Wychwood Festival 2024 – REVIEWED!


Wychwood Festival is one of the first of the season and this year marks the 24th anniversary of the hugely popular event in Cheltenham. The event is regularly nominated for Best Family Friendly festival and proudly offers an eclectic mix of musical acts.

This is the second consecutive year that the festival site has been further into Cheltenham Racecourse, in between the very top end of the famous course and Hyde Brook, with Cleeve Hill overlooking the site. It’s a very pretty location for a festival and you’d be forgiven for thinking it was a lot further away from a large town when you’re there.

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 it’s approximately 30 minutes-walking through the grounds up to the campsite entrance.

On day one the first bands start on Sam’s Stage at 2pm, which allowed time for a wander around the revamped festival site to get my bearings.

A word on Sam’s Stage (the main stage) before carrying on.

In November 2023, co-founder of Wychwood, Sam Shrouder sadly passed away. While he had been ill for some time, Sam still MC’d the event from the main stage last year – introducing acts as he had done for 20 years prior. His loss is keenly felt among the Wychwood family and renaming the stage in his honour is a fitting tribute to his legacy.

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.

This year the Garden stage’s big top was positioned closer to the campsite entry at the opposite end of the site to Sam’s Stage making for a slightly longer walk between the two – albeit still very short by festival standards.

© Gobinder Jhitta for Wychwood

The six months or so of rain that we’ve had this year had definitely taken its toll on the site making the efforts of the set-up crews all the more impressive. Track marks from heavy machinery had caused some rutting in the ground which made for a slightly more “exciting” walk around site, but matting was soon put down to create more easy walking routes.

The weather was also not giving “festival” with a brisk wind whipping through site and slate grey sky making for a murky start to the weekend.

With the sights and smells of the food stalls wafting by and a rumbling stomach we went to sample toasties from Let’s Get Toastie only on their second ever outing at a festival and offering a range of delicious fillings as well as excellent coffee. We went for a classic Ham & Cheese and a Chicken & Pesto, both of which were dripping with gooey delicious mozzarella and cheddar cheese and definitely hit the spot. At £8 each it wasn’t cheap, but with a grey overcast day it was most welcome.

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Even more welcome were the folks from Solo Stove who brought their smokeless fire pits to a corner of the festival site and provided some much-needed warmth and a chance to sit down. They offered free s’mores cooked over the pits which were a big hit as well as chance to win your own fire pit.

Wychwood again offered a multitude of workshops teaching all manner of new skills from playing the Ukulele, to wicker basket making and circus skills.

While having a look at the merch tent the series of new designs for the festival shirts featuring drawings of Tigers and Toucans on adult shirts and crocodile/stegosaurus on kid’s shirts really caught the eye. Adult shirts are £25 with childrens’ priced at £20. Hoodies (saving many ill-prepared festival goers) came in at £38 for adults and £28 for children sizes. The largest size of the official festival T-Shirt was XL which was the same case last year and put this heftier chap off altogether. Band merch was also available throughout the weekend.

Stomach and eyes sated it was time to feed my ears, and first up on Sam’s Stage to kick off the festival were The Standard. The ten-piece specialise in covers and launched into ‘Man! I Feel Like A Woman’ with gusto and soon had a music-hungry crowd dancing and grateful for the chance to warm up!

Wychwood was officially off and the next stop was The Garden stage to see Genevieve Miles play her dreamy, indie-pop. Genevieve was one of over 870 ‘Apply To Play’ entries and joined eight other lucky slot recipients to play the festival. Her infectious enthusiasm warmed the crowd’s cockles and meant at least this reviewer didn’t need to make another visit to the fire pits (until much later on anyway…).

Due to the assembly of the tent there was a large structural pillar in front of the stage, right slap bang in the middle. I can only assume the months of rain led to changes being needed to the layout because otherwise it was a bit bizarre having bands split either side of the column or all standing to one side (numbers depending).

Across the festival site to the Mountainside Workshops and Neemus Presents Open Mic Session was giving budding performers a chance to woo the crowd. They hosted three sessions across the weekend and had musicians of all ages gracing the stage, including a little lad called Charlie who got a rapturous response from the audience who loved his rock covers.

Back to Sam’s Stage and Scottish rockers Big Country who welcomed Tommie Paxton of Restless Natives into the lead singer role following the surprise announcement of Simon Hough to leave the band a fortnight ago. You wouldn’t tell the band was reeling from the shock though, as they romped through their set – getting the crowd bouncing. Lead guitarist and longest serving member Bruce Watson (joined on stage by son Jamie) gave it his all, having the time of his life while chiding some of the members of the band including “the greatest bass player in this band at this moment in time”.

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

I left before the end of their set to catch Jo Hill leading a singalong of “All my girls are Tom Boys” on The Garden stage. Joined onstage by two bandmates all playing guitar and singing, the melodies blended beautifully with harmonies capable of melting even the most flint-like of hearts.

Mid-thousands chart botherers The Hoosiers were next up and immediately brought high energy and fine tailored suits to Sam’s Stage but were also very aware (thanks to their powers of group mind reading) that the notion of playing any new material would be met with outrage.

Even with a back catalogue of bangers, The Hoosiers threw in big cover versions of Backstreet Boys and Cyndi Lauper’s ‘Girls Just Wanna Have Fun’ before ending on ‘Goodbye Mr A’ and literally saying goodbye for the afternoon.

One of the perils of the wind blowing through the site, aside from the chill, was the wafting scent of Raclette from stage left! Despite the allegations, I am only human and so I caved and treated myself to a traditional Raclette with added bacon which came in at a very reasonable £11. The gooey, unctuous melted cheese waterfall combined with perfectly cooked potatoes was a treat and set me up for the rest of the day – which is just as well as there was lots more to come!

Back at Sam’s Stage it was another mid 00’s pop machine in the guise of The Feeling. This year marks 18 years since the band’s triple-platinum debut album ‘Twelve Stops And Home’ landed and they kicked things off with UK top 10 hit ‘Fill My Little World’.

Over their 45-minute slot the band played through the album, throwing in an excellent cover of The Buggles’ ‘Video Killed the Radio Star’ and the titular song from West End smash hit ‘Everybody’s Talking About Jamie’ which lead singer Dan Gillespie-Sells wrote. The group ended on ‘Love It When You Call’ which has been stuck in my head ever since and then it was time for one of the highlights of the weekend…Barrioke!

Shaun Williamson aka Barry from Eastenders has carved a niche for himself with this fan favourite. Howlin’ Pete’s was overflowing with fans craning their necks to catch the man himself in action as he welcomed festival goers on stage to join him in a karaoke sing-along. Bedecked in a shiny gold jacket, Shaun/Barry claimed to enjoy playing Wychwood as it was the only time he left the racecourse with any money in his pocket – a nod to Cheltenham races which he promotes for a well-known bookie.

Heading over to The Garden stage once more and time for Dutch indie band Pip Blom who were excellent! Led by front woman Pip Blom the band played tracks from most recent album Bobbie, including Tiger, ‘Kiss Me By Candlelight’ and ‘Where’d You Get My Number?’. The slinky, sexy, sinister sound was perfect preparation for Corrine Bailey Rae’s performance on Sam’s Stage.

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Speaking to Summer Festival Guide after her set, Bailey Rae told us that she didn’t want to be regarded as “just a “heritage act” when you’re sort of playing cover versions of your old music” and immediately dispelled any doubts about that statement by kicking off proceedings with the ‘A Spell, A Prayer’ – the opening track from her latest record, ‘Black Rainbows’.

Black Rainbows was inspired by an exhibition on Black history by artist Theaster Gates at the Stony Island Arts Bank in Chicago. In between songs from the album, Bailey Rae explained the inspiration behind each track before picking up her Gibson SG and rocking the hell out – nowhere more so than on the frankly epic ‘Erasure’. The sound is heavier than expected and a nod to the Leeds native’s background in indie band Helen which cited L7 and Veruca Salt as influences.

Those members of the audience reeling from the sonic assault, expecting radio friendly pop tunes were placated later on as ‘Put Your Records On’ and ‘Like a Star’ closed out the set – much to the excitement of a woman on the barrier wearing a star covered raincoat!

From stars to sequins and there is no doubt that Disco is one of the great musical unifiers. Even if members of the crowd claimed not to know much of Friday night headliner Sister Sledge’s music before the show began, once they started there was no-one standing still!

