Let's get down to the festival itself, for after all, it was the sole reason I ended up in a tent in the first place. I had been to plenty of festivals before, most notably the Reading Festival a couple of times, and they all tended to be much of a muchness; mud everywhere, vile toilets, greasy vans selling heart attack burgers, and cheap lager tents which ensured maximum inebriation / humiliation.
The Cornbury Festival was a very different affair, arising I suspect, from the fact that their clientele consisted of genteel Oxfordshire types, rather than puking and fornicating teenagers tasting their first bit of freedom.
It was set in the grounds of a grand Stately Home, and the entrance to the arena took us past a large ornamental lake. After winding our way up a hill, we finally happened upon the main arena, and that is when the atmosphere hit us. It was buzzing. A band was playing on the stage, people were dancing and singing, and the sun was out (woo hoo!).
Pic.No.1 The main stage in the arena. It's the grey blobby thing in the middle of the picture. And no, I don't know why that lady is lying face-down in the bottom right hand side of the picture.
The weekend music line-up was pretty eclectic and was far enough from mainstream to be interesting, it ranged from alternative to acoustic, from R and B to dance, and in places almost verged upon folk music. And never once did the relaxed cum lively atmosphere let up.
Video. No. 1. Excited lady dances at the Cornbury Festival
It is hard to convey the atmosphere in pictures, so I have posted a video for you (above). Look at the lady in red.... 'hey lady! have you been on the marching powder?'
The cool thing about the Cornbury Festival was that although the focus was the music, they had also managed to create a miniature community with stalls, food and drink outlets, and activities.
Let's take a look at the food and drink, because this is one of the things that really set this festival apart from other festivals I've been too. If you fancied a greasy burger and chips.... forget it. This festival was catering for the Oxfordshire set dahlink. If you didn't want to eat gourmet food, you only had one option - bring your own picnic stuffed with turkey twizzlers, pork pies and blue pop. Did I want that? Did I heck.... I am Lady M of Forest Hill for crikey's sake.
'So,' I hear you cry, 'what did you scoff whilst you were there?'
Well obviously, it would have been rude not to partake in the gourmet food... so over the weekend I indulged in (to name but a few): A pasta dish from Jamie Oliver's 'Festival Food', a tartiflette from La Grande Bouffe (French savoyard cuisine), and a chorizo and chicken paella from 'Paelleria'. And that was before I started on the Waitrose cocktail van, or the Pimms tent. It was truly amazing; there was so much good food on offer, that I didn't know what to choose next. Or, as one of my friends says when he is overwhelmed with choice; "eh, I'm like a dog with two cocks."
Izzy on the other hand, had simpler tastes.
"What would you like for lunch Iz?" I asked her (and the rules are generally relaxed at events like these).
"Chocolate cake please," she replied definitively.
"Chocolate cake for lunch, are you sure? It doesn't sound very nutritious..... in fact it sounds a bit blobby."
"Yep, chocolate cake," she re-affirmed.
Pic.No.2. Izzy enjoying her lunch at the festival. It's a chocolate cake that is bigger than her head
The festival was a bit of a dichotomy; although it was awash with gourmet food, you still had to sit cross-legged on the grass to eat it. Yeh - with all the worms and beetles and flies. Disturbingly, Izzy seemed to enjoy the feral eating experience.
Another cool aspect of the festival was the fact that circus performers had been employed to mingle with the crowd to provide impromptu entertainment. By far, my favourites were these two grannies who were sitting on giant, motorised shopping trollies and bopping to dance tunes.........
Video.No.2. Grannies bopping to Vanilla Ice
Pic.No.3. Izzy having dinner..... a chocolate crepe from the Gourmet Crepe Company. Blimey, she is turning into the E-number queen. She'll be bouncing herself out of the festival at this rate
Just in case you were thinking about going to the Cornbury Festival with children, but were a bit worried about keeping them entertained........ do not fear. This festival is based upon the ethos that if you keep the children happy, the parents will be happy. Spot on. There was so much stuff for kids to do, that we couldn't get round it all in two days.....it included Banghra dancing classes, circus skills, wigwam making, face painting and loads of other cool things. Here are a couple of things that Izzy got up to..........
Pic.No.4. Punch and Judy show. Downright macabre, with scenes of domestic violence (here Punch is hitting Judy over the head with a big stick) which bizarrely, the children find hysterically funny
Pic.No.5. Izzy doing a 'Lindsay Lohan'. There was a big fairground with loads of rides, each of which was a bloody rip-off with a starting price of £1.50. Even though I begrudgingly forked out the cash, Izzy loved it.
As you will probably realise by now, Cornbury was much more than just a music festival. It was though a mini-town had sprung up from the earth for the weekend. Oh, and I forgot to mention, there were three stages, so if you didn't like the music on one stage, you had two others to choose from (see video below). Now that is attention to detail dahlink.
Video.No.3. A band playing on Stage 2
Anyway, enough about the details of the festival, something exciting happened whilst I was there. I had arranged to meet up with some people I had met through blogging (I follow their blog, and they follow mine). That is the first clue. The second clue is that these people also produce a weekly podcast ....can you guess who I am talking about? ......... answers in the next posting ..........