The original and biggest celebration of music, arts, food and dance from across the globe, WOMAD (World Of Music Arts and Dance) is an exuberant and celebratory extravaganza that runs annually in a selection of countries. 

Since 1982, this festival – based and run annually in the UK – has travelled all over the world, from Russia to Spain, Abu Dhabi, Australia and New Zealand. In the UK, WOMAD takes place in the grounds of the stately home of Charlton Park in Wiltshire.

Over the 2014 weekend, more than 100 artists from 40 countries will be performing and you might even
bump into Peter Gabriel, of Genesis fame, one of the pioneers who
started this festival

However, don’t expect to see Gabriel perform: he always argues that the purpose of WOMAD is to give a platform to artists whom we might not get the chance to see anywhere else.

Musical Maestros The international roster of performers includes Youssou N’Dour et le Super Etoile (Senegal), Bobby Womack (USA), Alice Russell (UK), Nitin Sawhney presents ONEZERO (UK), Manu Dibango (Cameroon), Fat Freddy’s Drop (New Zealand), Goran Bregovic’s and Funeral Band (Serbia/Bulgaria), Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba (Mali), and lots more.

Featured Fun Workshops explore the stories behind the music, techniques behind the dance and passion behind the percussion. There is also a Hip Yak Poetry Shack and The People Parlour, where you can share experiences and tell tales. Plus, if you worry about festival toilets, try out the La-Di-Da Loos, complete with glittering chandeliers, satin tablecloths, gleaming mirrors, hairsprays, hairdryers, gorgeous lotions and potions. Oh, and gleaming porcelain toilets!

The Zones  There are five main stages with a further one in the Arboretum. Additional fun is to be had at an old fashioned steam fair, the Global Market, Taste The World restaurant, World of Art, World of Words, World of Wellbeing, Hip Yak Poetry Shack, The People Parlour, and Kids Area.

Kid Stuff

  • A dedicated “World of Kids” features art and crafts workshops with a focus on creating giant colourful structures to don during the Children’s Procession on Sunday
  • Graffiti walls for free form art
  • Beat box sessions
  • Circus skills workshop
  • The tipi story tent
  • Musical mazes
  • Bug-hunting in the long grass

Chill Out Time The World of Wellbeing delivers yoga workshops, massages and therapies (and lots of tea and cake), while the WOMAD Spa offers luxury treatments

Dining Tables Artists performing at the festival will be on hand at a designated ‘cookery’ stage to prepare and cook a traditional dish from their home country. New for 2014 is the exciting Taste the World restaurant with a feast of dishes using spices and ingredients that reflect journeys across continents and ancient trade routes from Asia to Africa and the Americas.

Happy Campers There is General Camping, Family Camping, Disabled Camping plus Camp WOMAD, where tents are ready erected (from £145 for two people) and you can hire inflatable beds and pillows too. Other options are Luxury Airstreams (from £1,800), Boutique Camping in shikar tents in the protected walled garden of Charlton Park (from £2,498 for a family of four, including exclusive VIP backstage area festival tickets); Hearthworks Tipis & Yurts, and Podpads which includes a colourful rainbow of tents and cute little beach huts.

Full Weekend 
Adult (18+), £160 | 14–17 year-olds, £115 | Under-14s, Free

NOTE There are further international WOMAD festivals at
WOMAD Caceras in Spain 2015 date to be announced
WOMAD New Zealand March 13–15, 2015
WOMADELAIDE in Australia March 6–9, 2015

Photography Credit: Suzie Blake (main image) and WOMAD

See more family friendly Festivals in the UK for 2014