Kicking off with Lost in Music, the line-up consisting of Debbie Sledge, Camille Sledge, Tanya Ti-et, Thaddeus Sledge and David Sledge brought disco BACK! A monster set list made up of bonafide hits followed, featuring ‘Frankie’, ‘He’s the Greatest Dancer’ and ‘Thinking of You’. They even threw in two Chic covers with ‘Everybody Dance’ and ‘Good Times’ before bringing day one to a close with an epic ‘We Are Family’ that sent punters off into the night with faces beaming like discoballs!

With the night drawing to a close and despite having shaken my booty throughout Sister Sledge’s set the urge to dance on was as mighty as their vocals, so the Silent Disco was calling!

For those unfamiliar with the Silent Disco concept you get a pair of headphones which have channel options to switch between allowing you to listen to different DJs vying for your aural adulation. To a passer by you hear folks singing along to different songs leading to a bizarre mash up as genre hopping occurs and strained voice fill the night air.

There’s a £10 deposit for the headphones which struck fear into this reviewer’s heart realising an overreliance on digital payments seemed set to scupper a much-anticipated dance. Thankfully, the bar in the tent did cashback meaning dancing was very much on the cards.

After a solid couple of hours bouncing between indie hits, 90’s dance classics and an EMO set (it’s NOT a phase!) it was time to head back for the night to see what Saturday would deliver…

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood


WAKEY WAKEY! Saturday morning sleepy heads were roused from their beds by one man positivity machine Mr Motivator who led the crowd through a 45 minute workout to kickstart the day. Speaking to Summer Festival Guide after his slot, the main man told us that movement is a wonderful medicine and “moving the mood” can help improve our mental and physical health – setting us up to feel good “not just for when you’re doing it, but for hours and days afterwards.”

Saturday saw a definite increase in numbers on site as day ticket holders descended on the racecourse for a packed day.

Aside from the music, there are activities galore at Wychwood – especially for kids. The Storybox tent returned, hosting readings from much-loved children’s authors as well as books available to buy and all manner of fun board games to keep the young and older alike entertained.

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

Speaking of board games, next door Firey Jack’s Games of Days Gone By tent was brimming with ye olde activities including Viking Chess and medieval Jenga, which proved hugely popular throughout the weekend and a fair amount of head scratching on our part trying to work out the rules.

Over at Howlin’ Pete’s with my ears still ringing from the Silent Disco the night before Taskmaster Education had taken over and were putting children through their paces at the whim of the Taskmaster’s assistant, Little Alex Horne.

The busier site meant decision making on food was based more on length of queues than any particular preference, with the Souvlaki, Pizza and Fish and Chip vendors proving particularly popular. Spying a short line at Himalayan Dumplings & Lunchboxes I opted for an Enlighten Your Tastebuds lunchbox consisting of 24-hour marinated beef mince on a bed of steamed rice with three beef dumplings. This came in at a pretty punchy £14 but was very filling and tasted great.

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Onto the music and the first performer of the day I caught was Dolly Mavies on Sam’s Stage. Dolly hails from just over the border in Oxfordshire and has supported previous Wychwood performers Mel C and Sophie Ellis-Bextor on their tours. Along with her very talented band, including drummer who was metronomic throughout, Dolly and band filled their half hour slot with polished indie pop and definitely left the stage with some new fans.

The first act on stage at The Garden was Supalung, aka singer-songwriter Sam Brookes. His voice filled the tent up as he worked through songs written under the Supalung moniker as well as those he’s performed under his own name, including ‘Wreck My Body’ a song about being in love.

While wandering across the site I spied a group of men dressed as jockeys in the VIP area. Suspecting a stag do, I then spied a horse spinning around on one of the fair ground rides on site – one of the more surreal images from the weekend but not the most surreal (more on that later). Local Samba group Ola Samba offered drumming workshops and performances over the weekend, bringing a welcome splash of colour to another grey day.

Over in The Garden, Gloucester-based collective Dub Catalyst filled the stage with their ten members and the tent with an audience seeking a good time – and the group delivered. They could easily have played the main stage and had another half an hour in the eyes of this reviewer and more than a few of the audience who were skanking away throughout the band’s set.

On Sam’s Stage, Scottish singer songwriter Callum Beattie brought his uplifting indie rock to a busy crowd with more than a few Scots out in the audience – hardly a surprise with Texas headlining. Beattie has similarities with the likes of Sam Fender, Bruce Springsteen and The Gaslight Anthem – bringing together rousing anthems with a storyteller’s patter. He introduces song ‘Daddy’s Eyes’ about his father returning home from the pub at 8am and taking him to school at 8:30am. There’s nothing new in what he’s doing, but he’s doing it well and Beattie thanks the audience for turning up to watch an act that was unknown to them beforehand. There’ll definitely be some converts after this performance.

© Gobinder Jhitta for Wychwood

Nottingham natives Stereo MCs take to the stage next with a plan to make the crowd dance. With a 45-minute set and over 30 years of music to work through, the group led by frontman Rob Birch waste no time in getting stuck into proceedings and deliver with anthems ‘Connected’ and ‘Step It Up’. Some of the crowd seemed to be saving themselves for the rest of the evening’s entertainment, but those that were dancing did so with gusto.

With a lot of the day left and the Silent Disco’s excesses creeping in I decide it’s time for a caffeine hit and grab a Flat White for £4 which isn’t much more expensive than one of Cheltenham’s many coffee shops are charging.

Energised I head to catch the end of Abbie Ozard’s performance in The Garden tent. Her soaring, sweet vocals have the crowd engaged and she treats them to new song ‘Monster’ before ending with recent single ‘Anything for You’ which is inspired by the compromises made for “them that you love”. She releases her debut album in July and is definitely one to watch.

On the absolute opposite end of new and emerging talent are The Bootleg Beatles. The world’s premiere The Beatles cover band has been entertaining crowds for over 40 years and with such a breadth of incredible material to work through, there was no doubt they’d be bringing a hell of a show with them and boy did they deliver!

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Kicking off with an energetic version of ‘I Saw Her Standing There’ and followed up with ‘She Loves You’, ‘All My Loving’ and ‘Can’t Buy Me Love’ the Fab Four immediately had the Wychwood crowd singing and dancing along. Speaking with Summer Festival Guide before the performance the band spoke about the challenge of condensing a theatre show down into a festival slot and the limitations it places on them, but a solo performance of ‘Yesterday’ by ‘Paul’ aka Steve White allowed the remaining three Beatles chance to change outfits for the second era of the show. Sadly for this reviewer, a performance of ‘Here Comes The Sun’ didn’t quote force the sun to make an appearance, but in their defence it did show the next day. A singalong of ‘Hey Jude’ closed out the show and drove the feel-good factor up tenfold.

Welsh sextet CVC aka Church Village Collective were on next in The Garden bringing their psychedelic rock and disco basslines to this corner of Gloucestershire. CVC are DEEPLY cool, from the look to their music and multi-instrumentalism – they owned the stage and were a definite highlight of the weekend. ‘Good Morning Vietnam’ from the band’s 2023 Get Real album is an absolute powerhouse of a song, with a pulsing bassline throughout the chorus and layered vocals asking the crowd “Is it okay if I’m yours for the night?”. I think there’ll be more than a few investing more than just the night in CVC from here on.

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

Psychedelia was back on the menu on Sam’s Stage next with The Coral. It’s22 years since the band’s self-titled debut and since then they’ve released 11 studio albums with their sound progressing along the way. Frontman James Skelly said prior to going on stage that they wanted to “play your best stuff over the years really” and what followed was a greatest hits of The Coral show, covering the last two decades.

Starting off with ‘Bill McCai’ the group went through 16 songs in total, playing hits such as ‘Pass It On’, ‘Lover Undiscovered’, ‘In The Morning’ and ‘Jacqueline’ as well as a cover of The Doors’ ‘People Are Strange’ from one of the band’s favourite films Lost Boys before closing out the evening with ‘Dreaming of You’ as the sun started to set behind the Malvern Hills in the distance.

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Before Texas came to stage I went on a mission to find a gluten-free/vegan option to see how people with dietary requirements are catered to at the festival and found Oh Babu to the right of the main stage where I got a delicious Punjabi Meal Box with spiced chickpea curry, saffron pilau rice and salad for £11. It wasn’t the easiest to eat with a fork, but thankfully a spoon was on hand to help and avoid any unwanted spillages (least of all because I was very hungry!).

