Last week WOMAD announced that it would be moving its annual UK festival from the Rivermead site in Reading – home to the event since 1990 – to a new location in Wiltshire in 2007.
Here is what the press release said: “WOMAD is intensely proud of its achievement at Rivermead together with Reading Borough Council and appreciates the support and endorsement of both the Council and the people of Reading. We feel honoured to have experienced a unique, creative and truly valuable partnership with Reading Borough Council during our years of working together.
However, after our seventeenth festival edition this summer, we have reluctantly come to the conclusion that the festival has now outgrown the available land at the Rivermead site and our belief is that we must now seek to move our festival if we are to protect its long-term future and audience appeal.Audience feedback we received after WOMAD Rivermead in 2005 included strong criticism of the site as a whole, and a feeling of overcrowding in particular. In order to alleviate these problems, WOMAD implemented substantial changes to the festival site in 2006. However, despite these improvements, a perception of overcrowding remains.
As a result, the WOMAD festival team felt there was no alternative than to seek a new venue in which to present the WOMAD Festival in future years.”
“We are keen to express our sincere goodwill towards Reading Borough Council and our support for every element of our working partnership in producing the WOMAD Festival each year at Rivermead,” said Thomas Brooman, Managing and Artistic Director, WOMAD.
Photo: WOMAD Rivermead 2006, courtesy of WOMAD.