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10 juillet 2007

Villagers warm up

The village is braced for a visitor influx. Charlton may be one of the most peaceful villages in Wiltshire, but later this month the eyes of the world will be on it. Former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel has brought his WOMAD Festival to Charlton Park for the first time. For the last 17 years, the World Of Music, Arts and Dance has been held in Reading.

Now, tens of thousands of people will be making their way to the festival in the tranquil village near Malmesbury. The news Charlton would be holding the globally renowned festival caused quite a stir among residents when it was first announced. With the prospect of media outlets from around the world, international music stars and the many revellers making their way to the village, there were a few hostile reactions at the start.

Chairman of the parish council Mark Wilkins said: "The initial reaction was very uneasy and there were quite a few hostile reactions. But, as time has gone on and people have understood the nature of the event, a lot have warmed to it. The WOMAD management has been working hard to answer our questions, which has helped people become more accepting and even enthusiastic. Now that it is going ahead, I think people are going to try to make the best of it. Quite a few people I know will be attending."

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