I took another lap of the festival site to catch a packed tent enjoying The Amy Winehouse Band in action at Howlin’ Pete’s, while The Garden was overflowing with fans trying to watch Peter Hook and The Light. The amount of Joy Division t-shirts on show throughout the day should have been a fair indication that Hooky’s set was going to be popular, and sure enough it was!

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

With his trademark low slung bass guitar, Hook ran through a mix of Joy Division and New Order tracks including ‘She’s Lost Control’, ‘Transmission’ and ‘Shadowplay’ by the former and ‘Blue Monday’, ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ and ‘True Faith’ before closing the evening with ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ and fulfilling everyone’s bingo card of hits for the evening.

The final act of the day is Saturday headliners Texas. The band is well and truly amongst the legends of pop music in the UK, with a career spanning almost 40 years and a massive amount of material at their disposal. Tonight felt more like a Texas show than a festival, with a massed crowd gathered to see the Scottish band in action.

Kicking off with ‘I Don’t Want a Lover”, front woman Sharleen Spiteri went on to tell the crow that “We’re gonna give you a little bit of everything” and being on stage is their happy place – and on the basis of tonight’s show it was hard to argue!

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

The front woman’s energy and crowd engagement elevated the performance to a whole other level. Acknowledging that she had “far too much to say for myself”, Spiteri chided one reveller for wearing a gilet – assuring the crowd that “no-one in a gilet can dance!”. This led to the woman removing the gilet, drawing a cackle from Spiteri as she gleefully exclaimed “she took it off!”. In an act of solidarity, the singer removed her own jacket before urging the crowd to get down and dirty and playing ‘Let’s Work It Out’ before segueing into Orange Juice’s ‘Rip It Up’.

From here on out the band was hurtling toward escape velocity with the crowd waiting on Spiteri’s every word. During an acoustic version of “In Demand” she asked the audience to hold up their phone torches, making her feel like she was “in Avatar!” and then it was into the final throes of the show – with a triple whammy of ‘Black Eyed Boy’, ‘Say What You Want’ and ‘Inner Smile’ bringing down the curtain on another brilliant night at Wychwood.

Spitteri and co put on one of THE great Wychwood headline performances and thrown down the gauntlet to next year’s headliners for what will be the festival’s 25th anniversary. Absolutely 10/10!


Finally! The sun has decided to make an appearance and brought with it a riot of colour as festival goers dispense with the practical hoodies and layers and bring out the sparkles, fancy dress, countless football shirts, bucket hats and ice creams.

My day started with a bacon roll from Jolly Hog, who had moved their pitch overnight to be closer to the main arena. It wasn’t cheap at £8, but the bacon was good quality and well cooked and at that point in the morning with nought but coffee for sustenance it was much needed.

This morning’s main stage starters were CBBC’s Hacker T Dog and Kate Thistleton delivering a high energy DJ set which kicked off with a remix of the iconic “We’re just normal men…” line that seems to have been viral since Louis Pasteur’s days! A chaotic three quarters of an hour consisting of dog related songs and chart bangers ensued, but also remixed versions of children’s TV theme songs – the latter of which teed up one of the more bizarre sights of the weekend.

Ahead of their set in The Garden later that day, Dexy’s frontman and all-round music icon Kevin Rowland was warming up with a Qi Gong session, a form of tai chi. The gentle flowing movement of Kevin’s workout coincided with a dance version of the Fireman Sam theme tune, which one wouldn’t normally associate with the meditative act. It may well have been Kevin had headphones in and couldn’t hear what was going on, or alternatively there may be a new Qi Gong anthem on the block!

Crispin was next up on Sam’s Stage. The local lad from “just round the corner” is a former Gloucester Cathedral chorister and despite the band’s sound being somewhat less choral, his sincere ballads and indie rock songs were catchy and set the day up for a guitar band heavy line up of music to come.

In Howlin’ Pete’s tent John Leather’s Swiftie Disco offered a pop tonic to the rock, playing the pop queen’s records for an impressive two and a half hours. It definitely kept restless kids entertained as they danced through eras of Swift’s music, stopping only for a restorative ice cream on the way.

The Garden had a great line-up for the final day, and first up was Thomas Bradley Project. Hailing from Liverpool, the band brought a traditional folk/rock sound with elements of Led Zeppelin in their 70’s influenced sound.

Next up were Scottish band Brògeal from Falkirk. The band brought frantic energy to the stage, a lazy comparison would be like The Pogues but with a Scottish accent – but there were elements more like a Scottish spaghetti western at times, and raucous foot stompers throughout. About three quarters of the way through a breathless set and in between swigs of white wine from the bottle, front man Daniel Harkins – wearing Kappa popper tracksuit bottoms (a throwback to my own youth!) proclaimed “We’re gonna kick it up a notch” which left me wondering how many notches there were!

It wouldn’t be Wychwood without mainstays and local legends Thrill Collins who brought the vibes to a busy Sam’s Stage. Their infectious energy and breathless pop mash ups were the perfect accompaniment to the now sun-soaked festival. Not only are the band supremely talented and fun as all heck, but they’re also modest too – claiming to have written ‘Barbie Girl’ at the end of the summer last year. Sadly no sign of Ryan Gosling joining them on stage – but who knows, the 25th anniversary may well bring a dose of Hollywood with it.

© Gobinder Jhitta for Wychwood

Indie icons The Futureheads were next up on Sam’s Stage. Having burst onto the scene in the mid 00’s with hits such as ‘Decent Days and Nights’ and ‘Beginning of the Twist’ the Sunderland quartet brought their energetic best to the main stage, rattling through their hits seamlessly before summoning the power of the crowd for their imperious cover of Kate Bush’s ‘Hounds of Love’. Ending with a mighty version of ‘Man Ray’ the ‘heads added headed off to a festival near you!

Across site to The Garden and Welsh group Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard were the heaviest act of the weekend. Matching every member of the audience’s devil horns with his own, shaven headed frontman Tom Rees was the very epitome of rock god and delivered the deepest split I have ever seen a shredding guitarist deploy during one mighty riff. The heat was playing a part, driving some into the welcome shade, but Rees was having none of the pollen count – claiming “pure nasal domination” over nature’s best efforts and leaving this antihistamine powered reviewer feeling a touch emasculated.

For lunch the ever-trusty Souvlaki option was top of my list, with a tasty chicken skewer and fresh salad going down a treat for a reasonable £11. My companion went for a savoury crepe from one of the two crepe stands, opting for ham and swiss cheese which came in at £10. We left suitably sated.

© Shon Douglas for SFG

Seth Lakeman and band rocked up to Sam’s Stage next. Lakeman has played the festival a number of times in recent years, and the multi-instrumentalist is clearly at home here having spent the weekend on site with his family.

Lakeman’s band is very tight and delivers the first festival appearance of a mouth harp, which in my humble opinion is a much under appreciated instrument. The highlight of the set was without a doubt ‘Kitty Jay’ which has an almost mid 90’s dance banger vibe to it as Seth plays the violin with seemingly ever-increasing pace.

© Matt Higgs for Wychwood

The next offering from across the border in Wales was Melin Melyn in The Garden. Bizarrely they’re one of the only bands to acknowledge the large pillar in the middle of the stage, even naming it ‘Lucy’, serenading it with a Saxophone solo and hugging it. Charismatic frontman Gruff Glyn greets the crowd by exclaiming that “It’s a pleasure to be here. I wish I was a horse – I think I’d win” before a set full of psychedelic, surfer pop, folk that enchants the audience – that or the band’s synchronised dance moves have hypnotised them…Glyn offered to give members of the audience Welsh lessons for £20 an hour, before haggling himself down to free and dedicated the song ‘I Paint Dogs’ to artists. The set was over in a flash, but the performance was something special.

The sea of England shirts at the festival began flocking towards Sam’s Stage, I’m 99% sure not as a result of Melin Melyn’s presence in The Garden and all became clear when The Lightning Seeds began their set.

As a festival with more than one eye on nostalgia, The Lightning Seeds proved a big draw for the crowd seeking sugar sweet, summery pop tunes in the sunshine. Kicking things off with ‘Change’ from 1994’s Jollification Ian Broudie and band rolled back the years delivering huge hit after huge hit, including ‘Sugar Coated Iceberg’, ‘Lucky You’, ‘Pure’ and ‘The Life of Riley’ before closing the show with a genuinely stirring singalong to 1996’s anthem to perpetual disappointment, ‘Three Lions’. Who knows, perhaps 2024 is England’s year? With a new greatest hits album coming out later in the year it’ll definitely be a big one for The Lightning Seeds – win or lose!

