WOMAD was created as a concept in 1980, inspired and nurtured throughout its infancy by the artist and musician Peter Gabriel, together with a group of individuals including the organisation’s Artistic Director Thomas Brooman.
For just over two decades, WOMAD festivals around the world have offered many international audiences an insight into cultures other than their own through the enjoyment of music, introducing a rich variety of artists from many countries to each festival.
WOMAD aims to excite and to inform and to make a wider number of people aware of the worth and potential of a multicultural society.
WOMAD in the World
WOMAD in Prague
Václav Havel, President of the Czech Republic
"It gives me great pleasure to be able to welcome WOMAD - possibly the most significant ethnic festival in the world - to Prague, and I greet all its participants.
The idea and implementation of this manifestation of multi-cultural diversity proves that the many-facetted and varied national and ethnic specifica of those present can co-exist without exception on all continents throughout the world, while still preserving respect for history, tradition and the independence of individual cultures. WOMAD thus becomes a key to the search for mutual respect and understanding between us all.
Let this principle become an inspiration for those wielding power in today’s world!"
Jan Kasl, Lord Mayor of Prague
“On behalf of the city of Prague I would like to welcome WOMAD as an official part of our millennium celebrations. It is also my hope that this unique display of cultural diversity will become a regular event in Prague’s cultural calendar.”
Michal Prokop, Director of Prague – European City of Culture for the year 2000
“The WOMAD Festival, held in Prague for the first time last year as part of the Praha – European City of Culture for the year 2000 project, proved an exceptionally successful event and established the tradition of an annual gathering of cultures from all over the world. The upholding of this tradition, which will draw artists from many different nations to Prague, reflects the spirit of Prague as a „city of open gates“ – to quote one of the conceptual themes of our project. We would therefore like to recommend to everyone whose intention it is to contribute to such an image of Prague and Czech society in general to support this festival of excellent music and amazing atmosphere.“
Thomas Brooman, Artistic Director of WOMAD
„It is my hope that each WOMAD Festival may become a living celebration of cultural difference; an opportunity for people of all sorts to embrace and enjoy the music, dance, the language and customs of cultures other than their own.
In this way, we hope to show that the differences of culture that make us all distinct are differences that should be valued, treasured, respected and never feared. In other words, that cultural difference may serve to unite us, wherever it is in the world that we my first come.
We are deeply grateful to the City of Prague for this opportunity of expression, also to all of the sponsors who have supported WOMAD in Prague so strongly.”