Wychwood, Cheltenham’s most loved family festival reveal their second wave of incredible names for 2024. Growing in size and reputation year on year for great music programming, hilarious comedians, 100’s of workshops, children’s entertainment, it’s a feast of activities to entertain all ages across the weekend!
“Wychwood has something for everyone” – METRO
“It’s easy to see why Wychwood has notched up consecutive nominations for the best family music festival around” – The i
“Perfect family-friendly festival” – Daily Mirror
Sister Sledge will headline Friday Night. Hailing from Philadelphia, sisters Debbie, Joni, Kathy and Kim became household names and a symbol of unity with their 1979 world-wide hit and iconic album ‘We are Family’. The multi-lead vocal group are responsible for some of the biggest dance anthems of all time. Lost in Music, He’s the Greatest Dancer and Thinking of You are universally cherished songs that bring people together in love, life and soulful groove.
The Coral will join Texas on Saturday. Emerging during the early 2000’s, their eponymously titled 2002 debut album was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and listed in the top 5 albums of the year by NME. Their second album, Magic and Medicine produced four UK Top 20 singles, including the festival anthem Pass It On. The band recently released to much critical acclaim, two albums of 60s-soaked psych-folk Sea Of Mirrors and Holy Joe’s Coral Island Medicine Show.
Festival favourite Seth Lakeman will be joining the bands on the main stage on Sunday. Celebrating 20 years since the release of Kitty Jay, the album that marked Seth’s pioneering musical journey, bringing folk music to a new, younger audience, paving the way for the brilliant array of folk artists populating the mainstream music space today.
CBBC’s Hacker T Dog & Katie Thistleton will kick Sunday proceedings off on the Main Stage with a chance for meet and greets after the show. The multiple BAFTA award nominated Hacker T Dog is now the longest serving CBBC presenter EVER, having been at the channel for more than 14 years. Now teamed up with BBC Radio 1 host, and former CBBC co-presenter Katie Thistleton, for his first ever DJ show! Fans can expect the biggest party anthems and the greatest children’s television themes of all time, as him and Katie take to the decks
Grammy-winning singer/songwriter Corinne Bailey Rae completes the Friday main stage music line up. The festival’s new music offering on the revamped Garden Stage for 2024 extends to Lime Garden on Friday night along with local artists Devon and Jo Hill. Melin Meylin & Brogeal join the Sunday line up. Award winning stand up comedian and writer Shazia Mirza, well-known for her appearances on BBC’s Have I Got News For You joins the Friday night late-night comedy line up.
Already announced – Texas, will headline Saturday 1st June. Led by front woman Sharleen Spiteri they have produced ten studio albums selling over 40 millions records worldwide and last year released The Very Best Of 1989 – 2023 ahead of their triumphant Glastonbury Pyramid Stage 2023 performance.
Hugely popular, enduring indie favourites, Ocean Colour Scene will headline Sunday 3rd June. They lit up the Britpop party in the mid-90’s chalking up three Top 5 albums and seventeen Top 40 singles including the immortal ‘The River Boat Song’.
Other acts across the weekend include; Seasick Steve, Lightning Seeds, The Bootleg Beatles, Stornoway, Peter Hook & The Light, Kevin Rowland’s Dexy’s (formerly Dexy’s Midnight Runners) The Feeling, multi-platinum selling pop band The Hoosiers, Sunderland Punk quartet The Futureheads, Scottish powerhouse Callum Beattie, fan favourites Thrill Collins, comedian Marcus Brigstocke and Mr Motivator who will be back for the ultimate main stage Saturday morning workout .
2024 sees the second year return of the much loved Howlin’ Pete’s venue which houses some of the biggest parties and activities across the weekend. Including the return of the ever popular Barrioke feat Shaun Williamson, NOASIS, Junior Jungle, Hip Hop Karaoke and The Daniel Wakeford Experience.
Wychwood will present more than 100 activities and workshops for families of all ages across the weekend Now on a new and improved site at Cheltenham Racecourse, Early Bird, Tier 1 and Tier 2 tickets have already sold out. Tier 4 tickets start at just £159.50 + bf for Adults and £79.50 for children aged 10 – 15. Children under 10 go free.
“The best festival for families.” THE INDEPENDENT
Tickets for Wychwood Festival 31st May – 2nd June 2024 are available here Day and Weekend tickets available from: https://wychwoodfestival.com
Cheltenham is renowned for the annual Cheltenham Festival which takes place in the Cotswold town every March, but for one weekend in June Wychwood Festival brings in the crowds for an altogether equine-free event but that won’t stop this reviewer from shoehorning in references to horse racing with gusto!
Wychwood Festival is regularly nominated for Best Family Friendly festival and the difference between the punters that descend on the town for race week and Wychwood couldn’t be more marked…especially in the fashion stakes as the flat caps and tweed suits were replaced with bucket hats and Hawaiian shirts.
The festival had a new home within the racecourse this year, bringing the camp site closer to the arena, making the walk between tent and stage much shorter. As a Cheltenham native and yet to my shame a Wychwood first-timer, I decided to walk to site. This turned out to be a LOT further than I’d anticipated, taking about an hour from town to the northern edge of the racecourse!
For anyone not driving to site, the local D bus service runs from the train station, through the town centre and out to the park and ride at the racecourse. From there its approximately 30 minutes-canter through the grounds up to the campsite entrance. On arrival there were plenty of volunteers pointing the way and greeting with smiling faces so you’re never far from help.
With the first acts to the post not scheduled until 2pm, I went for a wander around the festival site to get my bearings and find out what Wychwood has in store. First things first, the setting is pretty stunning. Cleeve Hill, the highest point of the Cotswold Hills, makes an amazing backdrop to the festival and in the other direction, the Malvern Hills stretched out in the distance. As locations for festivals go, this is top notch!
The site is well laid out, with the main stage at the far end of the arena. Most of the catering options, more of which later, are in the middle of the site, flanked by fair rides and with bars both sides – including a VIP area which guests can upgrade their tickets to access.
Aside from the music, there are activities galore at Wychwood. Workshops teaching visitors all manner of new skills from playing the Ukulele, to circus skills and magic – as well as the Makers tent full of artists selling handmade items as well as giving pottery lessons and the chance to make art using fabric cut offs with local maker Jen from All Agog.
While having a look at the merch tent it became clear there’d been a bit of a mix up as Saturday night headliners Travis’ merch was on sale ahead of Friday’s closing act The Happy Mondays. This was soon fixed though. Disappointingly the largest size of the official festival T-Shirt was XL, but the bright yellow shirts were proving popular with a lot of guests as were the lanyards with set times on which were definitely useful with such a busy schedule.
