With a tagline of “building bridges not walls” and an inclusive and inspiring line-up, the 38th Womad festival celebrated arts and culture from all over the planet.

This year's World of Music, Arts and Dance at Charlton Park in Wiltshire was a classic with 39,000 people enjoying 300 performances and 500 workshops, talks and events by more than 100 artists from over 50 nations covering countless genres of music, art, performance and culture on a weekend of blazing sunshine.   

It kicked off on the Thursday when youngsters from Malmesbury schools took to the open air stage with The Bollywood Brass Band and the rhythms flowed until the early hours of Monday morning when the last revellers finally bid adieu to DJ Sacha Dieu at Mollie’s Bar.

The Oxford Times:

In between was an eclectic mix of entertainment and activities from cookery demonstrations and drumming workshops to tai chi and yoga, poetry slams and author talks.

And then there was the music, the glorious music that highlighted, and often merged, sounds and styles from all over the world.

Thursday night’s headliners the multi-generational Juan De Marcos’ Afro-Cuban All Stars had the crowd grooving to their Latin American beats, while big name acts the bill on the next three nights included Macy Gray and Ziggy Marley (Friday); DakhaBrakha and Anna Calvi (Saturday) and Robert Plant and Orbital (Sunday).

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But a lot of the joy of Womad is discovering new sounds and musicians... even if some have been performing since before most of the audience were born (and Womad isn’t a particularly young crowd!).

Calypso Rose, 79, from Trinidad and Tobago sang of breaking down walls since she was small and the queen of calypso delivered a hugely entertaining set of songs with a social conscience and great humour.

The Oxford Times:

And where else do you find psychedelia from Istanbul (Baba Zula, Turkey), Ethiopian-flavoured folk-jazz (Hejira, UK), voodoo-laced deep funk and Afrobeat (Vaudou Game, Togo/France) and Scandinavian folk (Maija Kauhanen, Finland) on the same bill, along with super-hip interpreters for the deaf signing at the side of the stage?

Brushy One String (Jamaica), whose Chicken In The Corn song has been watched more than 24 million times on YouTube, showed his one-string guitar playing is no novelty act and Jojo Abot (Ghana/USA) proved to be multi-talented, singing as she cooked up a black-eyed bean dish on the Taste The World stage.

A world of flavours, a world of music, a world with no borders and a welcome for all... a festival our leaders could take some lessons from.

The Oxford Times: