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05 octobre 2006

Rock star's global festival heads for village

Villagers in Charlton, near Malmesbury, have been left stunned at the news that Peter Gabriel's giant world music festival could be moving to Charlton Park next year. Womad is described as the UK's biggest festival of international music and attracts crowds of up to 45,000. It has been based in Reading for the last 17 years, but has outgrown its Rivermead venue. Held over a three-day weekend in July, Womad this year featured 80 artists from 40 countries.

Independent financial adviser Brian Pickering, of St John's Way, said he doubted the village could cope. "It's rather startling," he said. "All we've got here is a pub, two bus stops and a telephone box. "I don't think we will be able to cope with that many people. You also don't know whether it would cause any security problems for the village."

Colin Legge, of Bullocks Horn, also doubted the village could cope with so many people at once.
But Margaret Langley, 58, of Park Street, who lives near the entrance to the park, said she would welcome the festival.

"It sounds like quite an impressive event and it's only for one weekend," she said."It's got to be good for the village to have an event like that, so it doesn't worry me."If it gets too noisy I'll just have to close the windows. Mrs Langley added she would be interested to go and watch the festival. Reuben Waller, general manager of the Horse and Groom Inn, The Street, said it could be beneficial."We will have three or four rooms for visitors by the time the festival comes," he said."I cannot imagine too many traders will be unhappy and, even if they are, it's only for a weekend."The Rev Richard East, of St John the Baptist Church, said everyone should make the most of the festival."It sounds fine by me and we will have to make plans to embrace it," he said.

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