Twenty years in the making and bigger than ever Rhythms of the World welcomes the planet to Hitchin this weekend.

Over 30,000 people are expected in the rolling grounds of The Priory for the twentieth festival of roots music over Saturday and Sunday when more than 140 bands from across the globe will play.

In the final run up to the festival the man responsible for booking all the acts, Steve Smither, tells Venue who he is really exited about seeing.

“So another festival rolls around and I get to put the amazing acts I’ve discovered on stage in front of the Rhythms of the World audience.

“It’s difficult to pick out just a few highlights with so many interesting and diverse performances on offer but the ones I’m particularly excited to have at the festival this year are: “Raghu Dixit, our Saturday headline act, blends Indian tradition with western influences to create a truly memorable performance, as witnessed by this year’s Glastonbury audience. “Ska Cubano mix Ska and Cuban beats and are guaranteed to end the festival with one of the biggest parties we’ve ever witnessed.

“Kanda Bongo Man, a world music veteran who created his own unique style.

“C W Stoneking, who just has to be witnessed, with tunes rooted in 20’s New Orleans. He truly is a magical performer and he’s sure to be a crowd favourite.

“Jim Moray has a very interesting take on the interpretation of traditional folk music. He will appeal to the whole audience, even those who don’t like folk.

“It’s a real coup and privilege to have The Subways playing for us, since Billy guested with The Dodge Brothers at last year’s festival we’ve been working behind the scenes to make this happen and it promises to be a special performance.

“And of course The Selecter, the Two Tone legends who will have the crowds bouncing along to their ska beats.

“I’m also really pleased we’ve been able to introduce the new Icehouse Stage which will open up opportunities to a different style of performer.

“Sunday has a couple of themes running through the day. We’ve carefully sequenced the programme so that folk fans can start with Sam Lee at 3.15pm, then enjoy continuous folk performances across the stages up to Megson who headline St Mary’s Stage at 8pm.

“We also have a focus on youth, with all three of the largest stages at the festival commencing with youth performers and the theme continues on the Icehouse Stage where the whole day’s programme is dedicated to young people performing.”