Main stage (Simon Partington)

Main stage (Simon Partington)

WOMAD have announced today that the UK event due to be held 23-26th July has been cancelled due to concerns over the spread of COVID-19 and the safety of festival goers, artists and staff.

Founder Peter Gabriel said:

“Like many others, we have been hoping, waiting and watching the Coronavirus situation. Finally, we have been told that we will not be allowed to hold WOMAD this year at Charlton Park. Safety for all of our festivalgoers, artists and our own staff surpasses everything. All of us involved with WOMAD have already been really touched by the help and generous offers of many of those we depend on to make the festival come to life. Many of the artists have already offered, or agreed, to play for us next year and we will now put our energies into making a great WOMAD 2021. We hope to see you all at Charlton Park next year for a big celebration, when we’ve put this meanie back in the bottle.

Your love and support for the dream that is WOMAD, has always meant a lot to us, but especially now. Thank you and stay safe”

Tickets for WOMAD 2020 will automatically roll over for WOMAD 2021, or refund details can be found at



WOMAD have announced the first artists for the 2020 line-up for the UK festival at Charlton Park, Malmesbury on 23rd – 26th July. As usual a mix of established names and new talent from across the globe.

Some artists are making a welcome return to a Womad stage. Angelique Kidjo returns to Charlton Park performing her 2018 reimagination of Talking HeadsRemain In Light, taking the era defining original version and enhancing it with her striking fusion of West African traditions with R&B, funk and jazz.

Angélique Kidjo performs Remain In Light (Simon Jay Price)

Angélique Kidjo performs Remain In Light (Simon Jay Price)

Fatoumata Diawara who first appeared as one of Oumou Sangare’s backing singers at Womad and is something of a Womad success story opens the festival on Thursday evening. Each appearance at the festival has seen her receiving higher billing and a bigger stage. She has recently guested on Gorillaz’ latest release Desole and is gaining more and more recognition. 2-tone ska legends who need no introduction The Selecter are back on Thursday night too to get the weekend off to a flying start.

The Selecter @ Main Stage (Edyta K)

The Selecter (Edyta K)

Also reappearing are Real World label feminist supergroup Les Amazones d’Afrique from West Africa. A creative force whose vibrant harmonies are a call to arms to the women of the world to unite and rise up against the patriarchy. Angelique Kidjo sang on their fist album so hopefully we’ll see a live collaboration over the weekend.

Indie post punks A Certain Ratio also return, their last appearance on a WOMAD stage was 35 years ago, playing songs from their retrospective acr:box.

Big name Womad first appearances include poet, playwright and performer Kate Tempest, avant-garde rock band The Flaming Lips, and Portuguese fado star Mariza,

Boomtown Festival (nosa malcolm)

Kate Tempest (Nosa Malcolm)

The whole world is represented as ever with Fantastic Negrito from the USA, jazz band SEED Ensemble combining inner-city London, West African and Caribbean influences, Iceland’s Ásegeir, Zimbabwean fusion group Mokoomba. Elaha Soroor, will be performing with Kefaya who was forced to leave her native Afghanistan after speaking out against the government.

Hopefully the latest news from her homeland will bring some cheer. South Korean big band Ak Dan Gwang Chil, and many many more from every continent, desert and jungle as far afield as Australia. Hailing from much closer to home hip-hop duo Too Many T’s from London who’ve previously shared stages and bills with De La Soul and Public Enemy will be sure to be a big hit.

Siam Tent (Simon Partington)

Siam Tent (Simon Partington)

As ever the festival offers a range of experiences to stimulate and entertain. World of Words with author talks, debates and discussions, the ever popular Taste The World stage where artists cook meals from their homelands, World of Physics with a huge range of workshops and talks for all ages, the World of Wellbeing in the peaceful surroundings of the arboretum, and the World of Children where little ones to teens can participate or watch in events and workshops. There are many free workshops for adults too, yoga, dancing, learning a new instrument and more. More details and the full list of performers can be found at

 (Simon Partington)

Woodland Nymph (Simon Partington)

Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, UK, SN16 9DG
23-26 JULY 2020


By Simon Partington

I've been taking photos since junior school, started on a Box Brownie, 620 roll film. Things all changed when I heard Led Zep II when I was 9 or 10, I knew then I wanted to photograph bands and musicians. Fast forward through the years until I got a golden opportunity to shoot The Smiths at soundcheck in 1986, then followed increased gig shooting, leading me to today.

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