Top tips for surviving WOMAD

Join a drumming workshop at WOMAD.

This year’s WOMAD festival kicks off on Thursday 27 July in Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire.

The four-day event promises to be bigger and more packed-full of entertainment than ever, and features a host of bands who have regularly performed as part of SOAS University of London’s regular concert series, including innovative Klezmer ensemble Don Kipper; Syrian kanun-player Maya Youssef; and balafon maestro Mamadou Diabaté.


A busy schedule includes Oumou Sangaré from Mali; Goat from Sweden; Eliza Carthy and the Wayward Band; Orkesta Mendoza from the US; Xáos from Greece; Bill Laurance; Inna De Yard from Jamaica; Méta Méta from Brazil; the Tanzania Albinism Collective; Bonga from Angola; Ladysmith Black Mambazo from South Africa; and many, many more.

Full timetable to download.

Top tips

Of course, there is a lot more to WOMAD than music alone, and a bit of careful planning can help you get the most from your festival experience.

• Pack light

You’ve come to listen, to dance, to enjoy: WOMAD is not somewhere to parade your entire wardrobe.  Pack a sun hat, sunscreen, and plenty of enthusiasm.

• Choose a good camping spot

A bad night’s sleep can be the ruin of even the best festival.  Finding a quiet spot to camp is not going to be easy, but it should always be possible to avoid pitching your tent too close to the toilets––or too far away from the toilets––and make sure you keep as far away from anyone who brings their own instruments and looks like they suffer from insomnia.

• Plan your itinerary

There are a lot of acts performing over four days.  It doesn’t sound very spontaneous, but it pays to study the timetable of events before you arrive to make sure that you manage to catch up with all your favourites.

• Eat something new

Try out something tasty from the Global Village eateries.  Keep your taste buds on high alert and maximum receptivity.  There’ll be plenty to tempt you.

• Download the WOMAD app

Don’t miss out on any changes of venue or timings, and catch all the festival news, special offers and updates on the WOMAD app.

• Go barefoot

Kick off your shoes and chill.  What’s the worst that can happen?  A verruca.

• Pace yourself

Don’t feel that you have to do, see and drink everything in the first five minutes.  WOMAD is relatively small in comparison to Glastonbury, so relax; take it easy; you can do everything at walking pace.

• Make friends

Chat to your neighbours.  Find out what bands they’ve come to see; what kind of music they like.  Chances are you’ll discover something new.

• Enjoy yourself

Most of all: have a great time!

Want to learn more?

SOAS offers a wide range of options for studying world music at both undergraduate and postgraduate level.

The MMus Ethnomusicology provides an opportunity to develop performance and ethnographic skills, regional expertise, and a deeper understanding of global music.  The programme is tailored for musicians, musicologists, anthropologists, teachers and composers, who will study with the largest and most influential team of ethnomusicologists in the UK.


Find out more



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