Every May, what seems like the world's population of travelling music lovers descend on Caceres, brining markets, concerts, food and fashion with them. This annual music and food festival is known as WOMAD, and is one of the most popular Spring music festivals in Spain, all hosted in a fairly small city where normally less than 100,000 people live. 2018 was the 27th edition of this music festival in Caceres, and more than 150,000 people came into the city to see and listen and enjoy and be part of it.
During the three days of music, shows and stalls, the atmosphere in Caceres changes completely. There isn't a similar event during the year, and even events like St George's day or New Year's Eve can compete for sheer crowd pull and energy. The city feels packed (too much for me) and absolutely alive, with thousands of people in the cafes, restaurants and streets. The festival has just taken place as I write this, so for next year you can get ready to visit and spend a few days here. It's well worth booking accommodation quite far in advance, as the city really does get full up during the Womad weekend.
The central tree-lined avenue in Caceres (which I adore) is called Paseo de Canovas, and Canovas is the normal location for everything exciting and social during the year. When the Book Festival comes to Caceres, it's based under the trees of Canovas, and when photography exhibits are erected, it's on Canovas. Womad is no exception., and the stalls, bars and drum bands all set up shop in the shade and dappled sunlight of this long road. In my video below you can see a drumming band that kept up this energy and rhythm and fun for almost an hour, taking suggestions from the crowd, allowing anyone to join in and generally having an amazing time!
More than 30 bands/artists came to Caceres to perform over the three day festival, with separate stages in the central square (Plaza Mayor) and a smaller stage in the Plaza de San Jorge deeper into the old town. It's incredible to hear modern and loud gigs happening while surrounded by medieval walls that have hosted Game of Thrones film crews just a year before. The music tends to be on the relaxed end of the spectrum, with a lot of reggae, pop rock and some electronic music with regional twists. There was an amazing Arabic electronic group that were very different, and really good.
Caceres is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and I've talked about history in Caceres a few times. It's the closest city to Monfrague National Park as well as being a sort of halfway point between the southern coast and Madrid in the middle of the country.
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