RECORD crowds basked in the sunshine and enjoyed music from around the globe at WOMAD.

Organisers said it was the first time the festival had sold out since it moved from Reading in 2007.

Director Chris Smith added that it had been one of the best ever.

He said: “It is a very successful year. A lot of hard work goes into the festival and nationally we are quite unique. There is no other festival like us.

“It is the audience that makes the festival, they have played their part.

“We have a great relationship with the local community and the town. It raises the profile of Wiltshire and Malmesbury.”

Musical representation from Malmesbury residents came in the shape of Stefano Vandelli, who performed with his group the Batch Gueye Band and Tristan Cork who played an open-mic slot at Molly's Bar to the delight of local folk.

Stefano said: “It is extremely fun. For me as a resident of Malmesbury having this festival here every year is great as it has always been a very important event in the musical year.”

“It has been an amazing experience and I am looking forward to next year.”

The group's lead singer, Batch Gueye said they had gone down very well with the crowds and that WOMAD this year had been wonderful due to the weather and friendly people.

Grace Kettlety,10, from Malmesbury, who was there with her mother Amanda said: “It is very colourful and musical. I have liked going into the shops.

She added: "We are going to come back again and hopefully we will camp next year.”

Among the performers at the four-day festival were New Zealand reggae-soul maestrosFat Freddy’s Drop, who played to a packed out crowd in the festival’s Siam Tent and popular West African act Les Ambassadeurs.

Malmesbury schoolchildren rocked the festival with a reggae-themed show opener on Thursday night.

Pupils from the senior school, along with Minety, Lea and Garsden, Brinkworth and Malmesbury Primary, took to the open air stage at Charlton Park with Bristol-based group the AMJ Collective in an energetic display of music and dance for an appreciative audience.

Sinead O’Connor, a last minute replacement for Bobby Womack, played a lengthy set to close the festival which included her 1990 smash-hit song Nothing Compares 2 U.

Turn to page 15 for more pictures.