WOMAD Festival 2014 – my highlights


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Siyaya (at the Siam Tent), an energetic drum and dance group from Zimbabwe.
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Afrikan Boy (at The Big Rent Tent)

Afrikan Boy (also known as Olushola Ujose from Woolwich, originally from Nigeria) treated us to an excellent performance including his brilliant 2007 track “One Day I went to Lidl” written when he was just 16 years old (he’s now 25). You can see this one on YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h4kBcm-ls8Y) where it got played millions of times and gained him a government grant to pursue his music career. He has an album coming out soon – go to: http://afrikanboy.com for details and to pre-order the new album, and listen out on 6Music for its release. His lyrical comments on his life remind me of Ghostpoet, (see previous post from 2013).

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The Big Green Britain Chat (Ecotricity in the Arboretum)

WOMAD isn’t only the music; there’s also talks, workshops, an excellent choice of food including tasters at ‘Taste The World‘, yoga and Tai Chi, and a steam fair, plus many more events and brilliant stalls from around the world. We attended the Ecotricity Stage talk ‘The Big Green Britain Chat’ whose hosts included the BBC’s Jon Snow, and the founder of Ecotricity: Dale Vince. This was a fascinating and inspiring discussion of Britain’s place in the Green Revolution. Very proud to say that my 9-year-old daughter bravely took the microphone, when chosen by Jon Snow, to conclude the audience participation by calling on people to care for their local wildlife by building hedgehog houses and feeding the birds. I’m pleased to say that we have had our electricity and eco gas supplied by Ecotricity for many years and they have excellent service, including REAL people answering the phones to help you with enquiries – none of that press 1 for…

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Late night performance from Congo Natty (previously known as Rebel MC).

 

Gruff Rhys appeared at The Society of Sound Stage and performed (most of) his album ‘American Interior’ interspersed with his own brand of understated dry humour about the story of John Evans, accompanied by a slide show (beautifully low-tech) and John Evans himself in the form of a puppet. Unmissable and one of the highlights of our Festival!

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Ibibio Sound Machine (Big Red Tent). One of Lauren Laverne’s favourites (6Music)
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Manu Dibango (Siam Tent), ‘sax-blowing godfather of African groove’ now in his 80’s.
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Melt Yourself Down (Big Red Tent). ‘Horn-heavy free-jazz tribal funk’.
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Youssou N’Dour et le Super Etoile de Dakar (Open Air Stage). Apologies for the quality of this one – I was pretty far off and someone kept waving a massive flag right in front of the stage.

See Tina’s video at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P23jBUx85fM for a video of 7 Seconds. Much better than mine – so I’m not even going to upload!

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The Radiophonic Workshop (Society of Sound Stage) performing Delia Derbyshire’s Doctor Who theme.

See my YouTube upload: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G3o4CMtxEn0

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The brilliant ‘Public Service Broadcasting’ closing the Siam stage on Sunday night. This is the third time we’ve seen them and they’re still excellent entertainment.

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This is the first year we’ve been to WOMAD (and the first year they’ve completely sold out!). The festival is particularly child-friendly and the security is good so that you feel safe all around the site. The accessibility is well thought out, this is a reasonably large site – especially if you have mobility issues. It isn’t as big as Glastonbury but you will need help getting around, fortunately Event Mobility were on hand to provide mobility scooters for a £25 hire fee a day. The disabled campsite is managed by a friendly team and all the stewards around the site were exceptionally friendly and helpful, all the viewing platforms were staffed by stewards (this is sometimes a problem at Green Man where last year there was a shortage of stewards, and sometimes a lack of enthusiasm on their part to actually do anything to actually manage the platforms). The only thing I’d mention is that they could have done with more disabled toilets on the main events area – none in the general toilet area – only by the stages, and perhaps a shuttle service from the disabled field to the main events area.

So, WOMAD next year? Very tempted.

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One thought on “WOMAD Festival 2014 – my highlights

  1. From the WOMAD Disabled Campsite Team – Thank you for the great comments, as for the points on transportation and toilets
    you may need to contact the WOMAD Management team direct at: info@womad.org.

    Regards, Mark Sheath – Disabled campsite manager.

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