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18 août 2008

We won back fans' trust says WOMAD boss

By Lois Avery, Gazette & Herald, 28th July 2008

Charlton Park near Malmesbury was blessed with glorious sunshine this weekend as 30,000 music fans poured in for the WOMAD festival.

After torrential downpours made last year's festival a mud bath the prayers for good weather this year paid off and WOMAD 2008 did not see a cloud in the sky all weekend.

And with a new look site covering an even bigger area the organisers have hailed the weekend a success.

Crime was at an all time low at the family friendly event with only six arrests over the entire weekend compared to over 100 last year.

Inspector Mark Levitt said: "Crime was significantly down in the region of 75%, no disorder, fantastic traffic management and visitors, staff and artists have created a wonderful atmosphere. We work really hard in regards to targeting organized criminals who seek out such festivals for stealing from tents. We are confident that this effort has resulted in far fewer arrests at this years event."

Safe in the knowledge that the site was safe, fans were free to enjoy the music.

With a line up that included Finlay Quaye, Squeeze, Eddy Grant, Martha Wainwright and Shane MacGowan they were not disappointed.

Festival director Chris Smith said: "2008 was an important year as we had to win back the trust of our audience and the local community after the mud bath of 2007. I am delighted that the success of this year has achieved both of these things and so much more, a fantastic festival with a great vibe in a beautiful place."

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