The workshop provides young people with the opportunity to interact with artists who are a regular feature at the different Womad festivals around the world. Image Credit: Abdel-Krim Kallouche/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Festival goers to the third edition of World of Music, Art and Dance (Womad) Abu Dhabi were once again spoilt for choice, especially the younger visitors who had a range of workshops, activities and events to choose from.

Womad Abu Dhabi began on Thursday and will end tonight. It was organised by the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH). The festival is taking place in both the Abu Dhabi Corniche and the Al Jahili Fort in Al Ain.

"The workshops are amazing. I had a lot of fun creating my camel [head dress]...it only took 15 minutes...we were told to choose between a camel or a palm tree, I chose the camel because it looked like it would be more fun to do. Hopefully, I'll come back and create something else before the festival ends," Rawand Khalid Taha, a Jordanian who is a sixth grade pupil at the International Community School, said.

Her sister Rameem, a second grade pupil at the same school, also participated in the workshop. The Children's Workshop provides younger festival goers with the opportunity to interact with artists who are a regular feature at the different Womad festivals around the world, along with UAE- based artists. For this edition, the groups are: Taking Shape, Dot to Dot, Malarky and artist David Cox, all from the UK, and Nisreen Simrin from the UAE. A henna artist is also on hand to create intricate designs throughout the three-day event.

Positive feedback

Cox, who has participated in Womad since 1986 said this is the first time he has participated in the Abu Dhabi version. "So far, we've received positive feedback about our workshop. We're creating small hand rattles using cardboard and beads, which we sourced here, as well as sticks which we brought from the UK."

He has also been part of another version of the festival. "We also participated in the festival's Womad Beyond programme. That was a wonderful experience, the pupils were all very responsive and we had a lot of fun creating items with them," he said.

In addition to rattles, camel head dresses and palm trees, children can also create falcon hats, blankets, flags and help construct a large cobra. The items will then be displayed during a parade on the Corniche tonight at 7.15pm.

UK animated film production

Festival goers can also enjoy a short animated film created by UK artist David Cox in collaboration with filmmaker and animator Ben Dowden, photographer Rufus Cox, DJ/producer Mr Benn and art assistant Julius Cox.

The film incorporates pupils from various Abu Dhabi schools showcasing their creations set to the music of Jamaican Ska and Reggae, which are David's musical influences.

"It was a challenge fitting in as many pupils as possible into the film because five schools... of the children will receive all the material we shot," Dowden said.