7 fab local music festivals
Hey music lover! Load up with pear cider (leave the wellies at home, you won't be needing them) and check out the best local music festivals.
Who fancies getting their rocks off at a music festival? ‘Course you do! Our neck of the woods punches above its weight on that front, and many of them are brilliantly family friendly (so maybe not so much getting off of one’s rocks in that case, ahem.) What’s more, unlike Glastonbury which sells out in seven seconds, these local mega-gigs all still have some tickets available, at time of writing at least. So, in chronological order, here’s where you’ll find Muddy decked out in daisy chains, denim hotpants and wellies this summer…
Henley Festival, Henley, Oxon, 5-9 July
Chaka Khan, Pet Shop Boys, ’90s comeback kids All Saints and Goldie (I have a great story about interviewing him on set in the Isle of Man, ask me when I’m drunk and I’ll be deliciously indiscreet) are among the headliners at this year’s bash. There’s also comedy acts, street food, street theatre and art installations. Take note, apart from the Sunday family day, it’s an evening affair and the dress code is black tie – well, this is Henley after all, old bean.
Cornbury Festival, Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, 7-9 July
Sadly, this is Cornbury’s last ever outing, as it bows out of an increasingly crowded festival market after 14 years. Boo! It tends to attract big names and after last year’s set from Bryan Ferry, this year’s Bryan is veteran Canadian rocker, Adams, the Saturday night headliner. An opportunity to howl along to Summer of ’69? We’re in.
PennFest, Penn Street, Bucks, 21-22 July
For a diddy village, Penn Street is a veritable festival force. Now in its 7th year, this summer’s event is ’90s indie-tastic, with Primal Scream, The Charlatans, James and EMF (unbelievable! Geddit?) all on the bill. Plus you can buy a weekend ‘posh loo pass’ for £27 extra – a tempting thought.
Truck Festival, Steventon, Oxon, 21-23 July
Franz Ferdinand, The Vaccines and The Libertines all feature in this year indie-heavy line-up of the stalwart boutique festival (they’ve been going since 1998). In other news, we like the sound of their pre-order booze facility – no more 30 min queues in a sweaty beer tent, yippee. There are some glamping (ie expensive) tickets left, but there will also be a small resale of general weekend tickets at 7pm next Monday, 26 June – see their site for more details.
Wilderness, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, 3-6 August
Bit posh? Then you’ll love Wilderness, which is a lot more genteel than its name suggests. This year’s bash at the idyllic 400 acre country estate includes an outpost of Petersham Nurseries, a long-table banquet cooked by Ottolenghi and talks hosted by Tate Britain and School Of Life. Rock’n’roll! Music-wise, be sure to catch disco diva ne plus ultra Grace Jones – always an utter mentalist when playing live.
The Big Feastival, Kingham, Chipping Norton, Oxon 25-27 Aug
As the name suggests food is at the centre of this festival held on Blur bassist Alex James’ farm, with turns from Rick Stein, Antonio Carluccio, Gizzi Erskine, Candice Brown and, ahem, DJ BBQ (bit of a berk but great recipes). Not forgetting the various food markets, supper clubs, street food stalls and Alex James’ Cheese Hub (does Alex James make cheese? He never mentions it…) There’s music from Madness, Olly Murs and De La Soul and free day tickets for children aged 12 and under.
Towersey Festival, Towersey, Oxon, 25-28 Aug
Start growing your beard for the folk-tastic Towersey, which takes place over the August bank holiday and is now in its 53rd year. Expect turns from KT Tunstall, Newton Faulkner, Eliza McCarthy and Foy Vance (Ed Sheeran’s favourite singer); plus a huge children’s programme which includes a family ceilidh, communal bed time stories and a roller disco.