The Guardian festival blog: Womad review – from Mexico to Mali, ska to the squeezebox, world music celebrates fusion | Culture

Thirty-five years ago, the first Womad festival introduced global styles to rock and folk audiences. It was a financial disaster. Today, it is thriving and almost overcrowded with good music, as 35,000 people gathered in an increasingly mud-clogged Charlton Park to watch close to 100 acts from some 50 countries. Highlights of a strong lineup included ska veterans Toots and the Maytals singing Pressure Drop in a rainstorm, China’s avant-garde Zhou Family Band imitating chicken noises, the Tanzania Albinism Collective touchingly showing how music has helped them face stigma and health challenges, and an a cappella treatment by Australia’s Spooky Men’s Chorale of Picture in a Frame by Tom Waits. But the major theme was fusion, and there were new […]

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The Guardian festival blog: Y Not festival cancelled due to muddy conditions | Music

A festival has been cancelled due to safety concerns after heavy rain, prompting complaints that organisers had failed to prepare for the realities of British summer time. Y Not festival in Derbyshire was called off on Sunday after acts had already been forced to abandon their performances due to dangerous conditions. Headliners The Vaccines had their set cancelled on Friday, apologising to fans on social media and saying they had been told it was unsafe. The soggy weekend also saw performances from Stereophonics and Jake Bugg rearranged, with acts reportedly playing under gazebos on stage to stay dry. Pictures shared online showed waterlogged tents and festivalgoers wading through deep mud. “Paying £140+ to watch ONE act, kill your legs & […]

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The Guardian festival blog: Cambridge folk festival review – May-bashing, protest songs and a conga line | Music

‘Hello,” said Grace Petrie sweetly, “I’m a protest singer.” Murmurs of approval. “Actually, I’m a socialist, feminist, lesbian, leftwing protest singer …” The place erupted. Martin Carthy suggested recently that something intrinsic was lost to British folk when it relinquished its political soul to genres such as rock, punk and hip-hop. Chris Wood, meanwhile, pondered at this very event a year ago why young musicians weren’t getting angry any more. Maybe now – with plenty of Trump references and Maybot bashing – the tide is turning. Fight-the-good-fight veterans the Indigo Girls closed the night on the main stage one while the fierce fusion band Bokanté rocked up stage two. Putting an immediate stamp on proceedings as only the festival’s third […]

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The Guardian festival blog: I Feel Love review – a moving celebration of sexual freedom and LGBT rights | Music

Headlined by Will Young, Marc Almond and Alison Moyet, this concert to celebrate the 50th anniversary of sexual freedom – simultaneously broadcast on Radio 2 – doesn’t lack party atmosphere. There are ticker-tape explosions and massed singalongs of the Village People’s YMCA and Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, led by the Gay Abandon choir. The celebratory piece de resistance is surely the guy in the crowd singing along with a ventriloquist’s dummy, which has been glammed up in a silver wig. Yet for all the outbreaks of joy, the most effective moments are more downbeat. Presenter Ana Matronic from the Scissor Sisters reminds us that in the 1967 so-called Summer of Love, “a section of society could be dragged before […]

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