WOMAD Festival has been awarded £248,006 as part of the Government’s £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Fund (CRF) to help face the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and to ensure they have a sustainable future, the Culture Secretary has announced today.
WOMAD is one of 1,385 cultural and creative organisations across the country receiving urgently needed support. £257 million of investment has been announced today as part of the very first round of the Culture Recovery Fund grants programme being administered by Arts Council England. Further rounds of funding in the cultural and heritage sector are due to be announced over the coming weeks.
WOMAD, co-founded by Peter Gabriel has been producing music festivals in the UK since 1982 and has been based in its’ current location nr Malmesbury, North Wiltshire for the last 13 years. WOMAD is a unique event in the UK cultural landscape as it presents musicians and artists from around the world exploring and celebrating cultural diversity through a broad programme of music, art, dance, literature, food, the spoken word and science. The festival also reaches out to local schools taking international artists into schools to work with young people.
One of the founding principles of WOMAD is to show the stupidity of racism and to bring the world closer together, something that we feel that is needed more than ever in the coming months and years.
In addition to the festival programme, WOMAD brings millions of pounds into the economy of North Wiltshire and the wider region through investments in infrastructure, local contractors, tourism, and all the things welcoming 40,000 people into a rural community requires.
WOMAD also employs hundreds of people to deliver the festival, most of them free-lance staff who, overnight in March lost a year’s work. This grant will enable WOMAD to give work again to local people now and in the future.
Culture Secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“This funding is a vital boost for the theatres, music venues, museums and cultural organisations that form the soul of our nation. It will protect these special places, save jobs and help the culture sector’s recovery.
“These places and projects are cultural beacons the length and breadth of the country. This unprecedented investment in the arts is proof this government is here for culture, with further support to come in the days and weeks ahead so that the culture sector can bounce back strongly.”
Chair, Arts Council England, Sir Nicholas Serota, said:
“Theatres, museums, galleries, dance companies and music venues bring joy to people and life to our cities, towns and villages. This life-changing funding will save thousands of cultural spaces loved by local communities and international audiences. Further funding is still to be announced and we are working hard to support our sector during these challenging times.”
Chris Smith, WOMAD Director, said:
“We are grateful and very relieved to have received this support from the Arts Council and DCMS. Like many cultural organisations WOMAD lost at least 12 months of vital income back in March. This support will ensure that WOMAD survives into the future and will continue to bring essential cultural and economic benefits to our community and the world.”