My WOMAD 2016

Posted on September 9, 2016

WOMAD this year was one of the best. I was there for the third time shooting for Rhythm Passport and as always it was a joy to be a part of that team of superstars. Even without founder and key superstar Kia, who was at home waiting for the arrival of his first child.

Apart from a couple of drizzly showers, the weather was warm without being in heatstroke territory. The site had a new layout – the Main Stage is no more, it’s now the Open Air Stage; everything feels a bit more compact and evenly spread. From a photographic point of view, there’s no longer direct sunlight hitting the stage during daytime performances – hurrah!

George Clinton has to go down as one of the strangest gigs I’ve ever photographed. In the first three songs he barely sang, just waved his arms around and span on a swivel chair while his band took turns on the vocals. Afterwards, another photographer assured me that this was completely normal for a Clinton show.

The thing about working at a festival is I rarely see a performance all the way through, you shoot the first three songs and then go on to shoot something else, or head back to the media tent to upload the photos. Of the acts whose gigs I did see a proper chunk of, I particularly loved Hot 8 Brass Band’s exuberant covers, Kel Assouf’s desert rock fusion, Afriquoi pumping out beats in the moonlight on the Ecotricity stage, and Ana Tijoux – infectious, political Latin hip-hop.

As ever though, the highlight of my weekend wasn’t even on the programme. Racubah Soundsystem led the party in the Lunched Out Lizard tent every night until the wee hours. The Isbell brothers have scoured Africa and Latin America to find music that sends irresistibly happy vibes from your hips to your feet. Always my favourite party of the summer and if they hadn’t turned the sound off at 4am that Sunday morning I would probably still be there dancing my booty off.

 

 

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