It wasn’t just the festival merch on show though, as festival goers strutted their stuff in butterfly wings, capes, bandanas, silver cowboy boots, stripy leotards, glitter and sequins as far as the eye could see. Sunscreen was also very much the order of the day, with 20 degree heat and bright sun all weekend while shaded spots were greeted like old friends or an oasis in the desert.
Friday’s main stage music kicked off with local family act, The Pop Tarts, whose set of popular covers and sweet harmonies launched the festival into the weekend, playing a set later in the evening too.
On The Garden Stage, indie band China Bears brought their melancholic sound to the tent. Citing influences such as The National and Frightened Rabbit, the frenetic drumming and energetic front man caught the crowd’s attention playing songs from 2022 release ‘All That Distance’. Oxford’s Still Pigeon followed on the main stage playing a clean sounding electro pop, including a sweet version of Blink 182’s ‘Miss You’
By now my tummy was rumbling and I set to finding some lunch. With something for everyone the food options were pretty excellent. Obviously festival prices were in play, but that’s to be expected and the quality of the food was really good. I settled on a Tempura Crab Burger with homemade slaw from The Crab Shack which was delicious. Seating at the festival was a bit limited though, with most people bringing their own chairs on site, so I ate on the go.
With my tastebuds and stomach sated I headed back to the mainstage for The Beat’s set. Their up-tempo ska sound perfectly soundtracking the bright sunny afternoon Cheltenham was putting on for us. The band had people dancing from the off and with their vast repertoire they kept the Wychwood crowd moving for the duration of their slot.
Back on The Garden Stage, London-based duo Berne brought dreamy electro songs to the shade seeking audience. During eco-anthem ‘Stay’ Deborah Borg Brincat’s dramatic, soaring vocal fills the tent as she explains the song is about “asking the planet to stay around for a bit longer”.
The first Brit Pop icons of the festival, Republica, were next up on the main stage and ripped through an energetic set fronted by the irrepressible Saffron. Mixing in the massive singles ‘Drop Dead Gorgeous’, ‘From Rush Hour with Love’ and anthemic ‘Ready to Go’ the group played some new material, including ‘New York’ with a Nile Rogers-like riff underpinning the funky return to form.
At 6:30 and with the sun bathing the stage, reggae act The Dualers came out to keep the good times going and announcing that “There is no water that can put out this fire”. Thankfully there were plenty of water points on site to refill bottles and stay hydrated in the heat!
Over at Howlin’ Pete’s, RuPaul royalty Vinegar Strokes took to the stage with The Morning Afters to bring their fun, upbeat and all kinds of sassy sounds to the packed-out tent. Closing with a huge cover of Lizzo’s Juice, Vinegar Strokes served up the party vibes to prepare for the next act in the tent…Barry from EastEnders aka Shaun Williamson with Barrioke!
The tent was absolutely rammed with fans joining in the karaoke session, including a deafening rendition of ‘Sweet Caroline’ to close out the slot.
Main stage action continued with Northern Ireland’s punk rockers Ash who managed to blow up a bass amp with their set list of classic after classic, including ‘Girl From Mars’, ‘Burn Baby Burn’ and ‘Shining Light’. On the subject of light, with the sun now at eye level to frontman Tim Wheeler, he remarked that when he’s asked for a review of the festival he’ll reply “It was blinding!”.
A huge crowd formed for Friday night’s headliners The Happy Mondays as they brought day one to a close. Rowetta’s incredible vocals filled up the evening air as the sun went down behind the Malverns. Shaun Ryder was an honest frontman, stating “I’ve come on stage needing a wee so, if I leave, you know where I’ve gone!” after arriving a little later than anticipated. Rattling through their extensive back catalogue including ‘Kinky Afro’, ’24 Hour Party People’ and ‘Step On’ the group gave the people what they wanted with their Madchester anthems to make for a perfect finish to day one.
As I retire for the night, the sound of the Silent Disco (oxymoronic I know but IYKYK) fades into the distance and day one is complete.
DAY TWO – SATURDAY
Saturday morning arrives and living legend Mr Motivator is leading an assembled throng through a mid-morning work out routine to get the blood pumping ahead of a bumper day. Credit where it’s due to the more than a few bleary-eyed participants regretting that last visit to the bar the night before! Not content with getting people moving, Mr Motivator ended his set with a, well, motivational speech and encouraging the crowd to love themselves and to keep moving before taking pictures and chatting with fans still assembled at the front, including one man in a leotard harking back to the main man’s GMTV days!
The festival site was much busier today as Saturday day ticket holders descended on the racecourse. The vendors around the site enjoyed queues for ice creams, food, drinks and even hats with the sun continuing to beat down making the going at the racecourse firm if anything.
Maella followed Mr. Motivator on the main stage next with their atmospheric rock. Front woman Maella from Prague prowled the stage all charisma and incredible cowboy boots, singing with her sultry tone and encouraging the crowd to check out her music on streaming services with a handy spelling tip “It’s like Paella but with an M!”.
Back to The Garden Stage and the intriguing Syren Belly Dancers who dance to alternative hits covering bands as diverse as Korn and Massive Attack in their performance. The tent is packed and more than a few metal heads got their fill of the heavier music from their captivating performance.
Indie act Dancehall kicked off with an energetic early afternoon slot, but the fatigue from dancing to Mr Motivator had clearly kicked in and attempts to get the crowd to get more involved fell flat. They left the stage with a few minutes left of their slot, I assume to find something tasty for lunch.
Which is what I did next and went all in on a delicious sushi tapas style dish which I upgraded to a meat option for an additional £2. At £17 in total it was pretty steep, but very tasty and definitely drew some envious glances from friends. It was nice to have so many options to choose from, beyond burgers and so on, and there had been a real commitment to meeting people’s dietary requirements too with vegan and gluten free options widely available.
Swansea four-piece French Alps Tiger were next up in The Garden stage tent. Playing through songs from their debut EP ‘Switch Off All the Time’ the group were the most current sounding band of the weekend yet. Tight, relentless guitars and a pulsing drumbeat that would probably be diagnosed as tachycardic if found in a human were the order of the day and it went down well with the audience.
A palpable buzz was building around the Main Stage for the late afternoon slot featuring Scouting for Girls. Masses of people turned out for them as they emerged to an adoring crowd with the James Bond theme playing over the PA. Dab hands on the live scene, Roy Stride got the crowd going immediately, leading them in jumping, clapping, singing and ticking all the boxes you’d expect from crowd participation bingo. One that would have definitely not come up on the bingo card is Stride’s wife calling him during the set. He called her back and explained that he was on stage before the frontman’s daughter took over the phone and the crowd hollered “Hi Rosie!” to greet her.
Playing all the hits including ‘Posh Girls’, ‘Heartbeat’ and ‘She’s So Lovely’ they also covered Busted’s ‘Year 3000’ and ‘Stacy’s Mom’. The ‘James Bond’ stars definitely have a licence to thrill!
