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!

INTERVIEWED! The Coral at Wychwood 2024

Wychwood Festival

The Coral frontman James Skelly took time out before their Saturday evening slot at Wychwood Festival to speak with Summer Festival Guide about plans for the future, or lack of, and the different challenge of selecting songs from their extensive back catalogue for a festival slot.

How do you go about putting together your festival set from over 20 years of material?

Well we had a full set for the mini tour we did in the Spring which was about an hour and twenty or whatever, so we then pretty much just knock out the ones that are hardest to play and whatever’s left becomes your festival set!

Or you know, the ones that might not translate without a soundcheck. Sometimes more acoustic ones but you’ll have toms in that you might not hear as well in a festival – so you go for the main songs and then the ones that come across in a live setting if you’re in the trenches in a way.

It’s 22 years since the self titled LP The Coral came out and since then there’s been more of a concept approach to the records. Is that a trajectory for going forward you think?

No – I think the concept is not to do anything for a little bit. But we’ve always had a loose concept to all the albums just a bit more obvious with it on these latest ones.

But not really looking, got no plans for a new album or anything. Just looking to play live and enjoy it for a bit – you don’t want to put stuff out for the sake of it.

We’ve done a lot over the last few years and I don’t think anyone’s going to be that interested if we do one now.

(with a smile) Readdress in 2030 and see where we are then, see where the landscape lies by then.

Do you feel like you’re bringing along old fans with the new music or have they struggled to warm to it?

No, no. Our fans seem to love the new stuff. We turn up we play all the sort of the quote “Hits” or whatever you want to call them, we play quite a few off the first album. We play a good selection because if you like a band like us and you’ve followed us you want a selection over the years so, it’s a fine line. You don’t wanna be a nostalgia band. With playing a festival there are people there who might never have seen you, so you want to play your best stuff over the years really.

INTERVIEWED! The Bootleg Beatles at Wychwood 2024

Wychwood Festival

The world’s leading Beatles tribute act took time out before their set at Wychwood Festival to talk to Summer Festival Guide

My name’s Steve White, I play Paul. My name’s Paul Canning and I play John and I’m Steven Hill and I play George. And we are The Bootleg Beatles!

The Bootleg Beatles well established tribute act and have been touring across the world for years, but how does it differ playing a festival rather than in an auditorium?

SW: From a festival point of view it’s always a scaled down show because we’ve a much more limited slot. So we kind of gloss over as best we can, it’s probably an early era set and then a late set and that’ll be it. Obviously the costume change mid way through – whereas when we’re in a theatre you get several costumes and lots more guitars and so on and so forth. So it’s definitely a scaled down version.

SH: You think it’d be easier wouldn’t you because it’s only an early and a late era show, but you’ve still got to be good! It doesn’t matter what you’re wearing if you’re not playing and singing well it’s bad!

SW: And of course at a festival people are here to see everyone, they’re not just here to see you. So you haved to sell yourselves to everyone, whereas in an auditorium when they’ve come to see your show you’ve almost won before you’ve gone on you have that to think about with a festival.

PC: You do the hits more aswell when you do festivals. In a theatre show you can afford to put some album ones in and the lesser known ones, well they’re all well known – y’know. But the ones we do at the festival are generally more the hits, the singles and the odd not single but still massive song – they’re all good…it’s a good catalogue to choose from…

How do you whittle down that kind of set when you’ve got such a breadth of material to work with?

All: It’s hard!

SH: You kind of know after doing it for so long. You’ve got the hits, the singles and you could do that and people would be happy. But you’ve only got 45 minutes or an hour at some of these festivals so you can whittle it down. As long as you’ve got those main ones, whether it’s Help, Hard Day’s Night, She Loves You – you’ve got to put those kind of songs in and Hey Jude at the end and you’re happy to do that.

It’s easier than it sounds really. And it all depends on your voices on the day as well. If you’re touring for weeks, months on end and your voice is gone you’ve got to try and work around that and sing one that’s a bit easier but still a hit.

Are there any particular highlights from a personal perspective that you really look forward to playing?

