WOMAD Smiles Despite Austerity

The first European World of Music Arts and Dance Festival of the season overcame some local economic problems to attract nearly 20,000 per day to the main square of the old town of Cáceres, Spain, a world heritage site.

The free-entry event is heavily dependent on financial backing from the local municipality, which is problematic when the country is tightening its belt to meet its debt repayments to the European Union.

This year the local authority at Cáceres took so long to confirm it could find the cash that three months ago the WOMAD organisers delayed the festival by a week to May 18-20.

“At the time they didn’t know how much money they would have or what they could afford to spend it on,” said WOMAD festivals chief Chris Smith. “It wasn’t a huge problem because we know they want to do the festival because they recognise the economic benefit it brings to the area.”

Smith is now waiting to see if another Spanish local authority at Las Palmas can find the money to fund the WOMAD festival it’s planning for later in the year.

The acts at Cáceres included Dobet Knahore, Kiko Veveno, Bigott, A Naifa, and Don Letts.