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Robert Plant to unveil new band at 30th anniversary of Womad festival

Robert Plant and his new band the Sensational Space Shifters will make their live debut as headliners of this year’s Womad, as the festival celebrates its 30th anniversary. The group comprising the former Led Zeppelin frontman, members of his former backing band Strange Sensation and regular collaborator Justin Adams say they draw inspiration “from the roots music of Mississippi, Appalachia, Gambia, Bristol and the foothills of Wolverhampton”.

The first Womad – an acronymn for World of Music, Arts and Dance – was conceived by Genesis singer Peter Gabriel, and took place at the Royal Bath & West showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, in 1982. The first bill featured Echo & the Bunnymen, the Drummers of Burundi, Don Cherry, Simple Minds, Suns of Arqa and the Chieftans.

Over the intervening 30 years, the organisation has hosted festivals across the globe, from Sicily to Seattle, Adelaide to Abu Dhabi. For the sixth time, its flagship UK festival will be at Charlton Park, near Malmesbury in Wiltshire.

The 2012 lineup will also include Indian breakthrough star Raghu Dixit, the Buena Vista Social Club, French collective Lo’Jo, “funk orchestra” Grupo Fantasma and the Alaev Family from Tajikistan, with many more acts to be announced. Last year’s event saw performances from Baaba Maal, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Fatoumata Diawara and more.

Womad takes place at Charlton Park, Malmesbury, Wiltshire, 27–29 July.


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