Gil Scott-Heron to play WOMAD Festival 2010

Posted: 13th April 2010
WOMAD 2022

"The revolution will not be televised." Nor will WOMAD, which is a shame as that's where you'll be able to see Gil Scott-Heron, the author of that famous maxim, line up this summer alongside other luminaries from world music. You'll have to buy a ticket instead (how old fashioned).

The 60-year-old American - who brings his razor-sharp rap poetry and broad smile to Malmesbury in Wiltshire on Sunday 25 July - has endured some testing times in the last decade. Stints in jail for cocaine possession and subsequent parole violation coupled with strong rumours that he is HIV positive all pointed to an inexorable slide for the Chicago-born 'Godfather of Rap'.

Contrary to expectations, Scott-Heron produced a critically-acclaimed album in 2009, 'I'm New Here', and will break from touring the new material (alongside a bottomless pit of a back catalogue) to line up at the WOMAD Festival. 'GSH' will be joining Malian afro-pop star Salif Keita, the Drummers of Burundi and indigenous Australian superstar Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu, Congolese street musicians Staff Benda Bilili [also playing this year's Glasto - Ed], Jamaican star (and Massive Attack collaborator) Horace Andy, Australian/Anglo institution Rolf Harris and his band and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain.

You can say what you like about world music but performers are never dull and their names are nearly always impossibly difficult to pronounce. WOMAD will be held at Charlton Park in Malmesbury, Wiltshire, from 23 to 25 July 2010. Tickets are on sale now via

'The revolution will not be televised' is a phrase from a time before every festival was shown on 24-hour TV via the red button. So, do yourself a favour and get with the programme.

Stewart Darkin