WOMAD Takes A Walk On The Wilts Side

After the feedback from the 2005 festival included some strong criticism of the site as a whole, and a feeling of overcrowding in particular, the U.K.’s WOMAD Festival has given up on reconfiguring Reading Rivermead and is moving off to Wiltshire.

At press time, it wasn’t possible to reach WOMAD or the local Reading Borough Council. But the festival organization said in a statement October 3rd the “substantial changes” made to the site for this year’s event hadn’t solved the problem.

The BBC online news service quoted the council as saying the news is a loss for the town, but it seems the festival has used up the space it can get on Rivermead.

The world famous world music festival has been on the site for 17 years, regularly attracting 40,000-fan weekend crowds. The address of the new Wilts site will be announced November 1st, but the dates have already been confirmed for July 27-29.

WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance), which has its HQ in Wiltshire, was established by musician and former Genesis frontman Peter Gabriel in the 1980s.

Its aim is to celebrate music, arts and dance from diverse countries and cultures. Similar events have been held in 22 countries across the world. The 2006 U.K. festival was attended by 40,000 in July and featured 80 artists from 40 countries.