Howlin’ Pete’s was calling and the sound of guitars playing through hits of the 90’s kept the nostalgic feelings coming as The In-Here Brothers from Derbyshire tested every memory bank and sinew of the, shall we say, more mature audience with a riotous performance. It turns out, even 30 plus years after learning the dance to ‘Saturday Night’ at a holiday camp in Dorset, I still know every move. Hooray for muscle memory! The duo apologised for the lack of budget, restricting them to a bottle of Radox versus a full foam party – but I’ll be honest, after an hour of dancing a soak in a muscle easing bath sounded heavenly.

Seasick Steve is a festival stalwart and came on to a sunlit Sam’s Stage, announcing “I’m old now, I’m gonna savour this”. His trademark beard blew gently in a breeze bringing some respite from the baking heat. His story telling rhythm and blues sound is always at home on a festival stage and a large crowd had formed to watch him play.

© Gobinder Jhitta for Wychwood

With a new album coming out, Seasick Steve took his chance to make a sales pitch. He compelled the audience to buy the record, saying “If half of you buy it you’re gonna throw the whole music industry into chaos! Even if it’s just one week and then Taylor Swift will be back at number one!”. For the majority of the set Steve played the more traditional instruments, until the last portion where the DIY instruments came out. Firstly a 2×4 piece of wood with a guitar string attached to it, followed by a hub cap, garden hose, can of beer and burger flipper and ending with a guitar made from a “genuine Mississippi licence plate” to close the show with ‘You Can’t Teach an Old Dog New Tricks’ and ‘Bring It On’ before thanking the audience for having him and leaving stage to fulsome applause.

Hunger struck and I have to admit I once again caved to the Raclette stand. This time a portion of fries laden with melted cheese, pickled gherkins and cabbage which was genuinely excellent.

Recovered from his Fireman Sam interrupted Qi Gong session, Kevin Rowland and Dexy’s welcomed the crowd into The Garden for the last set in the tent of the weekend and brought a party atmosphere to Wychwood.

Rowland shows no signs of slowing down for a man in his 70’s and the audience were lapping it up. Dresed in a colourful outfit and trademark hat, Rowland led the band through covers of The Bee Gees’ ‘To Love Somebody’ and Van Morrison’s ‘Jackie Wilson Said’ interspersed the set full of Dexy’s hits including ‘Geno’ and ‘Come On Eileen’.

Darkness has fallen on the festival site and it’s another chance for the 90’s to shine on Sam’s Stage as Ocean Colour Scene close out the weekend. The Birmingham band’s Moseley Shoals album chartered at number two in the UK when it came out in 1996 – 28 years ago – and was packed with iconic Britpop anthems.

One of these being ‘The Riverboat Song’ which the band started their just over an hour long set with. The song’s iconic riff, most associated with TGI Friday, started and the audience was taken back to that warm summer back in ’96 and nostalgia was rife once more. Simon Fowler’s instantly recognisable vocal filled the night’s sky as Steve Craddock dutifully unleashed iconic riff after iconic riff onto the Wychwood crowd – however the line-up was slightly different for this evening as drummer Oscar Harrison had sustained a “Strange grass injury” according to Fowler and was replaced on stage by Harrison’s son.

The family affair continued with Steve Craddock’s son Cassius also joining the line up to give Sister Sledge a run for their money!

With an earlier start and finish to the last show of the weekend OCS knew a singalong was needed to complete the weekend for people and after a 100 mile an hour version of ‘Hundred Mile High City’ from the band’s third album Marchin’ Already they duly delivered. ‘The Day We Caught the Train’ reached number four in the charts but is definitely number one in the hearts of those singing along with the “Oh-oh la-la” chorus long into the night and after the lights had gone out.

And that was that! Wychwood 2024 was over and it was time for the revellers to make their ways home to bed.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Wychwood Festival is a belter! There were some changes this year, not all of which were universally popular, but the site was heavily affected by the record-breaking rainfall over the last six months and the crews managed to put on a brilliant show on despite that hurdle. The festival has an authentically family friendly focus, with plenty on offer to keep the kids entertained while allowing parents a bit of a break and some fantastic bands. With so many festivals already cancelling this year, we’re lucky to have an event like Wychwood.

Next year will be Wychwood’s 25th anniversary which is a testament to the vision of the team behind the festival and it wouldn’t surprise me if they bring out the big guns with the line-up. Summer Festival Guide will be all over the announcements as they come, so watch this space!

Wychwood – second wave of acts announced for 2024!

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

Kendal Calling 2017

Heading to Kendal Calling for the second time, I pack my bags with excitement and made my way to the beautiful Lake District to attend one of the best smaller festivals the UK has to offer. There really is something special about the place, the stunning views, forests and ancient woodlands surround you with a warm atmosphere filled with revelers that keep the spirits of the festival alive.

For those that gained early entry into the festival, Thursday night took us back to the 80’s with a raucous start from the Happy Mondays, by leading straight into Hallelujah. Whilst the band may be more famous for their laddish charm and stage antics, Bez owned the stage by shaking his maracas and danced in his unique way that kept the audience chanting for more, a perfect act to hype up a crowd that waited for Scottish rockers Franz Ferdinand. Proving why they keep going from strength to strength, these guys filled the site with an electric crowd that sang along to all the hits including Do You Want To, Take Me Out and No You Girls.    

Friday marked the beginning of the festivals first full day, with the likes of Kate Nash, DMA’s, Circa Waves, Jake Bugg and headliners Stereophonics on the bill. Kate Nash entertained in her colourful one piece, standing side by side with her female twin bassist and guitarist, conveniently dressed in their matching Kate Nash T-Shirts.

Making their debut at Kendal were Australian band DMA’s. Taking us back to the 90’s with an indie influence and the attitude of Liam Gallagher, lead singer Tommy remained static and lack luster, yet still managed to command the crowd. Circa Waves, Jake Bugg and the Stereophonics all took to the main stage on Friday night, however a bland and aged Stereophonics were unimpressive, and like many others, I headed off after the first song and made my way straight to the Calling Out stage to support South Londoner Hip Hop artist Loyle Carner. There’s no surprises this guy has been nominated for a Mercury Prize, charismatic and humble, and not afraid to shout out his love for his mum, this 22 year old will have no problem gaining a huge fan base.  Carner proved why he is destined to be one of the UK’s biggest Hip Hop artists and the crowd sealed their support by singing a long to favourites Ain’t Nothing Changed and NO CD.

Saturday provided an electic line up, with a great selection of up and coming bands playing the Calling Out stage including crowd favourites Honeyblood, Field Music and Shame, whilst the main stage lineup took us down memory lane with rockers Reverend and the Makers, Feeder, Editors, Brian Wilson presents Pet Sounds and Manic Street Preachers all showing us why they reserve a slot on the main stage.

For the Beach Boys fans out there, Brian Wilson delivered classic after classic hits including California Girls, Surfin’ USA and Good Vibrations.  At 75 years old and fragile looking, Brian proved why his legacy of work will never be forgotten. Both Editors and Manic Street Preachers ignited the crowds with an equally energetic performance from both sides, with Manics kicking off their set with Motorcycle Emptiness and Editors front man Tom Smith baring a resemblance for Michael Stipe with his opener to Cold.

Drawing to a close with a spectacular fireworks display as Tinie Tempah closed the main stage, Sunday night proved to be a success. Lethal Bizzle pumped up the crowd with an equally impressive mosh pit to match. The fans continued to show their support by lighting up flares and smoke bombs for non conforming Slaves, who electrified the crowd. Seasick Steve returned to the festival for a captivating performance and Frank Turner & The Sleeping Souls performed an impressive 19 song set list. With a muddy 25,000 revellers enjoying the vast array of music, arts, markets and cinema, Kendal Calling has something for everyone.  Main stage aside, Kendal Calling has so much more to offer, compact in size you can get lost in the woodlands or head to Chai Wallah to listen to some cutting edge music. Whatever your preference, Kendal Calling is a must go to festival for all.

More photos here

Photos and review by Olivia Frayman 

Alt-J, Portishead, Noel Gallahers High Flying Birds and more set for Latitude 2015

Latitude today announces the line-up for their 10th Edition which takes place Thursday 16th to Sunday 19th July 2015 in the stunning grounds of Henham Park, Suffolk.

Ten years ago Latitude Festival creator Melvin Benn set out to rewrite the festival rulebook, showing that music lovers could also be culture lovers, by creating the UK’s first multi arts boutique festival set out to challenge the festival status quo

First to headline Latitude’s Obelisk Arena on Friday night is a band close to Latitude’s heart; Mercury Prize-winning art-rockers alt-J. Having delivered outstanding sets on smaller Latitude stages over the years, 2015’s triumphant return promises to be a special moment for all who have witnessed their incredible Latitude journey. With a recent sold out arena tour and two critically acclaimed albums, the Leeds trio will no doubt give the Latitude audience a stunning set.

Portishead will give a rare UK appearance as they top the bill on Saturday. Emerging in 1994 with landmark album Dummy, Portishead have remained adventurous and uncompromising throughout their 20-year career.  Compelling, provoking and moving; this will be an unmissable performance.

Closing Latitude this year is an outfit fronted by one of Britain’s most loved musical figures; Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds. Song-writing pioneer and out-spoken cultural icon, Gallagher’s relevance has never faltered and Latitude is delighted to welcome him and his latest band to their 10th anniversary Edition. Performing tracks from the recent critically acclaimed album Chasing Yesterday (which Gallagher produced as well as wrote), plus plenty of classic sing-along Oasis tracks, this will be a closing show to be remembered.

Quotes from headliners:

"We are hugely excited to return to Latitude for the third time. Playing there has always been so memorable. Latitude has always supported us, and to go from playing the smaller stages to this means it will be a night of celebration."


“I've been to Latitude before as a festival goer and really enjoyed it I think the effort they put into their whole programming –  music,  comedy and  film  –  is what makes it a great festival to  be part of. And  I'm really looking forward to it.” Geoff Barrow from Portishead

“I love the vibe at Latitude and the location. Good forward thinking programming as well, I played a couple of years ago in the cinema tent with a silent film project I was doing and it was a really good experience…looking forward to this one very much.” Adrian Utley from Portishead

 “Well not only have I never played at Latitude before, but I’ve never even been there, ever. So yes, I’m really looking forward to headlining the Festival on July 19th” Noel Gallagher

Other special appearances on the Obelisk Arena will include a selection of some of today’s most exciting and respected British artists; we start off by welcoming Nicky Wire back to Latitude ten years down the line with the legendary Manic Street Preachers who will be performing a selection of loved tracks from their varied and extraordinary career, Canadian electronica-maestro Caribou, electronic auteur James Blake will return for a third time, and both soul sensation Lianne La Havas and folk singer-songwriter Laura Marling for a second and all with new albums to share. Festival favourites, Wild Beasts return to share their latest critically acclaimed album with us and we also welcome the soulful Mancunian JP Cooper to Henham Park for the first time.

Gracing us from all corners of the globe are four time Grammy award nominee Nigerian musician Femi Kuti & The Positive Force, transfixing Swedish singer-songwriter and Latitude favourite José González, American soul singer Benjamin Brooker, blues veteran Seasick Steve, and soul veteran Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens will be bringing us her Daptone released gospel music.

This year the BBC Radio 6 Music Stage will host even more exciting musical treats including headline sets from three accomplished British acts; top of the bill on Friday is pioneering sonic technician Jon Hopkins, platinum selling rock band The Vaccines will headline on Saturday, and a festival exclusive show from SBTRKT who will close the stage on Sunday night with his soulful and textured take on electronic music preceded by the highly acclaimed live show from La Roux.

Other acts set to play on the coveted BBC Radio 6 Music Stage include; Catfish And The Bottlemen who have risen up through the Latitude stages, all-female punk rockers Savages, acclaimed alternative pop group Django Django, London-based pseudonymous musical duo Public Service Broadcasting and Americana four piece The Districts. With forty albums under his belt King Creosote is back to perform songs from an extensive career and has previously graced both the Poetry Arena and iArena at Latitude, also announced today is American musician and legend The Thurston Moore Band and two-piece grunge band Drenge.

Esteemed artist Mark Kozelek brings Sun Kil Moon to Latitude, also announced are Years & Years with their eccentric blend of R&B and 90’s house, and Mercury Prize winners Young Fathers returning for round three, South London’s Kwabs, alternative rock group Wolf Alice, and BBC Sound Poller SOAK is also on the bill as well as exclusive performances from Toro Y Moi and Unknown Mortal Orchestra.

Announced acts for the i Arena include one of electronic music’s most renowned talents, Warp Records cult artist Clark who headlines Saturday. Joining the festival to headline Sunday are London based musical duo Joe Goddard (Hot Chip) and Raf Rundell otherwise known as The 2 Bears. Also announced; the unique and the distinctive Adult Jazz, hot new talent Jack Garratt, multi-instrumentalist DM Stith, blues  rock experimentalist Duke Garwood hugely talented singer songwriter Shura, the incredibly refreshing indie rockers Gengahr, Texan gospel and soul songster Leon Bridges and folk-pop star Marika Hackman. .

Joining the eclectic line-up are; Icelandic ambient techno duo Kiasmos, hotly-tipped twin sister musical duo Ibeyi, post-punk indie rock band The Twilight Sad, captivating singer Nadine Shah, soul powerhouse Curtis Harding, Norwegian singer songwriter Susanne Sundfør and the brilliant, all-female Swedish pop-quartet Dolores Haze outrageous King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard who specialise in psychedelic tunes!

The People's Ear will present a line-up essential to create a heat to warm the ears from 11pm-3am every night on the iArena. Acts include self-taught musical craftsmen Ben UFO, three of the most innovative names in electronic music – untouchable London wordsmiths The Four Owls, Grammy nominated funk master Werkha (Live) and his live band, musician, three-piece DJ EZ, producer Monki and Alexander Nut and tropical bass heroes The Busy Twist. Expect and believe!

In an exclusive festival appearance at Latitude, Gareth Malone will this year be putting together a unique choir of Latitude festival goers. Ticket holders will have the opportunity to apply to be part of this 100-strong group who will rehearse at several points over the weekend, culminating in a Main Stage lunchtime performance on Sunday 19th July. In addition, Gareth and his Voices choir will be performing on the Waterfront Stage on Saturday 18th July.’                                                              


Over the last ten years Latitude’s comedy line-up has set the bar for summer festivals, offering the Latitude audience a unique opportunity to see some of the biggest names in the business all over the same weekend. It’s also the first chance to see the acts destined to make waves in Edinburgh later in the summer.

Headlining this special 10th Edition year will be national treasure Alan Davies, the longstanding QI panellist is well-known for his glorious insight into worldviews. Growing up in the ‘70s, losing his mother as a little boy, the vagaries of Facebook, sex toys and being a father are just some of the subjects he tackles.

Festival organisers are hugely excited to announce Jason Manford to headline the Comedy Arena. Renowned for his hilarious observations and loveable, friendly delivery, Jason has been a firm favourite with comedy fans of all ages since his first solo stand-up show earned him huge critical acclaim. The Perrier nominated comic won Chortle Breakthrough Act in 2006, Latitude’s inaugural year, and has risen to become one of the UK’s favourite TV comics.

2013 British Comedy Award Best Male Comic nominee, and Live At The Apollo star, Jon Richardson is one of the UK's brightest and immensely likeable stand up heroes. Back with a brand new stand-up routine to delight audiences, Time Out call him ‘Sublimely brilliant, stunning…He is a comic right on the verge of greatness. If you haven’t seen him yet, get your finger out and sort it!

Off the back of his hugely successful Channel 4 TV show ‘Catastrophe’ Rob Delaney brings his performance to the Suffolk setting. Voted the funniest man on Twitter, Latitude welcomes Rob’s hilarious but sometimes dark anecdotes and tales to the festival for the first time.

Australian comedian and television presenter Adam Hills best known for hosting The Last Leg on Channel 4 will bring his combination of positive uplifting comedy and rampant spontaneity to the Comedy Arena.

Another award-winning comic performing at the festival this year is Jack Dee. Best known for his sarcasm and deadpan humour, he takes a break from being everyone’s favourite grumpster to lend a helping hand to Latitude Festival goers with his side splittingly funny show Help Desk where he will be joined by a panel of star comedians from the festival line up to offer expert advice on the Latitude audience’s problems.

