This time tomorrow I’ll be on my way to WOMAD festival in Charlton Park. WOMAD is one of those festivals that’s pure relaxation. It’s a pretty large site but not so big that you have to walk miles to get to other stages, and the arboretum is a particular highlight as a great place to just chill out and forget the outside world.
This year’s line up is particularly good, although with the sad passing of Bobby Womack earlier this summer WOMAD lost it’s main headliner. Sinead O’Connor quickly took on the role and she will be closing the Open Air Stage on Sunday night.
It’s a varied and eclectic line up this year, which is what fans have come to expect. If you’re making your way to the beautiful festival site here are my top three recommendations for each day.
Linnea Olsson: 17:00
Ecotricity in the Arboretum
Linnea is a singer-songwriter with a difference. Echoing the sound of early Bjork or Kate Bush, along with her cello she creates some fantastically eerie ambient music that’s bound to create a special atmosphere over the Arboretum.
BBC Radio 3 Charlie Gillett Stage
Tunng mix dreamy beats with electronic beeps & noises as well as some great spoken-word samples. They have a fantastic back catalogue of danceable tunes, as well as chilled out tracks that will get you ready for the Friday night.
Society of Sound Stage 20:15
The ex Everything But the Girl singer/songwriter/instrumentalist has returned to his folk roots this year with his great solo album ‘Hendra’. It’s atmospheric indie folk perfect for the early evening chill out.
Afrikan Boy: 1700
Big Red Tent
Last year the amazing Spoek Mathambo was my favourite performance of WOMAD and Afrikan Boy came on with him to close his great set. Afrikan Boy fuses the sounds of southeast London grime with the classic sound of Nigeria. His recent single, Hit ‘Em Up, is a dance floor filler and this is bound to be an energetic set.
Society of Sound
World-famous beatboxer/musician Beardyman is going to be premiering his new music production system at WOMAD this year.
Putting himself and the BEARDYTRON to the test, he’ll be making a brand-new live album, based entirely on your song title suggestions. This is going to be a great interactive experience and a set not to be missed.
Fat Freddy’s Drop: 20:15
Described as “The 14-legged reggae-soul groove machine” you’ll be hard pushed to find someone not tapping their toes to this amazingly energetic band. Ideal for a Saturday night.
Batch Gueye Band: 13:00
Ecotricity in the Arboretum
A Sunday chill out won’t happen if you go to see the Batch Gueye Band. They’ll get you up and dancing to their African beats and, matched with Batch’s beautiful voice, it’ll be the perfect band to start the last day of the festival with.
Gruff Rhys: 16:00
Society of Sound Stage
The ex Super Furry Animals front man’s latest solo offering is an interactive affair. A concept album of interconnected songs documenting the true story of a Welsh explorer’s fantastical journey across the heart of the unmapped American continent in the late 18th century. It was released along with a complimentary book, film and digital app to some great reviews, and this is bound to be a pretty special set from Gruff.
Sinead O’Connor: 21:30
Open Air Stage
Closing the main stage is Sinead O’Connor. She’ll be debuting some tracks from her new album as well as some of her most acclaimed hits. Sinead’s stage persona and delicate voice is bound to make this a WOMAD set to remember.
So if you’re off to WOMAD this weekend have a great time and I’ll see you at the front!