I’m back on the festival beat with last week’s WOMAD (World of Music, Arts and Dance) festival in the UK. This is yet another event that most of us can’t attend, but can learn a lot about online. It’s one of the premier world music festivals, and was the 27th time it has been held in the UK, where the WOMAD organization is based. They also produce festivals around the world, and I was fortunate to have attended two in the early ‘90s, in Toronto. Peter Gabriel is one of the co-founders of WOMAD, and though he doesn’t often play the festival, he was the headliner on July 25th. Check out the full lineup on the festival’s site to get an idea of the worldwide scope of the music on offer. Click on the artists’ names for brief bios and video clips from pre-festival performances. As with Glastonbury and Latitude, earlier festivals I wrote about, there were a number of stages and more on offer than you could have taken in at one time. Robin Denselow’s review on Guardian.co.uk notes the continued importance of African music to the event, especially this year with Youssou N’Dour and Rokia Traoré. On the BBC Radio 3 stage, one of the events I would have particularly liked to have seen and heard was Charlie Gillett with Special Guests, in which the BBC DJ and author was both playing some of his current favorite records and sharing the stage with various world musicians. I knew Charlie back in my music days in the ‘70s and ‘80s, and he is one of the most iconic figures in British music. Mark Hudson ends his review on Telegraph.co.uk with an interesting observation: “In an environment in which the bracingly unfamiliar quickly became the norm, the jangly guitar-rock of fresh-faced British indie band Black Swan Effect stood out as by far the most exotic fare of the day.”

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