WOMAD 2016 saw 36,000 music fans converge on leafy rural Wiltshire to enjoy more than 200 performances by 90 artists from 49 countries, across seven stages of music.
With an eruption of multi-instrumental, multi-continental progressive jazz, Saint Germain brought The Open Air stage at WOMAD 2016 to a spectacular close on Sunday night. The pioneering jazz seven-piece were following equally enthralling headlining performances from the intense, melancholy and rousing John Grant on Friday and a bombastic, genre-traversing party from the legendary George Clinton's Parliament Funkadelic on Saturday.
Other WOMAD highlights included, on Friday, the beautifully melancholy neo-Celtic reimagining of a genre-defining album from Grit Orchestra , the baddest brass-asses in the world, Hot 8 Brass Band , powerful African-tinged Jazz-Rock fusion from Ibrahim Maalouf , the mesmeric and charismatic Wiyaala , virtuoso Jaipur musicianship from Desert Slide and a phenomenal late-night voyage through the folk and contemporary folk music of the Mediterranean, North Africa and the Middle East from newcomers Kefaya , who also graced the BBC 3 Charlie Gillett Stage.
WOMAD 2016 saw over ten hours of live broadcasting, including a simulcast between BBC Radio 3 and BBC Radio 6 fronted by Cerys Matthews, the most ever done in seventeen years of WOMAD. The BBC gave a platform to acts such as Transylvanian cabaret-folk outfit Zmei 3 on the Taste the World Stage and Dom Le Nena , the beautifully melodic, multilingual, multi-talented and multi-genre Brazilian artiste.
Elsewhere on Saturday the women of WOMAD were all-conquering, particularly in stunning performances from Inna Modja , Anoushka Shankar and Chilean rapper-singer Ana Tijoux , while the astonishing singing voice and political potency of Baaba Maal ensured a vibrant evening on the main stage.
Sunday saw the magnificent vocals of Cuncordo e Tenore de Orosei , the breakneck, countercultural ska-punk of Dubioza Kolektiv , the iconic Pat Thomas & Kwashibu Area Band , cinematic Celtic soundscapes from The Breath and the inspirational al-female West African supergroup Les Amazones D'Afrique .
Away from the music stages, festivalgoers witnessed the first ever Physics Pavilion at WOMAD which, - in association with CERN, Institute of Physics, Lancaster University and the UK's Science and Technology Facilities Council, brought together science, creativity and popular culture in a programme of events which included a live stream of the Large Hadron Collider and a Q&A with Doctor Who writer Steven Moffatt on the relationship between science fact and science fiction.
Elsewhere, Taste the World saw the Hairy Bikers head a line-up of music, conversation and sumptuous chicken dishes from around the globe – with a special session on Sunday, scored by drumming maestro and Ghanian WOMAD legend Abass Doodoo , concluding their worldwide search for the best chicken dishes on the planet.
Summing up WOMAD 2016, festival director Chris Smith said: "This year's festival captured perfectly what WOMAD is all about; bringing people together through all kinds of music, culture, activities and cuisine and celebrating the universal joy that all of these things can bring.
"In times when we seemingly hear about nothing but division and strife in the world it's really heart-warming to witness all of these amazing performers, artists, scientists, gourmands and festivalgoers really engaged with one another.”
When: 28-31 July 2016
Where: Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire
WOMAD (World Of Music, Arts and Dance) held its first festival in 1982 at the Bath & West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset. Over the intervening 34 years, the Peter Gabriel-fronted organisation has hosted festivals across the globe, from Sicily to Seattle, Adelaide to Abu Dhabi. For the tenth time, its flagship UK festival was held in July at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire.