Festival alert – it’s not too late to book the best!
15th Jun 2012
If, like me, you are a serial ditherer and are yet to turn your vague thoughts about festival-going into a reality, this post is for you. There are kazillions of festivals these days and my list is by no means prescriptive, but this is my pick of the bunch, locally and nationally. Book now or regret your indecision for another year!
Cornbury Festival, The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, 29 June – 1 July
Cornbury is the self-proclaimed ‘Poshstock’ of music festivals (if that means it doesn’t rain, I like it already), with the likes of Elvis Costello, James Morrison, Hugh Laurie, Pixie Lott and Will Young headlining. Cornbury tries to create the spirit of a village carnival on a bigger scale, hence there are roaming performers, farmer’s markets, fairground, and a dedicated childrens zone with circus tent, dance classes, ventriloquist shows, clay making, willow sculpture, magic shows, all in a beautiful Oxfordshire setting. We likey.
£150-175 adults w/e; £75-100 13-16 year olds; £65 adult day, £30 13-16 year old day. cornburyfestival.com.
Latitude, Henham Park, Southwold, Suffolk, 12-15 July
It’s boutique-fest all the way at Latitude with luxury camping, Wi-fi, cool cafes and some of the biggest names in showbiz at this giant of a festival. Paul Weller, Elbow, Lana Del Rey headline, while Jack Dee, Al Murray, Tim Minchin and colleagues take over the comedy arena. There’s film, cabaret, a literary salon, luvviedom courtesy of the National Theatre, plus a turn by superstar pianist Lang Lang who, frankly, is worth the price of the ticket alone.
From £75 for an adult day ticket. www.latitudefestival.co.uk.
Southbank Centre Festival of the World, until 30 September
This Festival, in celebration of this special summer of national events, is just brilliant, and you can dip in and out as you wish. The E4 Udderbelly Festival is already underway (until 8 July), with theatre, comedy and family shows, while the Meltdown Music Festival (1-12 August) curated by Mercury Prize-winning musician and visual artist Anthony is one of hot hottest tickets in town.
Wilderness, Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire, 10-12 August
Think long table banquets, hot tubs, masked balls, live music, yoga, talks, family stuff, pioneering arts and you’ve got the superfunky festival from the clever chaps behind the brilliant Secret Garden. Wilco, Spiritualised and a whole heap of other cool cats provide the music, The Idler Academy and Granta provide the thinking, there are more food experts than you can shake a stick at, Barefoot Books, Jaffe & Neals cafe and bookshop (both previous Muddy recommendations, written here) are here too, plus theatre for kids and… I’m sorry, I can’t go on, I’m hyperventiliating.
£129-139 for adult weekend ticket. Family tickets (2 Adults + 2 Young Persons): £260. www.wildernessfestival.com
Camp Bestival, Lulworth Castle, Dorset, 26-29 July
Oooh, this is going to be awesome. Exclusive bookings this year include Opera Holland Park’s staging of Fantastic Mr Fox with live orchestra, a performance by Shrek, Princess Fiona and Donkey from the West End musical, Mr Tumble (Mr Tumm-ble!) to entertain the kids, plus Adam Ant (hurray), Happy Mondays (double hurray) and Kool and the Gang – fresh (they’re so fresh!).
Tickets £175-185. Camping from Friday. www.campbestival.net
Supernormal, Braziers Park, Oxford, August 10-12
This not-for-profit music and arts festival has a capacity for just 500 and is all about intimacy – blurring the gap between performer and audience. That sounds a bit pervy but I think it just means that you don’t have to watch the stage from 500 metres away like you do at the bigger festivals. There are workshops, a disco tent, cinema and of course live music. Hey, it sounds fun, let’s cuddle up!
Tickets £65. www.supernormalfestival.co.uk.
Vintage, Boughton House, Northamptonshire, July 13-15
I reckon this will be brililiant. Wayne Hemingway’s Vintage Festival celebrates seven decades of British culture from the 20s to the 80s with music, art, fashion, film, design and dance, all set in the glorious grounds of Broughton House in Northamptonshire. There are vintage makeovers, dance classes, fashion and upcycling workships, roller disco (can you imagine the carnage?) classic cars/campers and a whole lot of glamping. Just make sure you remember to pack your lippy and hairnets.
Tickets From £57.50 for adult day pass. Under 11s go free. www.vintagefestival.co.uk
Henley Festival, 4-8 July
A genteel, well-heeled feel to this festival, with Sting, Olly Murs and Katherine Jenkins headlining and an awful lot of black tie on the promotional website. Some of the tickets have sold out but there’s availability on the lawns and poor old Olly Murs is yet to sell out a single night… The riverside setting will be gorgeous of course and there’s plenty of excellent catering to be had.
Tickets £35-£150 www.henley-festival.co.uk/
Towersey Festival, Towersey, Oxfordshire, 24-27 August
This is the festival most local to me, and it has a good reputation. Maybe this is the year I’ll make it! Aside from the music, the emphasis is on art and sculpture, theatre, workshops, poetry and family, with plenty for kids to do.
thetowerseyfestival.com. For ticket prices call 023 8071 1818 (there are loads of options!).