Sunday, 31 July 2011

WOMAD 2011 - by Theo

Yet another year of WOMAD being blessed by perfect weather - warm, but not baking, sunny skies with clouds to offer relief - by Sunday we'd stopped bothering to carry the emergency umbrella and left all our waterproofs in the car. Yet the weather was just the beginning of our good luck....
This was Rosie's third WOMAD, and she did an excellent job of selecting acts for us from the program. We arrived at 4 on the Friday and she guided us straight into a stomping set by the wonderful Taraf de Haidouks, whom we had last seen in Madrid pre-Rosie. The quality music kept going from then on, though in keeping with our daughter's wishes (to just chill out with the paper, rather than wear her ear defenders) we never got too close to the front.Thanks to Jo, my sister's sister-in-law (with me there?), who works for Real World, we not only got discounted tickets, but also a pass for the crew parking, which was right next to the BBC Radio 3 stage. This was particularly handy for us as we were driving in each day from my parents' house in Cirencester, so it saved us quite a lot of walking. Sadly we didn't managed to catch up with Jo on site to thank her, but we did met her other brother (the one my sister isn't married to) plus, of course, my sister and her husband and my parents, my dad making his WOMAD debut with a rather stylish hat.
With extra people to obligingly entertain her, be they family or complete strangers, Rosie was on top form and generally very happy throughout the festival, only getting really grumpy when it was time to leave on Saturday. We don't think she actually noticed there was live music going on; indeed her ability to nap right through a very loud and bass-heavy set from Khaira Arby seems to suggest she barely noticed the musicians at all.Not to worry, Kate and I enjoyed the performances on her behalf. Personal favourites included Vieux Farka Toure's screamingly clean blues guitar, and Hari Sirvanesan's hypnotic and chilled collaboration with violinist Omar Puente. Meanwhile Kate was particularly taken with Susheela Raman's return to form in the arboretum and 9Bach's doom folk in the Siam tent. As usual though, we didn't hear a duff act all festival. Another wonderful WOMAD.

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