Peter Gabriel fires warning shots over Womad

Peter Gabriel
(Image credit: Darren Gerrish/WireImage - Getty)

Peter Gabriel has warned that his world music festival Womad may have to cancel this year, again citing government inaction over festival insurance as the cause.

Speaking to the BBC, Gabriel said: "Commercial insurance has run a mile, effectively, and you can understand why. So if we're trying to restore cultural life and normality we need a bit of help here. There's too much uncertainty for most festival promoters to take the risk."

Asked by Mishal Husain on Radio 4's Today programme if Womad would have to consider cancelling without insurance, he replied: "I think we have to".

"We've been faced with bankruptcy on two occasions previous[ly] and if we're trying to secure the future of the festival, which is very important to us, and our staff, we can't risk sinking it this year. It is a stressful time."

Womad is scheduled to take place bat Charlton Park House in Malmesbury, Wiltshire between July 22-25, just days after the new date set for lifting of restrictions.

The government, recently criticised by a Parliamentary report which stated they were treating music festivals as "poor relations" stated: "Festival organisers have so far received more than £34 million of our unprecedented £2bn bailout for the arts. Womad... had a £250,000 grant in the first round of funding, and more funding is being made available for those in need.

"We are doing everything we can to get them open and cultural events are included in the next round of bigger test events. We are aware about insurance concerns and looking at this for when live events can open safely and permanently."

In the face of government support for sporting events such as Ascot, Wimbledon and the Euros, Gabriel retorted: "If we're doing these test events and we're doing the Euros or Ascot, let's give the festival sector a chance too. Maybe it's a different sector of the population, but they deserve a go at this as well."

Jerry Ewing

Writer and broadcaster Jerry Ewing is the Editor of Prog Magazine which he founded for Future Publishing in 2009. He grew up in Sydney and began his writing career in London for Metal Forces magazine in 1989. He has since written for Metal Hammer, Maxim, Vox, Stuff and Bizarre magazines, among others. He created and edited Classic Rock Magazine for Dennis Publishing in 1998 and is the author of a variety of books on both music and sport, including Wonderous Stories; A Journey Through The Landscape Of Progressive Rock.