The Wychwood dial was now turned up to relentless and next on stage was Heather Small of M.People. Her huge disco songs and absolutely incredible voice lifted the crowd further still, with hits including ‘One Night in Heaven’, ‘Sight for Sore Eyes’, ‘Movin’ On Up” and ‘Search for the Hero’ A seriously impressive performance from a total pro.
In the welcome shade of Howlin’ Pete’s something epic was lurking – Sambaoke. The premise is simple, a samba band plays along to a karaoke track and the crowd performs. The execution was anything but simple…the crowd absolutely loved them and danced along to samba versions of songs such as Bowie’s ‘Let’s Dance’, Toto’s ‘Africa’ and John Farnham’s ‘You’re the Voice’ while belting out the words with much gusto.
Brit Pop survivors Sleeper returned to the festival circuit on the main stage playing to an excitable crowd filled with fans from the band’s 90’s heyday. Frontwoman Louise Wener cut about the stage in her bright green ‘Rock Hag’ t-shirt, a nod to her ‘Another Female Fronted Band’ tee from back in the day while checking in to see if people had got their sunblock on and then playing ‘Factor 41’ (for the record it was definitely a Factor 30 and up kind of weekend!). The band then performed their excellent cover of Atomic’s ‘Blondie’ and mashing it up with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and closing their set with a euphoric version of ‘Sale of the Century’.
Back onto the horse racing parlance and one band that definitely has staying power is The Proclaimers. With over 30 years of performing behind them, twins Craig and Charlie Reid were almost certainly pleased that Cheltenham is only 323 miles from Leith, leaving plenty enough in the tank to give a rip-roaring performance.
Kicking off with recent release ‘Dentures Out’, the Scottish band flew through a 20-song set that was chock full of anthems. A particularly beautiful version of ‘Sunshine on Leith’ fitted the setting perfectly as day shifted towards night, with couples dancing, people swaying and even the odd tear on show – it was a performance heavy on feelings. The main feeling for set closer ‘I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)’ was that of giddy joy as the audience bellowed back the band’s most famous number and set the tone for the night’s headliners Travis.
Fellow Scots Travis headlined Saturday night and brought along an arsenal of hits as well as Fran Healy’s stories of growing up watching horse racing at Cheltenham on the TV with his Granddad and so having his mind blown that the racecourse had a hill in it.
Last year marked the 20th Anniversary of the band’s The Invisible Band release and they kicked off proceedings with ‘Sing’ before effortlessly switching between their impressive back catalogue covering all eras of the band. Fran explained that his physics teacher at school had inspired the song ‘Side’ and while he didn’t learn much in the class, that influence has served him well since…even if he forgot to turn his guitar on to start the song much to bassist Dougie Payne’s enjoyment “That’s Physics” he suggested, “Touche” replied Healy.
The last song on the setlist for the night was ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’ and thankfully the weather held off adding any sort of poetic addition and the night sky was clear with a huge full moon and Venus on show. Encouraging the audience to join in with “Total audience participation” to jump along to the song, Healy did request that no lawsuits were submitted should anyone get injured but it looked like the main cause of pain would have been in people’s cheeks from smiling so hard through the banger of a set.
Eking out the last of Saturday night and huddling for warmth in The Garden stage, revellers were given a treat by comedian Mark Watson who had the assembled audience in stitches with his own unique brand of frantic beffudlement. Watson was appalled that people were still around, with the temperature dropping he said “No-one should be on this site right now, it’s not fun anymore” and that he didn’t blame people for leaving. His hilarious set covered subjects from the pandemic (clapping for hauliers), how left handers’ plackards at protests are all smudged and checking on his son’s internet search history before threatening to enter people’s tents using the codeword ‘Bacon’ later in the evening.
By this point I realised I hadn’t eaten since much earlier in the day and sought out sustenance. Enter ‘Oh Babu’ Indian street food and a frankly amazing wrap (with extra spice to warm up) which was only £12 and very filling.
The silent disco in Howlin’ Pete’s once again drew in the crowds for the last of the evening before they made their way home, whether the short walk to the campsite or a slightly longer walk out to the drop off points, but either way full to the brim with festival good vibes.
DAY THREE – SUNDAY
The final day started much the same as the others, with searing heat and the scent of suncream in the air.
The heat didn’t put off Sambistas, the Bristol-based samba collective, as they took guests through a samba workshop. Not content with filling their tent with dancing and music, the group paraded around the festival site to serenade the crowds with their up tempo beats to fill the Mr Motivator shaped hole in the day’s schedule.
Over in the cinema tent ‘Lyle, Lyle Crocodile’ was keeping the kids entertained, as were readings from authors in the Storybox tent. The tent had books available to buy, some signed by the authors, and all manner of fun board games to keep the young and older alike entertained.
Kicking off the music at 11:30am was Newcastle’s Lauren Amour, performing at her first festival of the summer. The up and coming popstar has over 380,000 followers on TikTok and her chart friendly pop music was a great start to the day with unrequited love bop ‘Friendzone’ a stand out.
Beware of Leopards followed next and had a QR code on stage for the audience to scan. My phone wouldn’t work so I couldn’t tell you what the link led to but I like to think it was a tutorial on how to avoid being a victim of a Leopard attack…or their music, either or. Despite an initial tech issue the band got stuck into their ear-friendly indie rock. At one point they covered The Killers’ ‘When You Were Young’ causing one confused punter to ask if they could check my lanyard to see who was playing as he was sure he hadn’t seen Brandon Flowers et al on the bill. Suitably reassured we went our separate ways.
The Mountainside tent featured a rap workshop hosted by local performers Robin Hood-Shaw and JPDL and encouraged children to try their hand at rap music. If Cheltenham emerges as a rap heartland in the future then Wychwood started it.
On to lunch and today the Schnitzel wagon caught my eye with their buffalo wings and goodness me did they deliver! For a mere £7 I was handed a tray brimming with delicious wings in a spicy sauce. What I did realise was that eating wings was not the most festival friendly decision I made over the weekend and had to repeatedly wash my hands to remove all that delicious, sticky sauce.
Feeling fresh and clean I went over to The Garden stage to see Wurlitzer. The Birmingham-based sextuplet bounced on stage in brightly coloured jumpsuits (which were hastily removed at the end of the set) and tunes to match the look. Wurlitzer were a personal highlight for me, playing their first festival they didn’t look in the slightest bit unnerved and zipped through an upbeat set including the super energetic ‘Origami’, lo-sodium lament ‘Sodium’, the vegetable saluting ‘Eat Your Greens’ and the entirely danceable ‘Sumbody’. The band also unleashed the first public sighting of a cowbell of the weekend, which is always a thrill. You could hear elements of Architecture in Helsinki and Los Campesinos! in their sound, along with a perfectly interwoven bassline from The Knack’s ‘My Sharona’ at one point. First festival this may have been, it won’t be their last so if you get the chance to see them do!