PC: I like doing Come Together, that’s a good one to do as John. And I really like doing Here Comes the Sun especially when the sun comes out which ain’t often – but when it does it’s great.

SH: Well I love Help so I’m biased. I love playing Help, it’s my favourite song I think. Not just of the Beatles you know, of anything.

SW: I don’t think I have a favourite. I like them all too much to be able to choose.

PC: He likes doing Yesterday because he’s on his own!

SW: Ah, yes I do!

PC: He’s good at it actually. Gets to play with the crowd a bit and muck about, it’s really good.

Would you say with a festival crowd you’ve got a bit more of that back and forth to play around with?

SW: Oh gosh, absolutely yeah. I mean, obviously when you’re doing an autditorium it’s almost scripted you’ve got to show particular periods that you’re trying to perform. So you have to get a certain amount of information over to the crowd, so there’s key bits of dialogue that you have to say.

When you’re in a festival you have to make other people enjoy themselves and of course building them up for the next act to follow you know? That’s key, keeping the crowd up ready for the next band to take over. Nothing worse than killing an audience and the next bands got to work them up from flat so that’s what we try to do.

PC: Not actually killing them. We don’t kill the audience Steve.

SW: Well I do!

If you were to sell seeing The Bootleg Beatles to people maybe thinking about seeing another band on at the same time, what is it you’d say to bring them to you?

PC: Well you can’t be big headed and you can’t sell yourself short can you!

SH: We pride ourselves on giving 100% at all times and you’ve got to go with the reputation haven’t you?

SW: I tell you what I’d say, if you want to come and see a band where you know all the songs, come and see the Bootleg Beatles.

SH: Yeah you’re not going to be sitting there going “Whats this one? I don’t know this one!” you know? You’re gonna have a good time no matter what – but we do it well.

PC: We’re the world’s premiere Beatles tribute band and there’s a reason for it. Because they’re all great songs but you’ve got to play them well and you’ve got to care about it and the devil is in the detail and we put a lot of work into it.

SH: You’re right you know, you’re gonna have a good time no matter what.

PC: It’s been going since 1980 and people keep coming back to see it because it’s good and the standards high. So come and see it, I would. I do. I’m in it! Bye!

INTERVIEWED! Mr Motivator at Wychwood 2024

Wychwood Festival

The legendary Mr Motivator (real name Derrick Evans) joined Summer Festival Guide after leading a high energy morning workout session for the Wychwood Festival crowd to talk about the power of movement and his top tips for beating the blues.

This morning you’ve been up on the main stage at Wychwood leading what can only be described as a fun filled, energetic performance this morning and so many people coming out of their tents to join in – how does it make you feel getting up in the morning and bringing that energy into people’s days?

You know what, movement is a wonderful medicine and if you do it in a fun safe way then everybody can participate and my whole drive, and it’s been like that since being on television 30 years ago and I started exercising 40 years ago, I know in my later years how beneficial movement is – but it’s got to be fun! And if it’s not fun I say “don’t do it!” that’s why I’m not into doing press ups, star jumps and burpees – yes I’ll do it – but at the end of the day what really gets people going is music it’s the attitude it’s the laughter it’s the stories.

During Covid you did a lot of motivational stuff on socials and you’ve talked openly here about mental health. Beyond the fitness side of things, how important is that mental health message?

About two weeks ago I spent a whole day in a studio having conversations with all these radio stations from all over the country phoning in to talk about mental health awareness.

I think it’s great that we’ve moved the goalposts, that people can feel a little bit easier to talk about it. Because we call need to talk about it. In particular men, and men don’t wear their heart enough on their sleeve. They think “if we cry that makes us weak” but no, when you cry it makes you strong and so my message is to give people little tips they can put in place if they’re feeling stressed or they can’t go on, if you’re feeling like things are really rough, there are a number of things you can think about.

