Cornbury Music Festival Review
I’ve been to all sorts of festivals – from the dirty (V Festival, your toilets were a disgrace) to the cultured (waves to Festival Number 6) but I had never been to Cornbury Festival in Oxfordshire before, so I jumped at the chance to go down there and check it out last weekend.
We parked up in the car park which was right next to the camp site. We opted for the quieter site because festival camping I’m middle aged and like sleep! The first thing we noticed about Cornbury was the helpfulness of the stewards. From a ticket query to car park directions to genuine offers of help with your camping stuff, nothing seemed too much trouble for any of them.
Let’s talk toilets- the thing which put so many people off festivals. I’ve seen the vile
‘pyramids of poo’ at V Fest and held my breath at Glastonbury. But these were possible the best festival loos. All chemical (which I hate) but they were spotlessly clean and the chemical actually smelled like almonds! There were warm showers in the campsites too- I was clean all weekend, and not in a baby wipe kinda way. I can’t tell you how happy that made me!
Our campsite also had a Café Nerro in it – they were one of the main sponsors. So while many campers took stoves and enjoyed bacon butties, I started each day with a hot chocolate and a pastry; most civilised! It also helped that they opened early before many of the other traders on site. I struggled to sleep in later than 7am so couldn’t wait too long for brekkie.
It’s a compact site- you can walk around the whole thing in about half an hour. The Pleasant Valley Stage is the main stage, with the Songbird stage the second one- these were the main stages. Then you have the Riverside which was mainly local band and tribute acts, the Café Nerro Stage and a campsite tent for late night entertainment.
There was loads to do if you had kids with you so keeping them entertained shouldn’t be a problem.
There were loads of eating options and I am always heartened that festival food is so good these days!
On the main campsite there was a great place called The Breakfast Club – basically bacon in many forms. On our first night we enjoyed a really hearty breakfast burrito.
Bahatti Wraps were worthy of a repeat visit. Beautifully marinated chicken cooked in the tandoor and wrapped in flatbread. Full of flavour and some all important salad! French foodies La Grande Bouffe served a very respectable sausage baguette with herby sauce (too thin to call gravy sorry folks!) and light and crispy tempura prawns from The Seacow. Between us we also enjoyed Goan fish curry, fresh smoothies, salt marsh lamb and hog roast. So yeah, we ate probably too well all weekend!
A great facility was the charity Frank Water. Once off the campsite I struggled to find drinking water but Frank offered filtered water refills in either your own water bottle or one of theirs for a one off price (£3.50 as I had my own bottle). It was really hot so it meant that I was drinking litres of water because I would fill up every time I passed them. A great service I hope to see at more festivals and doing the world of good for people who don’t have access to fresh drinking water across India.
We saw loads- in fact the way the main two stages were timed meant that we could have seen at least some of every single act on them had we wanted to.
Wondering around a still quiet site on Friday morning we stopped off in the Caffè Nero stage and a singer called Leddra was just starting one of the first set of the day. She has a lovely dreamy voice perfect for a morning slot, to wake everyone up gently. Her set was one of the great finds of the weekend, and we’ve since found that she has a gig in Salford in autumn so are planning to see her again.
After that over on the main stage were Liverpool band The Hummingbirds The programme called them folk, but while I wouldn’t have said they had a particularly folky vibe
there were some country riffs in there and they were markedly different from the indie norm- and all the better for it. We hung around for The Lottery Winners because they are from Leigh where we live so thought it would be rude not to! The northern monkey shtick from the lead singer was a bit much for me but they have some decent tunes and a record deal from Warner Brothers so it looks like they are going places.
Friday also saw us getting down to The Beat who were awesome, dropping in on Dolly’s sister Stella Parton and reliving my youth with Soul II Soul which I loved.
On Saturday we started with another brilliant female vocalist Hannah Grace, a pretty epic Turin Breaks set, a welcome return from Corrine Bailey Ray and, well, a return from All Saints. Great tunes, but not such a great live sound. Brian Ferry was brilliant – it started a bit sombre but he soon had everyone on their feet.
Sadly on Sunday we had to leave late afternoon but we managed to get in sets from Charlie Cunningham who had an amazing Spanish guitar style, musical theatre come bluegrass musician Ramin, The Zombies, Newton Faulkner and The Shires.
If you are looking for a chilled out way to enjoy a weekend of live music in a beautiful setting, or perhaps you’ve never been to a festival and want to dip your toe in and see if you’d like it, then Cornbury is for you.
Here’s a few extra photo’s I took over the weekend.
Thank you so much to The Family Clan and Cornbury for letting me review the festival for you!
Guest post from Claire at GoodEggFoodie.com