- Title: UNITED KINGDOM: Sun shines bright at Womad Festival
- Date: 30th July 2008
- Summary: AUDIENCE
- Embargoed: 14th August 2008 13:00
- Location: United Kingdom
- Country: United Kingdom
- Reuters ID: LVA11RVVSVFFTBZ4OPC5I1G200P6
- Story Text: Artists from all corners of the world descended on Charlton Park in Wiltshire this weekend for the World of Music and Dance (WOMAD) festival which was established by Grammy-winning musician Peter Gabriel.New York City's Chic, featuring maverick producer Nile Rodgers, were the highlight of Friday (July 25) as they treated the audience to seventies disco classics including mega-hits "Le Freak" and "We are Family"."I've never had to play music to make a living ever since we made our first hits. After I wrote 'We Are Family', I now play music because I love being in front of people playing music, and if they understand the essence of our soul, that's all that counts," said Nile Rodgers, who produced Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and David Bowie's "Let's Dance"
Mercury Prize-winner Roni Size Reprazent gave festival-goers their first dose of Drum 'n' Base with a highly charged performance on Saturday (July 26) in WOMAD's Big Red Tent.
"What makes this festival different from every other festival that I've been to is when you walk into the tent, it's filled up with kids and buggies and their mothers and their fathers. Now that is an unbelievable site," said Roni Size.
Canada's Martha Wainwright mesmerised the audience with her folk-rock glamour on Saturday as she took to the stage in six-inch heels.
"Well you know I think it is important to get into the spirit of it and not worry too much about your hair and outfit but at the same time, I'm more of a city person so when I get on stage I like to wear high heels and a dress, so I have to be myself too," said Wainwright, of how she prepares for music festivals.
"I don't mind all of it, I don't mind being outdoors. It's sort of like my summer vacation," added Wainwright, who is the brother of Rufus Wainwright and daughter of Loudon Wainwright III.
The lineup of this year's festival has been considered somewhat controversial because of the high number of Western acts on the bill.
"I think there is a lot of discussion about what world music is.
We present music from around the world and we get labelled as a world music festival but I think it is just about music. Music is universal and we bring it from the corners of the globe to the UK and to other countries as well. So I think that is what makes us special. What the music is and how you define it is secondary to having the music here," said WOMAD festival director Chris Smith.
Festival-goers say they are attracted to WOMAD because it offers something different to what other British summer festivals offer.
"It's not a kind of boozy festival and it's not drugs and booze and people all falling around. It's kind of you've got the sense that people are actually awake here and enjoying it. I mean party late into the night, you know, but it's nice, it's civilised and it's brilliant," said John, who was attending the festival with his family.
"This is one of the best festival I've been to because the music is so diverse, people are so different, you can bring your family here and still have fun. You can have a drink and look at the sunshine," added another festival-goer.
Eddy Grant, who provided one the most powerful performances of the whole weekend, said he did not agree with the categorisation of non-Western music as "World Music".
"I think music is music and there should just be music festivals and people should just be able to play. But as I said, the world is built how the world is built, so therefore there is need for further definition of should have already been defined. It's great the the WOMAD festival exists, and it's not what they are called but what they do that counts," he said.
The Congo's Kasai Allstars, India's The Dhoad Gypsies and Asif Ali Khan of Pakistan were not able to perform at WOMAD because they failed to meet entry rules despite being exempt from needing work permits.
More than 70 artists from around 35 countries performed at the four-day festival at Charlton Park in Wiltshire.
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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