One is every autumn the tress out there lose their leaves, but the tree still stands up tall. Why? Because it knows in the Spring it’s going to flower again. So whatever we’re going through that we think is really bad, it’s only a bad moment it’s not a bad life. And if we’re patient and we talk about our problems and we really deal with it in terms of taking time out or getting away from it we’re going to get the benefits of getting stronger mentally and that is the important way we’re going to deal with life going forward. To get emotionally, physically, mentally strong.

And what are the things for you that if you’re having one of those down days that help you personally?

One of the best things is movement, for me. The moment I move my body – in fact the thing I did when I did all those interviews we talked about “moving the mood”. And it does! It doesn’t mean you have to do what I do, you can be just going for a walk or a swim, riding a bike or whatever it is, that helps you release those happy hormones and make you feel better.

One thing that works for me is the old photo albums. Because if you take an old photo album it’s only ever got good times in there. We don’t put picture which are terrible. And those memories allow you to escape sometimes from the reality of life and when you come back you come back feeling so much better for it. But if you incorporate movement it actually makes you feel good not just for when you’re doing it, but for hours and days afterwards.

INTERVIEWED! Corrine Bailey Rae at Wychwood 2024

Wychwood Festival

Corrine Bailey Rae sat down with Summer Festival Guide after coming off stage at Wychwood Festival 2024.

You’ve just come off stage, how do you feel the reception from the crowd was?

It was great! You know it’s so good to be playing old songs, but also new songs aswell. I really want to share what I’m doing I don’t want to be just a “heritage act” when you’re sort of playing cover versions of your old music – and I would never want to be that.

So I always like it when you can try out new things so you can see what people are into or in a festival you can just see if it’s reacting – are more people at the end or less, and I always love it when you can just see the crowds getting thicker and thicker and denser as the set goes on so I feel like we’re doing the right thing.

Your latest album, Black Rainbows, marks a bit of a departure from what people maybe expected from you in terms of the inspirations, the sound of it – people in the crowd reacting saying they didn’t expect this from her.

How does it make you feel when you’ve perhaps been pigeon holed as a certain type of performer and then coming out with something that’s completely different and drawn from inspiration?

I felt with Black Rainbows it was always going to be a side project you know? I thought I want to feel free and I don’t want to feel boxed in by peoples expectations of me- and then I thought as the time went on how crazy that was that I was internalising these limits for myself and I thought “No”. I will just say that this is my record, I’ve been working on it for seven years or something so really glad to just do more guitar music – that’s where I came from I came from indie, I had this band called Helen and whenever we play jazz festivals we always put in a few spanners in the works or the other way round.

I like to play a festival and do a quiet jazzy ballad or something. I just think it’s important to push out the edges for yourself and make room for yourself I think and not be your own covers band.

Is that a vision you see for the future for the next record? Is it trying to draw on an inspiration and use that as a running theme throughout?

I think that since doing this record I feel really free. My last record before this I felt really pressured to make a certain kind of song.

We really wanted to have a radio song and everyone in my team and at the label said “just do whatever you want for the rest of the record but we need three radio hits” and it was always so hard. By the end I didn’t even have to ask them what they thought.

If I was just starting the song and I thought to myself “this is too slow” or “this isn’t universal enough” or “this isn’t catchy enough” and I felt like I was policing all my own ideas and so many songs were just falling through my fingers and I really didn’t want to do that with Black Rainbows I wanted to have no pressure and just make something creative.

I feel like now that I’ve done that I will always do that because it’s so satisfying not worrying what people think you know? I really think there will always be an audience of enough of a size for me to travel round the world like I get to do and I’ll always have my old songs which already connect with people but I really always want to make sure it’s exciting and real for me and challenging, inspiring.

And how about the rest of the summer and 2024?

Summer 2024 is SO busy and I keep saying to people “what month is it?” because I’ve been planning these last few months for so long!

But we’re playing at Glastonbury, playing We Out Here festival, Latitude – we’re playing a bunch of festivals in the US, we’re going to China. I’m going to Brazil and Mexico in November! I’m doing a lot this summer, doing a lot of festivals so just getting acquainted with the grass and whether it will or not rain and bumping into other artists backstage that you didn’t expect to see and that’s always really good fun. I love festivals for that, they’re a proper testing ground.

