Crowd shot at WOMAD Festival 2017
Photo: C Brandon/Redferns
Peter Gabriel's WOMAD Festival 2020 Canceled Due To Coronavirus Pandemic
WOMAD (World Of Music, Arts And Dance) festival, the international music and arts festival from Genesis founding member Peter Gabriel and others, has canceled its 2020 edition in the U.K. due to the growing coronavirus pandemic. Originally scheduled to take place July 23-26 at Charlton Park in Wiltshire, England, the festival, which featured headliners The Flaming Lips, Angélique Kidjo, Kate Tempest and Fatoumata Diawara, among many others, is confirmed to return next year (July 22-25), according to the updated dates on the event's official website.
Festival organizers announced the event's cancellation via statements from Gabriel and the WOMAD team, both shared on the festival's official website and social media accounts today (April 8). In his statement, Gabriel said many of the artists originally confirmed for this year's festival "have already offered, or agreed," to return for 2021.
"Like many others, we have been hoping, waiting and watching the Coronavirus situation," Gabriel wrote. "Finally, we have been told that we will not be allowed to hold WOMAD this year at Charlton Park.
"Safety for all of our festivalgoers, artists and our own staff surpasses everything.
All of us involved with WOMAD have already been really touched by the help and generous offers of many of those we depend on to make the festival come to life. Many of the artists have already offered, or agreed, to play for us next year and we will now put our energies into making a great WOMAD 2021."
"We hope to see you all at Charlton Park next year for a big celebration, when we've put this meanie back in the bottle," he continued, alluding to the festival's return in 2021. "Your love and support for the dream that is WOMAD, has always meant a lot to us, but especially now."
"Following a meeting with the Licensing authority, the combined emergency services and taking fully into account the government advice on halting the spread of the virus, it is clear, that in order to meet our goal of protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of the whole community there is no way we can go ahead with WOMAD 2020," a statement from the wider WOMAD team read. "We are devastated but confident that this is the right and responsible decision and that we have to play our part in helping the country stay safe and to recover."
For ticket holders for its canceled 2020 U.K. edition, WOMAD is offering a transfer of tickets for the 2021 edition or full refunds. For those who paid for their tickets in installments, the festival is allowing a temporary pause on payments to be picked up again next year for WOMAD 2021 or refunds for the face value of the tickets. More information about ticket transfers and refunds is available on the festival website.
The festival, which originally announced its initial lineup this past February, posted an update about the event's U.K. edition last month (March 19). "At WOMAD we are examining the advice of the government, other authorities and of course the healthcare professionals before making a final decision on what actions we should be taking to lead by example and help to keep everyone in the WOMAD community safe and well," the statement read.
In February, WOMAD postponed what was to be its first-ever edition in Mexico, originally scheduled for March 27–29, "due to events outside of our control," according to a post shared on the festival's website. While no new dates have been announced, WOMAD Mexico will return "later in the year," the post reads.
WOMAD has already completed three international festivals in 2020, including installments in Chile in February and in Australia and New Zealand in March.
WOMAD is the latest festival to be canceled or postponed this year due to the coronavirus pandemic. Since March, Governors Ball, Glastonbury, Isle Of Wight, Download, All Points East, Lovebox and Parklife, Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest, BottleRock Napa Valley, the Rock And Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Coachella and Stagecoach, Ultra Music Festival, SXSW, Lollapalooza Argentina, Something In The Water, Treefort Music Fest, Afro Nation Puerto Rico, Brussels' Listen! Festival, Record Store Day and several other major events and festivals around the world were called off or rescheduled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.