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Peter Gabriel needed government help to break through WOMAD Festival visa issues

Rocker Peter Gabriel had to beg government ministers to help him book acts for this summer's (14) WOMAD Festival in England, because he couldn't obtain work visas for many of the world music stars he had asked to perform.

The Sledgehammer singer, who co-founded record label Real World in a bid to give obscure international musicians the chance to make music and record albums for fans outside their home nations, admits terrorism scares have made it difficult for today's world acts to travel to the U.K. and he had to turn to politicians to help him fill the bill for his annual World of Music & Dance event.


He tells RollingStone.com, "They can't get visas to perform, quite often. So getting the live thing to support them is a lot more complex. Borders have tightened up everywhere, partly with terrorism. But we had Youssou N'Dour, who was almost the Senegalese president, and we still couldn't get visas for his band when he was headlining our WOMAD Festival this year.


"I had to write to government ministers and get help. It's increasingly difficult for world music and world artists. If you're a great musician, a great composer, it shouldn't matter where you're born, or what language you're singing (in) or what instruments you're playing."