.


WOMAD in the UK takes place in the grounds of Charlton Park, a stately home in Wiltshire. The arena holds at least 5 main stages with a further one in the Arboretum. An old fashioned steam fair, global market, children's area, wellbeing section is also found on the WOMAD UK festival site. WOMAD Charlton Park falls on the last complete weekend in July.

WOMAD came to Bristol Zoo in 2011,[6][7][8][9][10][11] with a subsequent event in 2012.[12][13][14] A boycott of the 2012 event was called for by the Captive Animals Protection Society.[15]

See also


  1. Bright, Spencer: Peter Gabriel, an authorized biography (pp.180) , Pan 1999.
  2. Derek Beres, review of "Between Two Worlds", 2006. Accessed:
  3. "WOMAD". The Guardian. Retrieved 30 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "WOMAD". efestivals. Retrieved 6 March 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "WOMAD". FestivalMag. Retrieved 30 June 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. Bristol Zoo teams up with Womad for summer spectacular – Bristol24-7
  7. AN evening of music from around the world will be staged at Bristol Zoo this summer as it teams up with the WOMAD festival for a unique concert. | This is Bristol
  8. Bristol Zoo teams up with WOMAD to offer a wild music festival - 17/03/11 | Bristol Zoo
  9. Final acts revealed for WOMAD music festival at Bristol Zoo - Visit Bristol
  10. Trio of acts complete line-up for zoo's summer world music event | This is Bristol
  11. Bristol University | School of Biological Sciences | Womad at Bristol Zoo
  12. WOMAD Festival returns to Bristol Zoo Gardens for another musical extravaganza – Bristol24-7
  13. Music festival returns to the zoo | This is Bristol
  14. WOMAD At Bristol Zoo 2012 » Festivals » WOMAD
  15. BBC News - Row over Bristol Zoo plan to host Womad concert
  16. WOMAD New Zealand
  17. WOMAD Abu Dhabi
  18. WOMAD Cáceres
  19. WOMAD Sicily
  20. WOMAD Las Palmas de Gran Canaria
  21. [1]

External links