Perrier Award winning Irish comedian David O’Doherty will bring his stand-up routine to the festival this summer. Also on the bill is; Latitude’s resident prankster Josh Widdicombe, Canadian super comic Katherine Ryan, one of many stand out female comics programmed for the festival this year. With a formidable reputation on the live circuit and high profile TV appearances to her name, Katherine will pull out all the stops this summer.

This year’s festival will host; self-proclaimed “spit and sawdust” performer Shappi Khorsandi, Best Show nominee at the Edinburgh Fosters Comedy Awards in 2014 Sara Pascoe, brilliant Scottish comedian Daniel Sloss, top of the 2015 tipster list Dane Baptiste,  lyrical anti-lad, Liam Williams, the hugely popular Holly Walsh, the effortlessly talented Joe Lycett, fantastic bombastic star of the hit show ‘What Would Beyonce Do’s Luisa Omelian, ventriloquist Nina Conti with her popular puppet characters and Viral Tap star Matt Richardson who all join the 10th Edition celebrations.


Following from his sold out Barbican shows, we are hugely excited to announce that piano virtuoso Chilly Gonzales will be performing his new album Chambers on the Waterfront Stage with the Kaiser Quartett. Switching gears from his 2013 collaborations with Grammy winners Daft Punk and Drake, Gonzales’ Latitude show will be an entertaining and intimate experience orchestrated especially with Hamburg’s Kaiser Quartett displaying his inimitable touch. This will be a stunning highlight of the festival and it is not to be missed.

Since 2008 Sadler’s Wells has presented a special programme of dance at Latitude Festival to audiences in excess of 40,000 people across the years. This summer the theatre returns for an eighth consecutive year, presenting a diverse programme on the outdoor Waterfront Stage that will appeal to audiences of all ages and that reflects the theatre’s reputation for presenting world class dance in all its forms. Full line-up to be announced.


At the heart of Latitude the Poetry Arena showcases the very best stand up and beat poets, alongside laureates and literary legends. Headlining this year’s Poetry Arena will be the former laureate and award winning poet Simon Armitage CBE who is described by Poetry Review as “the front man of his generation”.

Tim Key, star and creator of Radio 4’s Late Night Poetry Programme Tim Key is as a poet, actor, comic and film star, appearing as Alan Partridge’s sidekick in Mid-Morning Matters and Alpha Papa. A brilliant poet and Edinburgh Perrier Award winner we are delighted he will be joining us in the Poetry Arena this year.

Children’s favourite and recently appointed professor of Children’s Literature at Goldsmiths and presenter of Word of Mouth on Radio 4 Michael Rosen joins the celebrations. Last year Michael packed the Poetry Arena to the rafters. Number one poet of the parents, Michael was the subject of a recent viral campaign to hire him as Education Minister.

Punk Rock legend, performance poet and Latitude favourite the inimitable Doctor John Cooper Clarke is expected to bring a new collection of poetry. A seminal influence on punk the voice of Manchester and beat poets everywhere, expect a ferociously funny performance and make sure you get a seat early.

Smashing into the Poetry Arena to read his latest poems will be BBC Three’s ‘Uncle’ writer and star Nick Helm, his hilarious stand up style has been described as ‘brash and bullish’.


The first name announced for the Film & Music Stage is Brit Award nominated George the Poet. A poet for the people, George mixes social and political comment with humour to demonstrate his passion for poetry as a powerful tool to educate the masses.  George delivers an unforgettable live performance, which consists of a hypnotic blend of poetry and rap.


The Kids Arena keeps children entertained all day and into the night with everything from pond dipping & astronomy to pizza making and night-time disco and fire-show. There’s something for everyone! Use traditional tools or pan for gold, explore the woods or ID animal bones!…investigate a crime scene or head to the Kids Theatre for shows, music, drama classes and puppetry. There are giant crafts from building with architects to shaping willow, working with clay, knitting, felting or getting busy with a million stickers! Amazing activities come from a range of trusted names, from Macmillan’s Children’s Books to the Zoological Society of London, Suffolk Wildlife Trust to the Woodcraft Folk and many more.

The Inbetweeners’ Teen Area is a hidden woodland wonderland-offering teenagers a packed weekend. Chose music, media, fashion and technology workshops, including; a live stage, new DJ Academy and chill-out area with Culture Works East and Access to Music. Or join our friends from Greenpeace; tackle wildlife, bush-craft and survival skills or get physical with climbing nets and a zip wire suspended high in the trees – a real walk on the wild side!


Other Voices will bring a little bit of musical magic from its spiritual home on the Wild Atlantic Way in the West of Ireland to Suffolk for this year’s Latitude Festival. Now in its fourteenth year, Other Voices has previously accepted invitations from Le Poisson Rouge in New York City, Wilton’s Music Hall in London and The Glassworks in Derry-Londonderry during their Festival of Culture in 2013. 

This year Latitude welcomes, Solas, a new spa area providing an oasis of calm by day and meticulous merriment by night. Meaning ‘light’ in Irish, Solas invites festival goers to learn the art of chilling out. Take refuge in the specially designed holistic area where expert therapists will soothe the mind and body with massages, yoga, treatments and workshops to ease and appease, while indulgence meets decadence in bubbling hot-tubs and seaweed baths. Dotted throughout the zone will be a hand-picked selection of installations; unwind under a canopy of reflective art and light and expand your mind as you investigate the sonic robotics of Indonesian inspired Gamelatron

As darkness unfolds, Solas will become an intimate​ tableau of late-night party corners. A piano bar sunk into the forest floor will entertain and ignite, while the ElectroShack spins a dizzying array of upbeat earworms. Jump on the furniture and make yourself at home at My Club House, peer across the festival grounds from the secret Hilltop Hideaway, or shed your 21st century cool and embrace the sunshine kitsch at Body Holiday.

Sky Arts returns for the 10th celebrations to bring fans highlights from the Latitude weekend. Two 120minute jam packed shows of performances, interviews and highpoints will be televised the weekend after the festival.

The final of Sky Arts ​Guitar Star, a major new competition to search for a world-class guitarist, will film the winning player performing on Latitude’s Obelisk Arena. For more information visit: http://www.sky.com/tv/show/guitar

This year for the first time ever Latitude will be partnering with ActionAid a leading international development charity who support women and children living in extreme poverty. They work to help empower women and children to fight for their own rights and to create lasting change.

By day, the new ActionAid tent will be home to creative craft workshops, games and festival fun activities and by night the tent will transform into a late-night party venue with DJ’s playing until the early hours. Look out for signings and guest DJ sets from some of the festival acts too.

With support from Festival Republic and Firebrand merchandise, ActionAid will also be teaming up with one of the 2015 Latitude acts to create a limited Edition festival item which will be available to buy exclusively at the festival. All proceeds will go towards supporting ActionAid’s work to change lives for good.

Latitude is synonymous with the perfect festival experience, and this year organisers are going one step further with Latitude’s Charity Concierge. Imagine someone going to the bar for you…putting up your tent….even holding your place in the queue for the Comedy Stage or Theatre tent. Latitude’s team of 100 enthusiastic volunteers will be offering these services throughout the arena and in some campsites, to raise money for the Kenyan Orphan Project. And Festival Republic will match fund every penny. The team are aiming to raise £50,000 so lie back in the sunshine and let someone else do the leg work!

Kendal Calling 2013 Review

Penrith, home to Kendal Calling, in its 8th year this small boutique festival transports you into a fantasy playground. Expect house parties, fancy dress, entertainers and an array of hidden gems that will brighten up the beautiful surronding’s that is Cumbria, the Lake District.

