Wednesday, 1 August 2007

The WOMAD festival, July 2007

Went to womad ("World of Music and Dance" for those not in the know) with Rachel. I've always wanted to go; the kind of music at womad is much more my thing that anything at Glastonbury.

Arrived in good time on the first day, but found all the good camping pitches already taken by crew and people who had come the day before. Put up tent on stubble of cornfield with plenty of bare soil under groundsheet. So little room to put tents that ours encroached onto one of the pathways between tents - not one of our nest ideas as we had a constant procession of people tripping over guy lines, especially after dark (and a few bevvies!). Tents so close all our guy lines were interlacing; privacy there wasn't.

Main feature of the site was the mud. We became connoisseurs of mud, from the liquid, six inch deep variety (the best, because it was easier to walk through) to the shallower sticky stuff. This was absolutely treacherous - as slippery as ice, and it sucked your boots off your feet. Very physically hard work to walk through - my legs are still aching two days after returning! Just to make life more exciting there were unexpected, hidden ridges and pits where tractors had ploughed their way through the gloop. The only way to cope with the sticky stuff was to KEEP MOVING. If someone crossed your path you didn't dare stop to give way to them.....

I particularly liked the ice cream van in this photo. There's something very English about splashing through puddles, wearing waterproofs, to buy a lolly!

ENOUGH! No more talk about rain and mud. The music was tremendous and more than made up for all the discomfort. Highlights for me were: Congolese/Kenyan soukous, reggae from both Jamaica and Birmingham, several French/North African groups, and Brazilian samba. We saw Cesaria Evora, Mariza, Baaba Maal and Taj Mahal. The Warsaw Village Band were a revelation, and Daara J put enough energy into their hip hop to power the entire festival. The atmosphere was brilliant, too. This festival seems very family friendly, with a wide spread of ages and a relaxed atmosphere. Loads of food stalls from round the world (Jamaican breakfast, anyone?) and lots of colours. Everywhere there were flags flying. There was even a full scale funfair with steam yachts, helter skelter and gallopers.

Would we go again? YOU BET your life we would!