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08 juin 2007

WOMAD gets go-ahead

WOMAD festival organisers say they are looking forward to bringing the event home' after being granted a licence. The deadline for objections to the licence for the event, which is being held at Charlton Park for the first time in July, was on May 3. North Wiltshire District Council licensing committee granted the licence providing that only one of the five public bars was open until 4am, that Charlton House would not be floodlit and that the event would not exceed reasonable noise levels.

Founded by former Genesis front man Peter Gabriel in 1982, the WOMAD festival has spent the last 17 years at the Rivermead site in Reading. Its aim is to celebrate music, arts and dance from countries and cultures all over the world.

WOMAD's Chris Smith said: "We have not had trouble gaining a licence in the past when we held the festival at Reading and we're looking forward to bringing the festival home to Wiltshire where our offices are based in Box. In Reading we managed to bring £5million to £6million to local trade and we would expect something similar here. The support for the event has been fantastic and we have had a lot of co-operation from the local police and other authorities."

Up to 45,000 people including staff, performers and artists will descend on Charlton Park for the four-day event. Mr Smith said people become concerned about festivals but that WOMAD was a family event and one promoting cultural awareness. He said: "In the 25 years this event has been going we have had no significant incidents on site and are not expecting this year to be any different."

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