Spread across 8 areas – main stage, glow tent, calling out, chai wallah, house party, riot jazz, woodlands, jagermesiter, and songsmith solar, there is plenty of music and activities to chose from.
The site itself is conveniently laid out, and considering the size of the small size of the festival, it offers a wide varitey of activities to chose from. For families with young children, there is a ladybird kids area where parenets can relax whilst the kids have fun, and if ale is your chosen tipple, head straight to the ale tent where you will find a selection of local ales.
The main stage on Friday saw the likes of Clean Bandit, Willy Moon, Public Enemy and Basement Jaxx take to the stage whilst The Lightning Seeds played an acoustic set in the calling out tent, shortly followed by Theme Park. And if dance music is more your thing then head straight to the glow tent, where you were treated to music by Artwork, Jackmaster, Bondax, Oneman and Dismantle spinning tunes into the early hours of the morning.
Public Enemy provided an energetic performance that had the crowd jumping in unison. Flava Flav was last to make an appearance onto the 10 strong band line up, and he’s energy and stage presence was worth the wait. Working the crowd and jumping around, he entertained and the crowd followed pursuit. At one point he asked the photographers to stay for an extra song as he didn’t want them to miss out on the next performance. A hard act to follow, but Basement Jaxx were next on the bill, closing the main stage on friday, The brightly colourful dance duo walked onto the stage and blew the audience away. Playing an array of feel good anthems such as Romeo, Where’s Your Head At, Oh My Gosh and Rendevous along with special guests Vula Malinga and lisa Kekaula, a perfect ending to a sun kissed evening.
Public Enemy @ Kendal Calling
Saturday’s line up included Mickey P Kerr, Dutch Uncles, The Twang, The D.O.T, Ash, I am Kloot, The Charlatans, Dub Pistols and British Sea Power gracing the stages in the heavy down poor. Mickey P Kerr provided the audience with an entertaining set, including a track called Banned from Morrisons that had everyone joining in with the chorus and it wasn’t long before everyone was in fits of laughter.
Ash @ Kendal Calling
Ash played a mixture of old classics and some tracks from their latest album that got everyone in the mood for the evenings headliner, The Charlatans. Playing a string of hits including The Only One I Know, One to Another, My Beautiful Friend, Tellin’ Stories and North Country Boy. An impressive set from a legendary band who proved why the main stage belonged to them and rocked the crowd into a frenzy.
By Sunday a lot of revellers had left the site due to the heavy rain, but the majority of people stuck it out in anticipation for seeing some iconic artists including the legendary Primal Scream. But before the nights headliners, a great selection of bands were on offer, including the witty Beans on Toast, who sang about sex, drugs, Tesco’s and politics. Entertaining the crowd, he had everyone in fits of laughter. Irish newcomers Kodaline took to the main stage to provide audiences with a selection of songs including High Hopes, to be shortly followed by The Mystery Jets.
The iconic and infamous Johnny Marr made an entrance onto the main stage and second song in he sang The Smiths classic Stop Me If You Think You’ve Heard This One Before, followed by I Fought the Law and Bigmouth Strikes Again.
The amazing bluesman Seasick Steve wowed the crowds with his personalised guitars and soulful voice, whilst The 1975 had the teenage girls screaming for more. And as the sun settled over Lowther Deer Park Primal Scream made a late entrance onto the main stage. Singing their classic hits including Movin’ On Up, Loaded, Jailbird and Rocks, they entertained and closed the festival in style.
If you’re looking for a small family friendly festival then head to Kendal Calling, it offers everything you can expect from a festival with a fancy dress theme on Saturday. Let your fun side out and join in the fun!
Photos by Olivia Frayman from Kendal Calling are here

Lounge on the Farm 2013 Review

LOTF is your typical local festival and the title of the festival explains it all, you lounge on Merton farm and enjoy great music!  So much so, there were sofas dotted around the farm for festival fans to relax and enjoy the atmosphere.  As well as this, a variety of street food stalls from Indian, Mexican, Thai and even local Merton burgers from the farm were available.  Not only was there music to enjoy over five stages, there was also a family funfair and craft stalls where  sewing classes and craft classes were available should you wish to partake.

To kick Friday off, the line-up included, amongst others Coco and The Butterfields, who gave a quirky performance with their mix of hip-hop and folk sound; Beans on Toast, who sings about sex, drugs and politics… nevertheless, you cannot ignore the man’s witty song writing abilities which had the crowd both laughing and singing along at the same time and Lucy Rose who gave a chilled out performance, which captivated the audience and certainly had everyone excited for Friday’s headliner.

Whilst waiting for Seasick Steve to arrive on stage the crowd were surprised suddenly by a flash mob style brass band who started playing amongst them.  The band played contemporary hits, with their own twist.  They made several appearances over the weekend popping up all over the festival in various places to play their set to the festival go-ers.

Seasick Steve @ Lounge on the Farm

Seasick Steve was the first headliner to perform on the main stage at LOFT.  Performing with his many customised guitars and accompanied by his drummer, he gave an intimate and relaxed performance.  His set included hits ‘Self-Sufficient Man’, ‘Don’t Know Why She Loves Me But She Do’ and ‘Started Out With Nothin’, which rounded off a great first day on the main stage.

However the festival still carried on until the early hours of the morning, so I checked out DJ legend David Rodigan’s performance in the Hoe Down tent.  The tent was packed with people of all ages raving out to Rodigan’s selection of Reggae and Dancehall hits.

Saturday arrived and with it euphoric indie band, Eliza and The Bear, Tribes who rocked out the main stage, Willy Moon who gave a classy performance, which involved his hit ‘Yeah Yeah’, which most people would recognise from the Apple iPod advert.  By the time Man Like Me took to the stage, the heavens opened and Lounge on the Farm was flooded with torrential down pour and thunderstorms.  However this didn’t stop the crowd enjoying Man like Me’s energetic performance.

Although the wellies had to come out, by the time Jessie Ware graced the stage the rain eventually stopped, which topped off her performance.  The up and coming star sang all her hits from her debut album ‘Devotion’ including ‘Wildest Moments’, ‘Imagine It Was Us’ and ‘If You’re Never Gonna Move’.  Ware mentioned that LOTF was the first festival that she has headlined, with this in mind, I though she gave an excellent performance and was one of the highlights of the whole weekend.

Lounge on the Farm

After Jessie Ware’s performance and for a change of scenery I checked out the Boom and Bang Circus feat. Kitty Bang Bang.  The show consisted of eccentric and show-stopping acts, including burlesque dancing, comedy acts and fire-eaters to name a few.  It certainly was a different style of entertainment to see at a festival, but nevertheless extremely entertaining.

The last day of the festival arrived all too quickly and I must admit, I was a little sad by this point but excited at the same time as the last day consisted of a few musical legends.  The day’s line-up included indie/rock band Siblings, Art Ferguson’s Big Blues Band, who gave an amazing show that had the crowd dancing merrily, Reggae legends, Aswad who gave a jammin’ performance and Dub Pistols, a lively show that had the crowd jumping and dancing throughout their entire set.

Soul II Soul feat. Caron Wheeler closed the festival.  Despite the late start, the group gave a performance worthy of their closing spot and rounded off the end of the festival nicely.  Their set including their renowned hits ‘Keep on Movin’ and ‘Back to Life’ which had the older members of crowd dancing and singing along to their heart’s content.

It was hard to fault LOTF, it has the whole package for a small festival.  I particularly liked the real local festival vibe, which some big festivals sometimes lack due to their size and the size of the attending crowd.  Despite this year’s headliners not being as ‘renowned’ as the festival’s past headliners (Ellie Goulding, Emelie Sande, The Streets), I still feel the headliners this year gave top-notch performances all round and were worthy of their spots.  The only criticism I could possibly give the festival, is the distance between the main stage and the crowd was unnecessarily wide, so much so Jessie Ware and Seasick Steve to name a few even complained at how far away they were from the crowd.  This almost defeated the point of the intimate feel small festivals are meant to give, so let’s hope this is an improvement that is made for LOTF 2014!

For images of Lounge on the Farm 2013 please click here.

Kendal Calling 2013 SOLD OUT plus Live Stream info

Kendal Calling is thrilled to announce that it has sold out for an incredible 8thsuccessive year as music and arts lovers head to the beautiful Lake District for what promises to be the best Kendal Calling yet.  Hundreds of acts will be performing over the weekend including Primal ScreamBasement JaxxThe CharlatansPublic EnemySeasick Steve, Johnny Marr, British Sea Power, The D.O.T and many more artists across 12 stages over 3 days. 

Public Enemy

Kendal Calling promoter Ben Robinson comments “Big love from everyone on the Kendal Calling team to all those attending this years event.  We can't wait for the show to begin, we have some reals treats & surprises in store for you all on site.  We are also extremely excited about our first live stream, we have some amazing content coming to everyones homes!

Kendal Calling has also announced that the festival will be streamed live via a partnership with Dailymotion, the world’s second largest video portal.  Live performances from key can be views on www.kendalcalling.com or on the Dailymotion.

Marc Eychenne, Head of International Content at Dailymotion, said: “2013 is the Summer of Festivals on Dailymotion – building on the 50 million hours of live music we have already streamed – and Kendal Calling is one of the leading events we are showing.

