Womad is a free spirited, laid-back and unpretentious family affair held in Charlton Park, Wiltshire, which celebrates the ‘World Of Music, Art and Dance’; hence the name WOMAD. It is in no way a festival purely about music and/or dance. Art had a huge presence on site and made it a real delight to photograph. Everybody had a chance to be creative and get involved in artwork around the festival.
There were craft workshops all around the site: in the kids area there were activities encouraging children and parents to get involved creatively, there was the Roots Architecture Project where four stages were built over four days (with the help of festival goers) out of reclaimed materials from the park itself. Sculptures were also placed amongst the trees in the arboretum and seven sea containers showcasing Giving Soul- Film Animations by Six Leading Artists were on display. On the final day a celebratory procession of the creations made over the course of the festival made its way around the site providing some great opportunities to capture the spirit of the festival.
Giving Soul was a fantastic example of the world-art displayed. The title was taken from the translation for the Greek word psyche and the Latin name anima, the “animating principle” – the vital force inside every living creature – close to the Christian concept of soul. So “Animation” would be the technique of giving “soul” to inanimate objects, drawings, etc.
The Six artists who displayed their work were Edwina Ashton, Sebastian Buerkner, Simon Faithfull, Melanie Jackson, William Kentridge and David Shrigley. The work by the South African artist William Kentridge stood out in particular: He uses a stop motion technique of filming charcoal drawings, making erasures and changes, and then filming it again. The palimpsest-like effect creates a fitting atmosphere for what is often fairly dark subject matter.
I would recommend Womad to anyone. As a photographer it was an amazing experience in itself to be able to photograph such a colourful, fun, friendly and diverse festival. It was unlike any festival I have been to and there was always something interesting and creative happening. It is a delight for all the senses, a festival of inspiration and great discovery.