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17 juillet 2008

WOMAD Festival In Gabriel's Words

By Peter Gabriel, for Sky News Online

Peter Gabriel helped launch the WOMAD world music festival back in the early 1980s. Peter Gabriel has performed at WOMAD Festivals through the years. Since then it's become an event not just in the UK, but in venues around the globe. The latest celebration of 'World Of Music, Arts and Dance' is held next weekend in Charlton Park, in Malmesbury, Wiltshire. Here Gabriel writes for Sky News Online on how this year's Womad will be one of the best ever... :

Pure enthusiasm for music from around the world led us to the idea of WOMAD in 1980 and thus to the first WOMAD festival in 1982. I rang around a few friends I knew were into music and floated the idea. We were a bunch of rank amateurs, really. I brought people like Africa's Drummers of Burundi over to the UK to perform. I never made a penny but I didn't expect to.

Cynical business-minded people said we'd never survive and a couple of times they were nearly right.
But we're still here, 26 years on. This will be the second year at our new home in Wiltshire's Charlton Park. It's a fantastic venue in a beautiful location. This year they have very kindly let us have more land and we've put measures in place to improve and enhance the site.

Musically, this is one of the best festivals we've ever had, and I don't always say that.
There are very many I want to watch including Orchestra Baobab, Martha Wainwright and the rocking Algerian-French trio, Speed Caravan. We've got 70 artists from over 30 countries so there's something for everyone of every age. I challenge anyone not to find something on the bill that inspires and moves them.

There is stuff for a really wide range of tastes.
WOMAD is now a very successful model that travels to other countries around the world. No other festivals to my knowledge have been able to do that. There is something really special that people find in WOMAD that they don't find in other festivals.

festivals have succeeded in introducing an international audience to many talented artists; they have also allowed many different audiences to gain an insight into cultures other than their own through the enjoyment of music.
Music is a universal language. It draws people together and proves, as well, as anything, the stupidity of racism.

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