Back to the Main Stage and Electric Swing Circus took to the stage with their lively swing sound and causing a mass outbreak of swing dancing couples in the audience. While swing isn’t my cup of tea it never fails to please festival crowds and was met with rapturous applause and out of breath cheers.
Nipping to The Garden Stage for a bit more shade and this reviewer appointed ‘Most Stylish Band at Wychwood’ London-based Preen came onto the stage starting with a song called ‘English Sun’. Their gorgeous, layered harmonies worked beautifully and stand out ‘The Last Act (Goodbye)’ was a real treat. Most interesting inspiration for a song of the weekend was an as yet untitled song about Jane Barber who was the voice behind voicemails, leading to a spoken word tribute “please hang up and try again” in the middle of the song.
Next up were Toploader and long gone were frontman Joseph Washbourn’s curly locks, replaced with a slick looking blonde do. What remained was their ability to command a crowd and a huge amount of self-awareness when announcing the next song was about a moon “No not that one, obviously. We’ve seen what happens when we play it early!”. It was in fact a joyous cover (unless you’re under 30 and Joe “definitely wrote it…”) of The Waterboys’ ‘Whole of the Moon’. The band’s set was full of upbeat, soulful songs and encouraged crowd participation. Ahead of a raucous ‘Just Hold On’ the singer called it a “Song of hope” and remarking that it a Sunday at a festival “doesn’t get better than this”. Bringing the set to a close the band brought out their biggest hit to date with ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’ and had the whole of Wychwood singing along.
Unluckily for Wings of Desire they were scheduled at the same time as Cheltenham favourites and 13-time Wychwooders Thrill Collins and the numbers in the tent didn’t do justice to their synth and bass heavy indie. There are elements of all sorts of great bands from the early 2000’s, including LCD Soundsystem, Secret Machines and The Teenagers in their tracks and with single ‘Choose A Life’ featuring on EA Sports’ FIFA 2023 official soundtrack they’re bound for big things.
Speaking of Thrill Collins…wow! While they are a covers band they aren’t just ANY covers band. The Cheltenham-based trio plough through hit after hit with their own inimitable style which has made them such a crowd favourite over the years. Despite a very tongue in cheek claim to have written ‘Barbie Girl’ over two afternoons, frontman Andrew Lansley, Cajon player Peter Harper and Andrew Lansley on double bass make the songs their own throughout the set – this despite a bloodied knee for Lansley. The band’s patter is well rehearsed and well received, from denying any legal responsibility for anyone falling over attempting the lift from Dirty Dancing’s ‘Time of My Life’ to thanking fellow nerds for recognising the Cantina Band theme from Star Wars. They’re a slick act and end with a UK garage mash up and the rebellious scream of “Don’t go home until they make you!”.
A quick refuel was needed and the wafting scent of Raclette cheese finally lured me in for the most amazing macaroni cheese. Thankfully there was no time for the highly plausible carb-coma and it was time for total, certified legends Soul II Soul to take to the stage.
Counting 11 microphones on the stage it was clear we were in for a performance and sure enough they came, they saw and they conquered. Jazzie B took the assembled audience on a trip down memory lane, revisiting the late 80’s through an incredible cover of Prince’s (or Sinead O’Connor) ‘Nothing Compares 2 U’ followed by ‘Keep On Movin’’. Closing out their set with the absolutely iconic track ‘Back to Life’, Soul II Soul reaffirmed their legendary status with a crowd pleasing show.
Coming into the final straight of the festival and with the golden hour delivering Melanie C emerged on stage in a blue and white tracksuit. This lasted all of one song before she was down to her signature look with sports bra and abs that made more than few in the audience green with envy.
Her setlist was littered with hits, some of which I’d forgotten all about, but had members of the crowd singing along and shouting “We love you” throughout the show. The artist formerly known as Sporty Spice dedicated Northern Star to all the mothers in the audience, and a rip-roaring rendition of her duet with Bryan Adams ‘When You’re Gone’ to the dads. So as to avoid missing anyone out, the last half of the set was punctuated with Spice Girls classics ‘Spice Up Your Life’, ‘2 Become 1’ and ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ before closing out with her number one hit from 2000, ‘I Turn To You’. Mel C left the stage leaving the crowd hoping for the rumoured Spice Girls reunion to happen but safe in the knowledge that even if it doesn’t, she’s still got star appeal.
The temperature began to drop as the sun slowly faded on the last day of this wonderful festival but not before the Sunday night headline capped off the weekend.
Entering the final furlong was the suitably hirsute Sam Ryder with his luxurious mane. Bedecked in a white jumpsuit with silver sequins covering it, Ryder looked every inch the rock star and launched into proceedings, promising to give the crowd the “best possible show in the cosmos tonight” at his first ever festival headline slot.
It’s fair to say the last couple of years have been a whirlwind for Sam but he doesn’t show any signs of letting up as he encourages the crowd to join in with his vocal gymnastics, harking back to Freddie Mercury at Wembley, waving at fans, giving peace signs and giving the whole crowd his undivided attention.
It’s also worth noting the sheer number of children in the audience. While much of the bill was tinged with nostalgia, Sam Ryder is very much in the here and now and seeing kids singing along to his songs shows that he’s going to be around for some time yet.
Highlights of the action-packed set included a medley of massive songs featuring Candi Staton’s ‘You Got the Love’, Taylor Swift’s ‘We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together’ and Paramore’s ‘Misery Business’. For the penultimate song Ryder performed ‘Fought and Lost’, the first live performance of the song, which he proudly announced as having been in an episode of Ted Lasso. The pretty ballad features Brian May on the recorded version and has echoes of Queen hit ‘Who Wants to Live Forever’ giving the singer chance to show off his full, and incredibly impressive, range. By way of some cosmic serendipity, an incredible pink Strawberry Moon rose into in the sky behind the stage cueing Ryder to deliver a triumphant ‘Spaceman’ to end proceedings and bring to a close a truly excellent weekend.
With the festival staff packing up around me I picked up pizzas from Pan De Mania wood fired pizzas and delighted in crispy slices of delicious spicy meat offering but also a vegan version with vegetables and dairy-free cheese on it. Suitably stuffed both with pizza and joy I made my way to the exit, passing the last remaining tents and my taxi home.
Looking back over the past few days I can honestly say Wychwood Festival is a belter! From the setting to the breadth of entertainment on offer and the entirely reasonable ticket price you’ve got a brilliant festival that caters to everyone. There were only good vibes on show throughout the weekend and with a family friendly focus there was enough to keep the kids entertained while allowing parents a bit of a break and some fantastic bands. It’s a relatively small festival and that suits it to the ground. It feels like a private secret between friends, but it looks like the secret is out! See you all next year!
