We go mad at WOMAD

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WOMAD!
World of Music and Dance, musicians from around the globe, a stunning natural setting,with amazing flags and food to boot, what’s not to like??

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I LOVE WOMAD.
I have gone for 3 years now and just soaked up everything about it.  If music festivals are my spritual home (they are) then WOMAD is pure nirvana…

So this year, with two other families (great friends), we decided to take all the kids too.

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One of my favourite things about having children is seeing them express their own individuality.  They have always showed a real zest for life and embracing new experiences.  I hope that my encouragment and role modeling has shown them to try new things, take up every opportunity and to live fearlessly.

I loved what they did at WOMAD….

Hannah got straight down to business with the programme as soon as her tent was up and  set herself a busy schedule of seeing as much as possible!

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Hannah’s friend Ina was there too and what a great couple of young women they are.  As a parent I totally love their independence. They were so happy to do their own thing  including coming “home” to the tents at midnight when the music finished.
Needless to say they both had a ball!! Whenever I saw them they were buzzing with what they had seen/eaten/bought!
There was a very safe, trusting and loving feeling among festival goers, Ollie too felt safe staying alone and making his own way back each night.

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I love seeing what Ollie does in a new situation!  Not a big muso, I wasn’t sure what he would “do”….However he discovered the cooking shows and went to every one!!  So much so that the celebrity presenter greeted him like an old friend when I went to one on the last day with him!!

He also did the classic Ollie thing which is to go deeply into one thing in this case a group called The Aleav Family from Israel.  A family of men- brothers & cousins headed by the patriarch – Grandad.  Their concert was fantastic, Ollie loved it too.  He also loved their cooking show, their workshop, and their spontaneous jam in the CD signing tent!  He went up and talked to them, asking them about martial arts (he loves Krav Maga which is an Israeli one), and he got a photo with them. Since being home he has joined their facebook!

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With some of The Aleav Family

Ollie loved all the food stalls and spent hours just wandering around checking everything out.  He loved the buzz, the crowds, the whole feel of the festival and yes, he even loved much of the music!  After his number one choice, (above) he really enjoyed some late night DJ  music and  among others The Correspondents. Check them out below.  Their stage show was wild!  The guy with the Harry Potter glasses danced up a wacky, manic storm like nothing you have ever seen!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZukiRrYROA

I bumped into Ollie now and then but we were rarely altogether back at our  “base camp”.

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Here is a rare moment altogether…..

And what did Charlie do?  Well, within 5 minutes he had the lay of the land sorted out.  He loves maps, so he took off with the map of the site, marked things on it, whizzed around and was set!

Being small he was very zippy.  There was a bunch of kids that made a dust slide on the hill  next to where we were based…

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Charlie loved buzzing around too, off to buy an ice cream, off to the kids area to make a drum or watch a show.  His favourite thing was the inside the beautiful hexagonal tent of the Tibetian Monks.  Here, over the three days, they slowly constructed a coloured sand mandala.

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Here is Charlie in his prime sand watching spot.  He was captivated and it was hard not to be.

Here is the nearly finished Mandala. ….

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Charlie and Henry marching in the parade on the last night,with the instruments they had made.

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The parade was huge and gave the participants a good long march around to much brass and percussion.

The whole festival was as amazing as ever, helped a lot by the incredible venue, in  a gorgeous park surrounded by bush, a natural sloping hill down to the main stage (there were 5) which is situated in a lake. And of course a huge variety of awe inspiring music from all around the globe.

On the last night the Tibetian Monks performed a mandala dissolution ceremony to close WOMAD.  They carefully transported the Mandala down to the main stage on a buggy, then played some beautiful music on traditional instruments while two of the monks carefully swept the mandala sand into the centre using their hands.

Then some of the sand was tipped into the lake.   The Mandala is symbolic of  the non permanance of life and a chance to  practise non attachment.

Charlie and I had come right down to the waters edge for this, the last act.  We sat and watched the monks set up on the stage just across the water. It was  still and warm with a low misty cloud, but no rain.  As the last notes of their music died away after the ceremony and a Karakia (prayer ) was given by a local Kaumatua, the Monks got up and waved goodbye.  A woman behind me started to sing the well known waiata (song) Te Aroha, we joined in and sang our thanks to the monks,  to the organisers, to everyone around us, to all the performers. It was like a big blessing on the beauty of the place, the sentiments and sharing that had gone on at WOMAD .

Te Aroha                            Love
Te whakapono                  Hope/faith
Te Rangimarie                  Peace
Tatou, tatou e                   Be amongst us all

It was the perfect way to sum up our weekend and the way so much great music had touched us all.

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Ollie and Charlie at dusk – we did get a bit of rain on the last day,but not too bad – greatly welcomed here as we have been in drought conditions!

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The main stage just as the light begins to fade.

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The boys and I, needed a flash really, but hard to resist posing on those giant letters!

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