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WOMAD 2023: the World’s Music Festival

July 27 - July 30

Free – £200
Womad festival

Travel Begins at 40 gives the run down on this year’s WOMAD music festival, which is staying true to its global roots.

Every summer in late July musicians, poets, actors, artists, thinkers and even cooks from all over the globe head for the lush acres of Charlton Park Wiltshire to perform at WOMAD, the “world of music, arts and dance”.

WOMAD 2023 Highlights

Featuring Femi Kuti and the Positive Force, for more details on this year’s Womad line-up please read our Womad 2023 festival preview here.

WOMAD for Kids

World of Children at WOMAD Lisa Whiting
World of Children at WOMAD, photo by Lisa Whiting

For children and indeed everyone, there are games, workshops, music sessions and cookery classes, and everything can be seen on the website. This year there will be a World of Physics with workshops, and even a World of Children.

Tasting the World

The Taste The World Stage highlight’s last year included, BaBa Zula offering Turkish dumplings and Anandi Bhattacharaya dishing up Bengali curry. There are numerous food stands all over the site.

History of WOMAD
WOMAD festival by Guy Peterson
WOMAD festival by Guy Peterson

The very first WOMAD, founded by Genesis singer Peter Gabriel and held in 1982 in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, set the blueprint for future festivals. The event saw a typical mix of pop and what came to be known as “world music”, with performances from Echo and The Bunnymen, Simple Minds, Suns of Arqua, Drummers of Burundi, jazz trumpeter Don Cherry, The Chieftans, Imrat Khan and Gabriel himself. The ethos was “embracing but non-definitive and enthusiastic about a world with no boundaries.”

Some of the star acts to have played at the festival include Ravi Shankar, Youssou N’Dour, Nina Simone, Joan Armatrading, Manu Dibango, Ernest Ranglin, Toots and the Maytals, David Byrne, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Asian Dub Foundation, Baaba Maal, Cachaito Lopez, Adrian Sherwood and Suzanne Vega.

And such is the success of WOMAD that the festival has travelled to more than 30 countries, and is entered in the 2001 Guinness Book of Records as the “biggest international music festival”. At the 2011 event, another world record was won when 2,227 people played air guitar to Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, beating the previous number of 1,883.

Les Amazones d'Afrique by Chaima Daassiss
Les Amazones d’Afrique © Chaima Daassiss

When is WOMAD 2023?

27-30 July, 2023

WOMAD tickets

Purchase your tickets here.

Where is WOMAD 2021?

It’s held at Charlton Park Wiltshire.

More information about WOMAD

Click here.

Main image : Mokoomba – © Eric van Niuewland – Nomfusi Gotyana TV. Words by Robert Spelman, additional info from Mark Bibby Jackson.


July 27
July 30
Free – £200
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Charlton Park
Malmesbury,WiltshireSN16 9DG.United Kingdom+ Google Map
Let the adventure begin.