Britain's most-loved family festival reveals a huge programme of workshops & activities for all the family including Literature Festival, Lush Harmony Singing, Street Theatre, Dance, Gospel Choirs & more
Wychwood Festival 2015
Wychwood Festival today unveils a huge family programme for 2016, featuring an vast array of workshops, performances, talks and more. The mighty offering includes dance workshops, yoga, circus classes, late night cabaret, arts and crafts to name just a few. Wychwood’s Literature Festival is back in partnership with Waterstones, featuring Sophia Bennet, Michelle Roberts, Paul Stickland and many more leading authors, while Cheltenham Poetry Festival brings some of the most exciting names in spoken word to perform and share their skills in unmissable workshops. With no end of activities and workshops to choose from and a diverse musical line-up, there really is something for everyone at Wychwood Festival 2016. The festival takes place at Cheltenham Racecourse, 3rd – 5th June, weekend and day tickets are on sale with more information at www.wychwoodfestival.com.
One of the UK's best-loved family festivals of the summer, Wychwood has become renowned for booking an outstanding mix of heritage, world music and up-coming talent along with an extensive roster of entertainment and workshops for all the family. This year organisers are pulling out all the stops with one of the most comprehensive family offerings on the festival calendar.
Workshops across the weekend invite festival-goers to get involved in a number of weird and wonderful activities. The hugely popular Circus Workshops from Solo Circus and Circus Kaos will amaze crowds, showcasing a wide array of circus tricks from juggling and stilt walking to spinning plates and unicycles.RU-Slack put festival-goers' balance to the test as they teach the ways of “Slacklining”. Kids and adult only classes are on hand to share skills of ukulele playing, yoga and samba, while adults can also take advantage of singing & choir lessons and writing workshops.
Dance features heavily this year, with workshops for 1920's favourites Charleston and Swing Dance. Samba shows and workshops showcase a unique fusion of Brazillian, African and Western beats played on everything from drum kits to dustbins through to congas and other world instruments. Other dance workshops on offer include Bhangra, Shim Sham, Glamba, Bollywood, Yoga, Belly and Break Dance to get the whole family throwing shapes.
Those looking to get hands on creative will love the arts and crafts offering at Wychwood this year, which includes everything from jewellery and head dress making to knitting, basket making and painting.
Passion 4 Laughter make an appearance, turning Wychwood into a theatre, using different characters to tell a whirlwind of stories with the help of acrobatic and physical tricks, all in the name of Street Theatre. Comedy Club 4 Kids will also host some of best comedians on the UK circuit doing what they do best. More shows for all the family come courtesy of Captain Barnacle Pirate Pantomime, poetry and choir performances, bubble shows and more.
Wychwood also announces its Literature Festival line-up in partnership with Waterstones, welcoming top authors and illustrators. Join Georgie Woolridge with her popular adult colouring workshop or listen to Chris Edge as he explores the parallel universe. Abi Elphinstone shares stories of her travels in Mongolia, John Dougherty sings about badgers and Michelle Roberts heads to the festival fresh from her collaboration with astronaut Tim Peake with her picture book about spotting bears. Other authors include Jo Correrill, Ali Sparkes, Lyn Gardner, Steve Antony and more.
Speaking about the return of the the Literature Festival, Children's bookseller at Waterstones, Barbara Pendrigh says: "Waterstones loves Wychwood and we're delighted to be bringing fabulous authors and illustrators to the festival again this year. Readers of all ages will find a warm welcome in our book marquee, and of course, something special to read too!!"
Cheltenham Poetry Festival join Wychwood this year, bringing with them a feisty feast of stand-up, hip hop, comedy and poetry including punk pet Jim Higo, standup poet and singer Claire Ferguson Walker,Miserable Malcolm aka The Poet of Doom), hip-hop and spoken word artist JPDL, singer-songwriterChris Hemingway, spoken word performer KA Poetry plus stand-up poet Samantha Samms. All performers will also be imparting their wisdom in writing and performance workshops for Wychwood festival-goers.
The family programme and literature line up join an already amazing musical offering with The Waterboys,10cc, Bill Bailey all set to headline. Revellers can also expect performances from Idlewild, Peter Hook & The Light, The Selector, Ms Dynamite and Matt Berry & The Maypoles, CBeebies superstar Justin Fletcher and Wychwood veteran Craig Charles plus new comers Tiger Club, Haelos, Honne, InHeaven,Cash + David and more.
Wychwood Saturday headliners and English rockers, 10cc, marked 40 years in 2012 since the release of their hit first single "Donna". A band with a remarkable career, selling in excess of 30 million albums around the world with their sophisticated sound that has impressed crowds since the 70's, this performance is one not to be missed. London Based electro swing duo The Correspondents make a welcome appearance. The band have featured in Rob Da Bank's BBC Radio 1 Electro Swing Special, as well as appearing in The Telegraph's "Top 10 highlights from Glastonbury" two years in a row.
The Selecter also take to the main stage, known for their racial diversity in the mid 70's, the band bring their powerful lyrics and passionate music to Wychwood Festival in 2016. Hip-hop and electronic dance group Stereo MC's made themselves a household name worldwide with their transatlantic top 20 hit single"Connected" and are also confirmed for Saturday's main stage.
Smashing Blouse continue to add to their impressive line-up with the most exciting rising talents in the Big Top, welcoming futuristic British electronic-soul duo Honne. Guitar-shredding South London band InHeaven will also play, bringing an updated post punk template for a new generation.
Wychwood's Hobgoblin Stage has also announced its latest acts. Friday will see Jonny Payne & The Thunder, strong melodies from Hannah Scott as well as new-comers Whyte Lytes. Saturday will feature a nod to the darker side of 80's electro with Zurich, bluesy garage band Little Brother Eli and The Great Western Tears. Sunday welcomes indie-pop band Narratones, sibling trio Emmay, improv jam sessions from The Knights of Mentis and finally singer-songwriter Duotone who has written for the likes of multi-platinum artist Birdy.
Wychwood continues to offer great value for money – adult weekend tickets are priced at just £135, concessions at £110, 10-15 year olds at £65, 5-9 year olds at £25 and under 5 year olds go free with an adult. Day tickets are also now on sale, starting at £45 for an adult ticket. Full ticket price breakdown can be found below and as always with Wychwood Festival tickets, all are inclusive, with no additional booking fees and no hidden extras to pay on site Wychwood .