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

Wychwood Festival 2023 – REVIEWED!


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.

© Shôn Douglas for SFG – Do not use without permission.

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!

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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!”.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Gobhinder Jhitta

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.


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!

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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.


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.

© Shôn Douglas for SFG – Do not use without permission.

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!

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Joshua Atkins

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.

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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.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Gobhinder Jhitta

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.

Credit: Wychwood Festival – Gobhinder Jhitta

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.

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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!



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 .

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


“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


Wychwood, Beer, Cheer and Bubbles.

This is the 9th Wychwood festival to take place, which is a tragedy for me as it means I have missed 8 years of this fun filled, family friendly, yet modest event, that gently launches you into the summer festival period.  Set in the grounds of Cheltenham race course and overlooked by the Cotswold Hills, this venue is used to horseplay of a four-legged nature, but with neigh a nag in sight, Prestbury Park comes alive with a wide spectrum of characters.

The first days sound track set the pace for what would shape up to be quite the eclectic mix.  Early evening The Beat proved how they secured their rightful place high up the Ska tree. With Rankin Roger & Son getting the crowd stomping to the ever popular Ska beats. Toploader followed with their breezy, sing a long songs, that keep the crowd on a high.  Friday night headliners Soul II Soul with their blend of R&B, Soul and Electronica, surprised many who thought them a one song band (Back to life). With each song played you couldn’t help regret not paying more attention 25 years ago. But better late than never!! They exit the stage, leaving the crowd craving for more.

Saturday sees the music shift to a broader range. Unfortunately the delectable Kate Nash pulls out poorly. The Wedding Present are a crowd pleaser as they work through some of their phenomenal body of work. A French twist next from festival favourites The Caravan Palace, who’s zany Gypsy Jazz, Electro swing, is a sight and sound to behold, a big band wall of music fronted by the mesmerising stage presence that is Zoé Colotis a must see. The night’s headliners are 80’s Electro New Wave sensation The Human League and with a catalogue of hits, the crowd were on their feet from the opening “Mirror Man” to the ever popular “Don’t You Want Me” ending another great night with “Together in Electric Dreams”. The set and backdrop pay homage to the futuristic approach of the 80’s, that seem just as futuristic and relevant today, Little wonder so many artists since, have voiced this Flamboyant and eccentric group as an influence.

Sunday becomes a field of laughter with the humorous yet skilful take on classical and popular songs by the Ukele Orchestra of Great Britain.  Smiles a plenty but with admiration from this musically talented troop.  The laughter continues as Bill Bailey and his side splitting comedy take over.  Nobody being prepared for the music, jokes and insanity of this middle-aged madman. This massive force could have easily have been the finale for the main stage, but the organisers decided to bring the evening to a close by treating an appreciative crowd to the Dub Powerhouse that is Dreadzone.  This reggae tinged set was the perfect end to a fabulous weekend, having the crowd bounce and groove out the evening.

 A couple of standout performances on the smaller but no lesser stages included Becky Rose, with her one gal, synth based beats and Craig Charles funk and soul show, where the crowd were whipped up in to a frenzy to match that of the energetic, multi-talented showman.

When the main attractions have finished and the majority of the crowd have turned in for the night, one stage is determined to party on regardless. As I approach the big top tent with strobes escaping from the entrance I can’t help but think that there is something missing?   Upon entry I am handed a pair of wireless headphones and as I walk on through to a sea of crazy revellers it is apparent that I have entered a nut house.  This is the silent disco, a room full of clubbers and two DJ’s but no music through the loud speakers.  I put the headphones on and find myself instantly condemned to the madhouse as I flick between the two DJ’s and adjust my dancing style accordingly.

Music for all genres means that young or old you will at some point find your dancing shoes and at the very least discover new and exciting sounds.  There are over 100 workshops to choose from, complimented with cuisine from the four corners of the world.

A lasting memory of the festival will be that of a  man releasing  another wave of bubbles they glisten like the northern lights as they pass over the light filled stage.  Wychwood really captures the essence of what a festival is about with a great energy and atmosphere.