The Muddy Summer Festival Guide: Oxon, Bucks & beyond
I’m a dedicated Glastonbury lover from the *ahem* comfort of my sofa – I had an awesome front row of Chris Martin for starters, and let me tell you, the toilet facilities are way better. But whether you’re a namby-pamby glamper like me or a hardcore roll-in-mud and wet-wipes-at-dawn music-fan, here’s the Muddy Guide to the best festivals due to amp-it-up in Bucks, Oxon and beyond over the next few months. Make some noise! Give it up! Well, you know, after you’ve come back from the prosecco tent.
Henley Festival, Weds 6- Sun 10 July
The Henley Festival is a sell-out every year, and caters to its well-heeled audience perfectly. Only black tie allowed, with a Lanson champagne lawn, restaurants and establishment giants including Elton John, Bryn Terfel with WNO orchestra, Blake with Shirley Bassey and Will Young. Still a few tickets left if you can get your butler to sort it out quickly.
Chilfest, Tring, 8- 9 July
UB40, Aswad, Heather Small (can’t think of her now without Miranda coming to mind) The Human League, Tony Hadley, Nick Kershaw and Altered Images all on the line-up for Chilfet 2016 in Tring, a complete Eighties-fest for those of us who bought the very first Now That’s What I Call Music double album (yes, me too).
Cow Lane, Tring, Herts, chilfest.co.uk
Cornbury Festival, Oxfordshire, 8 – 10 July
Family oriented, eclectic and ever-so-slightly Cotswold-setty, The Cornbury Festival promises music aross 4 stages, a comedy tent, a Festival of Words hosted by QI, a kids area with a complete programme of workshops, fairground, disco shed, a VIP area (for you of course!) and a campsite within the rolling grounds. Jamie Cullum, Soul II Soul, Bryan Ferry and All Saints headline. No sign of Adele as yet, but you can’t have it all.
The Great Tew Park, Oxon, cornburyfestival.com
Into the Wild Festival, Hounslow Hall, Bucks, 15 – 17 July
The third year for this intimate music festival on the Hounslow Hall estate, between a picturesque lake and a forest. The Buzzcocks headline, and there’s glamping on offer too in tents of 2, 4, and 6.
Hounslow Hall Estate, Bucks, intothewildfestival.co.uk
Truck Festival, Hill Farm, Oxfordshire, 15- 17 July
Shortlisted for the ‘Best Small Festival’ by the UK Festival Awards for the last three years, the small, independent Truck festival is held on a working farm, and makes use of the, er, amenities at hand by having venues in cow sheds etc! It sounds very eclectic with a mix of metal, emo, punk, folk and hardcore during the day and dance music at night. All profits go to charity.
PennFest, Penn, Bucks, 22 – 23 July
The tiny village of Penn Street in Buckinghamshire holds its sixth family friendly music festival with camping later this month, with an eclectic line-up including Dizee Rascal, Rizzle Kicks, Ocean Colour Scene, De La Soul, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and The Lightning Seeds. Looks like a goodie.
The Big Park, Penn, Bucks, pennfest.net
Wilderness, Cornbury Park, 4 – 7 Aug
The most reverred of the Oxfordshire festivals, Wilderness returns this summer with music, long-table banquets, woodland parties, theatre, film, dance, pop up spa (well, we are in Oxfordshire) and if the other year is anything to go by, mermaids in the water. I kid you not. Robert Plant headlines, along with The Flaming Lips, Goldie and Parov Stelar with the banquetting hosted by Raymond Blanc, Skye Gyngell and Virgilio Martínez, plus some other awesome stuff from Ronnie Scott’s, Sadler’s Wells, Old Vic, Rambert, The School of Life, V&A, Storystock. Totally worth your money if you can make the most of whats’ on offer.
Cornbury Park, Oxon, wildernessfestival.com
Supernormal, Braziers Park, Oxford, 5 – 7 August
Supernormal is a three-day, experimental arts and music festival – deliberately small at 1500 people, held at the lovely Braziers Park, an eco-site with fresh running water, eco toilets and hot outdoor showers set within a wooded camping area.
Towersey Festival, Thame, 26 – 29 Aug
Towersey Festival is superlocal to me and has a lovely reputation for being family friendly. This year it’s Billy Bragg, Kate Rusby, The Wonder Stuff, Midge Ure and Tom Robinson providing the music, with day or camping passes, and a massive children’s offering too.
Latitude, Suffolk, 14 – 17 July
The brilliant Latitude returns with The Maccabees and New Order headlining and dozens of other great acts. Everything on offer here from a dedicated comedy tent, dance, cabaret, theatre, storytelling, literature, an Inbetweener’s Stage for kids 12+ (great idea), and a dedicated kids’ area and family camping zone, plus ith its own schedule of activities. Awesome.
Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, latitudefestival.com
Secret Garden Party, Cambridge, 21-24 July