WYCHWOOD FESTIVAL 2016 MUSICPROGRAMME 10cc / The Waterboys / Bill Biley/ Idlewild/ Kate Rusby / Peter Hook & The Light Craig Charles / The Selector / Ms. Dynamite / Justin Fletcher, CBeebies Supestar / From The Jam Matt Berry & The Maypoles / The Correspondents/ Keston Kobblers Club / Tiger Club Haelos / Honne/ InHeaven / Folk On /Hunter & The Bear / Cash + David / Ooks Of Hazard / Rag n' Bone / Anteros / Thrill Collins /Jonny Payne & The Thunder / Hannah Scott / Whyte Lytes / Zurich The Great Western Trees / Little Brother Eli / Narratones / Duotones / The Tuesday Syndicate / The Knights of Mentis / Emmay
WYCHWOOD FESTIVAL PREVIOUS PRESS QUOTES “Laid-back family festival in a lovely location."Sunday Times "Britain's most popular family festival." Sunday Mirror "The best festival for families." The Independent "Goes the extra mile for children." The Times
The 12th annual Wychwood Festival has announced another wave of acts to play in 2016. Brighton promoters Smashing Blouse once again take control of The Big Top, using their musical savvy to book the best of established and up and coming acts including Ms .Dynamite, Hunter & The Bear, Cash + David, The Ooks Of Hazard, Rag n' Bone and Anteros, with plenty more to come. Set on the glorious Cheltenham Racecourse beneath the idyllic Prestbury Hills, Wychwood is incredible value for money and offers an amazing array of events for all the family. Day tickets have just gone on sale with adult tickets starting at just at £45 and discounted prices for children. Wychwood takes place 3rd – 5th June. For tickets and further information visit wychwoodfestival.com.
A pioneer and legend on the urban music scene, Ms. Dynamite is as relevant now as she's ever been and set to delight Wychwood revellers with her enigmatic blend of r&b, grime and electronic music. The Londoner has been wowing crowds for years and Wychwood will be no different thanks to her high energy performances. A perfect addition to the line-up.
Smashing Blouse curate the Big Top once again in 2016. The Brighton tastemakers pride themselves on booking not only established acts but the most diverse and exciting names around, making Wychwood the ideal place to dicsover your new favourite band. This year they have a plethora of up and coming bands from around the globe, including visceral rockers Hunter & The Bear, electro-pop duo Cash + David, the excellently named LA based ukulele troupe Ooks Of Hazard, Australian upstarts Rag n' Bone and synth pop stunners Anteros, all set to keep crowds dancing all day long.
Over the past 11 years Wychwood Festival has cemented itself as one of the country's favourite family friendly weekends. Welcoming all generations, the festival curates a packed programme year on year with timeless greats, upcoming music, literature, comedy, children's entertainment, food and drink and more.
Wychwood continues to offer great value for money – adult weekend tickets are priced at just £135, concessions at £110, 10-15 year olds at £65, 5-9 year olds at £25 and under 5 year olds go free with an adult. Day tickets are also now on sale, starting at £45 for an adult ticket. Full ticket price breakdown can be found below and as always with Wychwood Festival tickets, all are inclusive, with no additional booking fees and no hidden extras to pay on site.
WYCHWOOD FESTIVAL 2016 PROGRAMME MUSIC Peter Hook & The Light / Bill Bailey Ms. Dynamite / Kate Rusby / From The Jam / Craig Charles / Matt Berry & The Maypoles Hunter & The Bear / Cash + David / Ooks Of Hazard / Rag n' Bone / Anteros
Joy Division and New Order co-founder Peter Hook and his band The Light, are set to play Wychwood's opening night. The foursome have become a live tour-de-force since their formation back in 2010 and, as well as playing their own critically acclaimed tracks, have been known to perform mesmerising renditions of classic Joy Division and New Order material.
One of the country's leading lights in folk for over 20 years, Kate Rusby will grace the mainstage on Saturday with her soulful vocals and unrivalled talent for musical storytelling. The Jam founding member and bassist Bruce Foxton and his touring band From The Jam join Kate on the Saturday along with TV funnyman Matt Berry, who will showcase his revered musical talents with the help of his band The Maypoles. No Wychwood Festival would be complete without the legendary Craig Charles painting the Big Top red with his stellar mix of funk and soul, fans will be glad to know that the broadcaster and DJ will join the festival once again in 2016.
As a regular face on '8 Out Of 10 Cats', 'Would I Lie To You?' and many more the BAFTA nominated Michael Legge will perform alongside 'Gloucestershire's number 1 diabetic comedian' Jon Wagstaffe and hotly-tipped student funnyman Jamali Maddix on day one. Making his name on both sides of the Atlantic Irish-born Keith Farnan and Edinburgh fringe regular Mitch Benn keeps the laughter rolling alongside musical comedian George Rigden, Russel Howard's Good News regular Jarred Christmas and the interactive comedy of Howard Read. New up-and-coming talent Jenny Collier, Jack Heal, Sam Chaplin,Becky Brunning and many more will also keep the Wychwood audience in stitches throughout the weekend.
Further musical additions to this year's Wychwood have also been announced. With a performance on Later With Jools Holland and a release on the esteemed Africa Express label, Songhoy Blues will perform their debut show on the main stage while Josephine & The Artizans will showcase their unique 'Hip-Hopera' over at the Ecroticity Big Top alongside 3-piece Pocket Club. Citing inspirations ranging from The Horrors to Fleetwood Mac, Object Object take residency on the main stage while Coventry four-pieceQuarry and Leader will perform at the Big Top and the Hobgoblin Stage.
Wychwood's Pomme Stage has been revealed, featuring some of the finest local talent in association with the University of Gloucestershire. Heading up the stage across the weekend will be the likes of alt-rockers All Ears Avow, Cheltenham's own Spice & The Readies, experimental hip-hop trio SPOILS and former busker and rising singer-songwriter Ben Cipolla. Also appearing will be brooding songstress Gigi St. Fallow, Bobby Scaife, Katie Collins, Megan Timms, Joe Buckingham, Dan Walton and Maxine Stacey from Cheltenham and from the Black country comes Neil Morris and David Young.
Adding to the exciting literature programme on display at Wychwood comes yet more esteemed writers set to educate and influence on the Children's Literature Stage. Author of 'Twelve Minutes to Midnight' and 'Shadows of the Silver Screen', Christopher Edge will share his tales alongside Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning author Philip Ardagh and the writer of the 'Compton Valance' series Matt Brown. The feline friendly Anna Wilson, Waterstones Children's Book Prize winner Steve Anthony and 'The Grunt' and 'The Grouch' author Tracey Corderoy will also be on hand to inspire the children and adults of Wychwood.
Created in 1996 to provide clean, green and renewable energy for all, Ecotricity's founder Dale Vince will debate the importance of sustainable green energy with organic food supplier Guy Watson of Riverford. Chaired by the BBC One Show and Observer journalist Lucy Siegle the topics up for discussion include the sustainability of Energy, Transport and Food, three very important topics that will undoubtedly make for an informative and inspiring debate.
