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Last Updated: Thursday, 19 October 2006, 17:02 GMT 18:02 UK
Wiltshire home for Womad festival
By Martin Vennard
BBC News, Charlton Park, Wiltshire

Peter Gabriel
Peter Gabriel plans to perform at Womad 2007 in Wiltshire
Womad, Britain's biggest world music festival, will take place at a stately home in north Wiltshire next summer.

From July 2007 the festival will be held at Charlton Park near Malmesbury, organisers have announced.

After 17 years of the event being held at Rivermead in Reading, organisers decided to move sites because its original site was too small.

Womad co-founder Peter Gabriel said: "It just felt there was beginning to be a negative noise about Reading."

Gabriel told reporters he recently met a woman who had been going to the festival for 15 years, but had decided not to go again because it was too crowded.

Successful relationship

Organisers ruled out using the nearby home of the Reading rock festival as there is only a four-week gap between the two events.

Charlton Park
Charlton Park is the home home of the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire
Despite moving to a bigger site though organisers say there are no initial plans to increase the 20,000 daily capacity.

Charlton Park is home to the Earl of Suffolk and Berkshire. His son, Viscount Andover said: "I am very excited by this project and look forward to a long and successful relationship."

The environmental impact the festival may have has been discussed amongst organisers and North Wiltshire Council.

Council leader Carol O'Gorman said: "Until we've gone through the process we won't know about it, but I've talked to the organisers and they put local people and businesses first.

"It's a superb opportunity for North Wiltshire," she added.

Next year will be Womad's 25th anniversary and Gabriel will perform along with Baaba Maal, drummer Bill Cobham, the Doll Foundation, Steel Pulse and Sam Tshabalala.

A fan's fond farewell to Womad
12 Oct 06 |  Berkshire
Womad stars let it all hang out
31 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Womad venue change after 17 years
03 Oct 06 |  Berkshire
In pictures: Womad festival
31 Jul 06 |  In Pictures

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