Kendal Calling announce 80 new acts

Kendal Calling has pulled together its best ever line up as the multi award winning festival returns for the eight time to its stunning base in the Lake District, widely acclaimed as the most beautiful festival site in the UK.  With huge headliners Primal Scream, Basement Jaxx and the Charlatans headlining respective nights and special guests such as Public Enemy, Seasick Steve, Johnny Marr and many more taking to the stage over a wonderful musical weekend, Kendal Calling is a must for those who love their festivals small and perfectly formed. 
Leading a brand new wave of confirmed artist is Warwickshire songstress Lucy Rose who is spearheading the second wave of nu-folk pioneers.  This singer songwriter’s heart-stoppingly poignant songs and crack porcelain voice could melt the stoniest of hearts and she will be performing tracks from her critically acclaimed debut album ‘Like I Used To’.
DJ Yoda was instrumental in creating the bootleg ‘cut-up’ mixing style.  From hip-hop beginnings, DJ Yoda has evolved in the past ten years, using his turntable skills and diverse influences as varied as Funk, B-more, Kuduro, Reggae, Drum ‘n’ Bass and even Big Band Swing and Country & Western to make unashamed party music. He can be found cutting the Indiana Jones theme with woofer-worrying Dubstep or The Muppet Theme with MIA.  Trail-blazing into the world of the audio-visual he pioneered a new artform, using cutting edge technology that he has been instrumental in developing, to scratch and mix visuals on top of his DJ sets in the clubs.  DJ Yoda has transformed the average night out into a fusion of clubbing and the movies.
Birmingham boys The Twang write great British indie rock anthems and will be performing tracks from their three studio albums whilst seminal electronic outfit and Manchester music legends, 808 State will be perform a euphoric DJ set of classic acid house.  Psychedelic sonic adventurer Richard Norris will also take to the decks alongside house music legend Ashley Beedle.
Clean Bandit are a band built around a string quartet, mixing classical, hip hop and house to mesmerising effect.  This is a must see show and the band will be performing their hit single Mozart’s House.  Elite Force is one of the leading proponents of the emergent tech-funk movement, fusing house, breaks, electro & techno whilst Maribou State are one of the hottest production and DJ outfits in the country, regularly tearing up dance floors across the UK.  Manchester drum & bass and dubstep disciples North Base will have the crowds jumping whilst Maths Time Joy’s otherworldly productions are deep and mesmeric.
This year’s fancy dress theme is Kendal Calling Goes To The Movies and is £115 for a full weekend ticket with camping.
Lowther Deer Park, Hackthorpe, The Lake District
 Misty Miller / CHAMPS / Fossil Collective / Rubylux / Sykur / Monster Monster / Wolfie Razmatazz / Heymoonshaker / Birth of Joy / By The Rivers / More Like Trees / Polaroid 85 / Resonators / Tako Lako / Will & The People / Willie & The Bandits / Cherub / Bandeoke / Andy Hunt presents The Breakfast Club / BMX Bandits / Dunwells / The Last Party / Juveniles / Planes / Room Full of Mirrors / Seamus Mcloughlin / Camp Stag / The Righteous Bees / Tomorrow We Sail / Horace B.Murphy 3rd & Friends / Cavan Moran / Ocelus / Mikey J / Arnivore! / Roc Vicar / Lancaster Speakeasy / Robin Walker / Marris Chestnut / Tom Woodland / Freear / Chris Flynn / Dr Butlers / Hard And Monkey / Holly Clarke / Kriss Foster / Lazlo Baby / Lumberjack Cowboy / Molly Warburton / Quincey Brown / Poeticat / Taylor And The Mason / The Dead Indians  / The Yossarians / Death to the Strange / Carnival Moon / Specs / Papa Guns / The Flat Cap 3 / Naymedici / Walk Like Fool Does / Ottersgear / DJ Sister Matic / V J Eefee / Popeye


Jessie Ware to headline Lounge on the Farm

The next wave of exciting acts has today been announced for Lounge on the Farm Festival, taking place on 26th-28th July at Merton Farm in Kent.

Leading the way is pop-songstress Jessie Ware, who will join main stage headlinersSeasick Steve and Soul II Soul at the top of the bill. Expect ethereal, sultry vocals and her own brand of down-tempo elecronica, as South London’s finest export treats festival-goers to a headline performance to remember.

Jessie Ware

London indie-ska boys, Man Like Me, will also be ditching London for the fresh Canterbury air and will join Jessie on the burgeoning bill. Grit-glam boys Tribes, are also confirmedalong with rising hip-hop star, Willy Moon, Kent based Broken Hands and the hotly tipped Blaenavon.

Over on the ‘FarmFolk’ stage, things are just as exciting with the arrival of Ethan Johns, headlining Saturday night. Known for his work producing Kings of Leon, Tom Jones, Laura Marling, don’t miss the chance to see this musical troubadour in action. Singer-songwriterDuke Special and Farewell JR will also take to the ‘FarmFolk’ stage.

Elsewhere on the bill, Lounge on the Farm favourites Scratch Perverts – DJs Tony Vegas, Prime Cuts and Plus One have also been confirmed. Expect a roof-raising, fist-pumping set as the break-beat legends give it some serious welly.

Over on The Farmhouse Lounge on the Farm are really mixing it up with Hidden Orchestra. This quartet from Edinburgh make music that incorporates and redefines elements of jazz, classical, rock, hip hop and electronic to form a deeply original and cohesive whole. Prepare to be amazed!

Kendal Calling Festival announce a wapping 85 new acts

Kendal Calling is proud to announce legendary and controversial American Hip-Hop group Public Enemy will be touching down in the fields for a rare UK festival appearance. With Chuck D’s forcefully enlightening rhymes, and the chaotic, comic of Flavor Flav’s cuts (not to mention his oversized clocks!) this is simply not to be missed. 

Public Enemy

 Also flying the flag for the US in the festivals latest line-up additions is Steven Gene Wold, commonly known as Seasick Steve. Born in Oakland, California and now in his seventies, Steve has been singing the blues and playing guitar since the age of eight. Steve began playing music for a living in the early 1960s, in bands and as a solo musician, but it was not until he played on Later… with Jools Holland on New Year’s Eve in 2006 that he made his breakthrough in the UK.
Johnny Marr formed The Smiths in 1982 when he was just 18 and they went onto become one of the most important bands in the history of music and Johnny Marr one of the greatest guitarists the UK has ever produced. Post The Smiths, Marr has spent his time playing guitar in a succession of great acts such as The PretendersThe TheElectronicModest Mouse and The Cribsbringing a shimmering majesty to their recordings and live shows and finally released his debut solo album The Messenger which has been met with huge critical acclaim.
The D.O.T is a collaboration between Mike Skinner (The Streets) and Rob Harvey (the Music), the relationship was formed when Mike and Rob’s former bands would cross paths on the touring circuit and solidified when Mike asked Rob to accompany him on the final Streets tour. Mike and Rob soon then put in some studio time and revealed in the freedom to make music for it’s own sake. With no need to conform to a specific style, or satisfy a record label’s scheduling demands, there gradually evolved the sound you hear now in their second album Diary (out 6th May). As well as The D.O.T set the critically acclaimed urban poet laureate and The Streets frontman Mike Skinner returns to the fields for a very special DJ set in the Glow Dance Tent.
The Woodland area returns for it’s second year but this time round it will feature the cream of the regional crop with rising stars from Morecambe The Heartbreaks, Preston’s Techniques, Kendal band The Feud, Lake District starlet Fiona Clayton plus many more of the regions hidden gems to discover.
More acts across all 12 stages are to be announced as well as attractions, the Real Ale Festival, Comedy, spoken word & arts, Ladybird children’s area and much more over the next few months – all for only £115!
Calling Out stage is brought to you in conjunction with Gigwise on Friday 26th and DIY on Saturday 27th.
Friday: Theme Park, The Lightening Seeds Acoustic, The 1975, Nina Nesbitt, Waylayers, Champs
Gigwise is the UK's No.1 music news website, packed with the latest goings on from the world of music plus interviews, photos, reviews and big exclusive from the world's biggest artists.gigwise.com
Saturday: British Sea Power, London Grammar, Sons & Lovers, Silhouette, Sweet Baboo, Peter and Kerry, Fiona Clayton, Grammotones, All We Are
DIY covers the best in new and alternative music through it's free monthly print magazine, weekly digital publication and long standing website, thisisfakediy.co.uk