Riverford founder Guy Watson said: “I’m happy to be taking part in the ‘Green Britain Chat’ this year at Wychwood. We’ll be talking about a whole bunch of things we can do towards helping Britain be great and greener. I’ll be focusing on the Food side of things, with organically grown food being an important part of this; I can talk for ever about vegetables until someone tells me to shut up; fortunately my fellow panellists talk can about our Energy and Transport if they can get a word in; plus the importance of making space for Nature!”
New for 2015 Wychwood Festival will this year be taking festival-goers back to a time that was both glamorous and gritty. On one side there were the dive bar dwelling anti-establishment anger of Sex Pistols, on the other the decadent sounds of Donna Summer and thew exclusivity of Studio 54. When it comes to Punk vs Disco, which side will Wychwood festival-goers choose? Wychwood is inviting revellers to release their inner-anarchist or dancing queen to create a sense of Saturday Night Fever on Cheltenham Racecourse.
MUSIC Ladysmith Black Mambazo / UB40 – Ali Campbell, Astro, Mickey Virtue reunited / Boney M The Undertones / Justin Fletcher / The Proclaimers / Craig Charles / Andy Kershaw / Dreadzone / Basseskou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba / Mad Dog Mcrea / Dr & The Medics / Songhoy Blues / The Outcast Band / The Going Goods / Talk In Code / A Way With Words / The Edwin Starr Band ft. Angelo Starr / Electric Swing Circus / Rusty Shackle / Pocket Club / Ghostpoet / Lucy Rose / Mt. Wolf / Plastic Mermaids / Fickle Friends / Monsieur Doumani / The Wonder Stuff Acoustic / Darlia / Demob Happy / TED ZED / Black Honey / Palace / Zak Abel / Lanshapes / Syd Arthur / Henry Green / Hunter & The Bear / Loud Mountains / Cooper Black / Object Object / Josephine and the Artizans / Sophronie / George Montague / Danni Nicholls / The Black Feathers / John Adams / Grace Palmer / James Michael / All Ears Avow / Spice & The Readies / SPOILS / Ben Cipolla / Gigi St. Fallow / Bobby Scaife / Katie Collins/ Megan Timms / Joe Buckingham / Dan Walton / Maxine Stacey / Neil Morris / David Young
BBC Introducing Coventry & Warwickshire: Grassroutes, Rosetta Fire / Yes Sunshine / Reece Bahia /Quarry / Speak Brother / James TW / Emily Burns / The Commonjets / Joe Doloman
BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester: Cantaloop / Ronin / Clark Carmody / Tom Forbes / Interior Castle / Crowsaw / 7shades / The Dale Von Minaker / Fictonian / Chase The Deer
CHILDREN'S LITERATURE FESTIVAL Ali Sparkes / Petr Horacek / Giancarlo Gremin / Steve Anthony / Steve Cole / Chris Edge / Paul Strickland / John Dougherty / Anna Wilson / Karen Langtree / Tracey Corderoy / Philip Ardagh / Cathy Cassidy / Philip Adagh / Tracey Corderoy / Matt Brown / Tony de Saulles / First Draft
WYCHWOOD COMEDY IN ASSOCIATION WITH EFESTIVALS Michael Legge / Jenny Collier / Jack Heal / Chris Turner / Jay Cowle / Jamali Maddix / Jarred Christmas / Becky Brunning / Sam Chaplin / David Jordan
Wychwood is one of the best loved family festivals on the summer calendar, renowned for booking a sensational mix of heritage, world music and up-coming talent along with an elcectic roster of entertainment for all the family.
Joining the likes of UB40's Ali Campbell, Astro, Mickey Virtue reunited, The Proclaimers and Boney M on mainstage across the weekend will be Mad Dog Mcrea with their raucous mix of folk, pop, rock, jazz and bluegrass along with psychedelic rockers Dr & The Medics,The Outcast Band, The Going Goods, Talk In Code and A Way With Words. Angelo Starr also heads to Wychwood leading his late brothers sensational soul band The Edwin Starr Band now also known as Angelo Starr & The Team.
The BBC Introducing Stage is set to return to Wychwood Festival this year, presenting the best upcoming local talent the area has to offer. On Saturday BBC Introducing Coventry & Warwickshire host performances from their youngest and brightest stars including 17 year old four piece The Commonjets, singer songwriters Emily Burn, James TW and Joe Dolman as well as Speak Brother,Grassroutes, Rosetta Fire, Yes Sunshine, Reece Bahia and The Folly Brothers. BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester take over proceedings on the Sunday with soul man and The Voice runner upClark Carmody, funk four-piece Cantaloop, rock visionaries Ronin and Evesham producer Tom Forbes. Also appearing will be Interior Castle, 7shades, The Dale Von Minaker, Fictonian, Chase The Deer and blues rockers Crowshaw.
On Friday Wychwood's Hobgoblin stage will welcome the likes of the barnstorming Celtic rockers Hunter & The Bear, Americana folk bands Loud Mountains and The Black Feathers, country/foilk songstress Danni Nicholls and Welsh busker and songwriter John Adams. Also will appearing will be Sophronie, James Michael, Cooper Black, Gloucestershire's own Grace Palmer and YouTube jazz musician sensation George Montague.
Wychwood is excited to reveal the full line-up for the Children's Literature Festival in association with Waterstones including renowned authors Anna Wilson, The Shapeshifter series creator Ali Sparkes, award winning author and illustrator Petr Horacek, along with Waterstone Children's Book Prize nominee Giancarlo Gremin. The weekend will also see appearances by a host of literary talents including Steve Antony, Steve Cole, Chris Edge, Paul Strickland, John Dougherty, Cathy Cassidy,Philip Adagh, Tracey Corderoy, Matt Brown and Tony de Saulles. In a Wychwood first, a music band made up entirely of authors will take to the stage and meeting for the first time at the festival the band, First Draft, will perform well loved book and writing inspired songs.
Well known for curating an all encompassing programme of family activities and entertainment, Wychwood's 2015 offering is bigger than ever. Aashiyana Arts bring the flavours of the East with Stories From India, Bhangra Dance and a Bollywood Heat Dance workshop for anyone who wants to dance like a Bollywood star. Solo Circus and Circus Kaos join together for a fun filled Circus Workshop, Wychwood's favourite 'bubbleolgist' SamSam the Bubbleman is back with his unbelievable bubbles plus for all those who love wildlife, the British Ecological Society bring Sex and Bugs and Rock and Roll for a hands on and fun look at the world of ecology. Wychwood revellers can also expect Samba, Belly Dancing and Hula classes, puppet shows, cabaret, arts and crafts, face painting, Ukulele performances and so much more.
