The decision follows a meeting with the licensing authority, the combined emergency services and taking fully into account the government advice on halting the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic.
WOMAD founder and Real World Studios owner Peter Gabriel, who lives in Box, said the move had been taken to meet the festival’s goal of protecting the health, safety and wellbeing of the whole WOMAD community.
He added: “Like many others, we have been hoping, waiting and watching the Coronavirus situation. "Finally, we have been told that we will not be allowed to hold WOMAD this year at Charlton Park.
"Safety for all of our festivalgoers, artists and our own staff surpasses everything.
"All of us involved with WOMAD have already been really touched by the help and generous offers of many of those we depend on to make the festival come to life.
"Many of the artists have already offered, or agreed, to play for us next year and we will now put our energies into making a great WOMAD 2021.
"We hope to see you all at Charlton Park next year for a big celebration, when we’ve put this meanie back in the bottle.
"Your love and support for the dream that is WOMAD, has always meant a lot to us, but especially now. Thank you and stay safe.”
Festival director Chris Smith said: “We are all experiencing extraordinary and worrying times - for our families, our friends and our communities but the message that we must remember is that the world is united right now, and we must pull together and show respect to each other.
"Nothing matters more than our responsibility to protect the health, safety and wellbeing of the WOMAD community and through that the wider community in which we live."We must support our emergency services, our neighbours and do all that we can to prevent the spread of this virus."We are devastated to announce that we are unable to proceed with this year’s festival, but comfortable that this is the only responsible decision that we could make to play our part in helping the country to recover."We are grateful for your support and understanding.”
WOMAD has been very fortunate in that they have already completed three festivals this year around the world and planning for WOMAD 2021 is already underway."Ticket holders for WOMAD 2020 can credit this year’s ticket for WOMAD 2021 or are entitled to a full refund.
The same applies to tickets being bought in instalments. These can be either paused and payments picked up again next year for WOMAD 2021 or claim a refund of the face value of the ticket. Festival-goers will be kept as up to date as possible via www.womad.co.uk and social media.