Wychwood will be showcasing some of the best range of food from across the world including the festival's famous tea bus, The Tea Stop, purveyors of the best vegetarian Mexican Pura Vida and wonderful wraps from Warpper's Delight.
Always looking to increase the festivals green credentials, Wychwood is proud to be teaming up with Grallo, a coach company making festivals greener, more fun and more accessible by crowdfunding coach routes to events from all over the country.
MUSIC Ladysmith Black Mambazo / UB40 – Ali Campbell, Astro, Mickey Virtue reunited / Boney M The Undertones / Justin Fletcher / The Proclaimers / Craig Charles / Andy Kershaw / Dreadzone / Basseskou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba / Mad Dog Mcrea / Dr & The Medics / The Outcast Band / The Going Goods / Talk In Code / A Way With Words / The Edwin Starr Band ft. Angelo Starr / Electric Swing Circus / Rusty Shackle / Ghostpoet / Lucy Rose / Mt. Wolf / Plastic Mermaids / Fickle Friends / Monsieur Doumani / The Wonder Stuff Acoustic / Darlia / Demob Happy / TED ZED / Black Honey / Palace / Zak Abel / Lanshapes / Syd Arthur / Henry Green / Hunter & The Bear / Loud Mountains / Cooper Black Sophronie / George Montague / Danni Nicholls / The Black Feathers / John Adams Grace Palmer / James Michael
BBC Introducing Coventry & Warwickshire: Grassroutes, Rosetta Fire / Yes Sunshine / Reece Bahia / The Folly Brothers / Speak Brother / James TW / Emily Burns / The Commonjets / Joe Doloman
BBC Introducing Hereford and Worcester: Cantaloop / Ronin / Clark Carmody / Tom Forbes / Interior Castle / Crowsaw / 7shades / The Dale Von Minaker / Fictonian / Chase The Deer
CHILDREN'S LITERATURE FESTIVAL Ali Sparkes / Petr Horacek / Giancarlo Gremin / Steve Antony / Steve Cole / Chris Edge / Paul Strickland / John Dougherty / Cathy Cassidy / Philip Adagh / Tracey Corderoy / Matt Brown / Tony de Saulles / First Draft
WYCHWOOD COMEDY IN ASSOCIATION WITH EFESTIVALS Michael Legge / Jenny Collier / Jack Heal / Chris Turner / Jay Cowle / Jamali Maddix
One of the greatest party bands to emerge from the 70s, Boney M will take Friday night main stage by storm. Founded by German producer, Frank Farian the bands hits are unmistakable including 'Sunny','Rivers of Babylon' and Christmas favourite 'Mary's Boy Child'. Celebrating 40 years this year Boney Mhave unveiled an anniversary album packed with new songs and remixes that will kick-start the weekend's celebrations in true Wychwood style. Ahead of Friday's headliner, legendary punk rock and new wave band, The Undertones will perform at Wychwood. Having emerged from Derry in 1977 with high profile fans like BBC Radio One's John Peel, their punkpop gems 'Here Comes the Sun' and 'My Perfect Cousin'flooded the UK charts and with last year as the 35th year since the release of the iconic, Teenage Kicks, this is one not to be missed.
Revered for a variety of acclaimed world music, Wychwood's announcement of Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni Ba is a wonderful addition. Bassekou Kouyate’s extraordinary musical journey shows that he is unquestionably the most innovative and exciting Malian musician to have emerged in recent years. Continuing to push the boundaries of his ancient musical heritage, bringing his music to audiences around the world with his phenomenal live band Bassekou Kouyate & Ngoni ba and three internationally acclaimed albums, this performance is one not to be missed.
As the music comes in thick and fast Wychwood is extremely excited to welcome back the nation's favourite children entertainer and BAFTA Award-Winning, Justin Fletcher a.k.a Mr Tumble, who has starred in children favourites as The Tweenies, Timmy Time and Shaun the Sheep. Destined to draw in thousands of eager fans to the Sunday midday slot, Fletcher's performance will be a favourite for families across the weekend.
London promoters Smashing Blouse have once again pulled out all the stops with a talent packed programme for the Ecotricity Big Top. Leading the announcement is 90's grunge revival Darlia hotly tipped by the likes of Zane Lowe. The Lancashire three piece are undoubtedly revolutionising the UK music scene and having been dubbed the 'next Nirvana' by The Guardian. The announcement will also see distinctive, soulful vocals of Zak Abel who has been guest appearing with Bondax and Gorgon City, experimental four piece, Lanshapes primarily known for their heavy psychedelic alternative rock, unique Syd Arthur andHenry Green with his distinctive blend of indie, folk and electronica.
One of the country's favourite family festivals just got better as Wychwood organisers reveal another wave of heritage, world music and fresh-faced talent to join the likes of UB40's Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue, The Proclaimers, Ghostpoet and Monsieur Doumani.
For over 50 years Joseph Shabalala and his Ladysmith Black Mambazo have been delivering evocative and powerful songs inspired by their native South Africa. Rising to global success after collaborating with Paul Simon on Graceland in the '80s, the all-male choral group have won an incredible four Grammy Awards with a further nine nominations, they've worked with artists across the globe including Stevie Wonder, Dolly Parton, Sarah McLachlan and David Guetta and they were even publicly named 'South Africa’s cultural ambassadors' by the late Nelson Mandela. Wychwood 2015 is set for a triumphant close when the Ladysmith Black Mambazo take to stage on Sunday evening in what will be an unmissable performance by one of the world's greatest singing groups.
Wychwood's newly-named Ecotricity Big Top has become the go to destination at the festival for young and rising musical talent and headlining on the Sunday is Lucy Rose. The young songwriter's emotive folk music and beautiful vocals will have crowds enthralled as she performs music from her successful debut Like I Used To and material from her eagerly awaited followup out later this year. Joining Lucy on the Sunday is Isle of Wight five-piece Plastic Mermaids. The islanders merge folk melodies, multi-layered instrumentation and electro pop and are already being tipped for great things. Mt. Wolf are another act unveiled for the Ecotricity Big Top today. The electro-folk trip made a well-received return with new material at the tail end of 2014 after a year long hiatus and are a very welcome addition to Wychwood 2015.
Barron Knights, the nations' favourite comedic rockers of the '60s and '70s will be entertaining all the family at Wychwood this year. Their unique mix of rock n' roll and comedy rocketed the band to success in the '60s and they haven't stopped touring since, becoming the only band to tour with The Beatles and twice with the Rolling Stones. Another band who are no strangers to touring are trio Thrill Collins, who have been known to play over 150 shows a year. A firm favourite for Wychwood regulars, the group return to the festival in 2015, reworking well-loved contemporary pop songs with a raucous Skiffle twist.