Crowds watching stage at Wychwood Festival 2024

Wychwood Festival – June 2024

Celebrating its almost 20th anniversary, this years Wychwood festival came close to not even happening. Just ten days before the gates opened the heavens also opened and a three-day deluge of rain almost put paid to the festival. Thankfully organisers kept their nerve, and the sun made some effort to make an appearance saving the site at Cheltenham racecourse. Despite the campervan field quickly becoming a quagmire the rest of the site survived enough to welcome a little under capacity 10,000 punters to one of the most family friendly festivals in this part of the country. If you’re looking for thought provoking and enigmatic headliners this isn’t the place for you, but if you want a barmy 90’s sing-along and the kids kept happy this might be the place!

Friday welcomed Radio 2 favourites The Feeling before Corinne Bailey Rae took over the mainstage. Despite sounding, and looking, fantastic she didn’t really have enough big songs to stop the crowd from talking throughout her set which was a shame and saw large parts of the crowd head to other stages to catch the real fun with Barrioke (Shaun Williamson from Eastenders) belting out cheesy hits like Livin’ on a Prayer before Noasis performed a note perfect set of Oasis’ songs circa 1996. Seemed like every member of the crowd, young and old, knew every word and all that was missing was Gallagher brothers tension. Friday night headliners were a toss up between Sister Sledge and Oxford favourites Stornoway but to be fair Sister Sledge won with energy and a set of well known hits.

Saturday saw more singalong sets from the likes of The Bootleg Beatles and the festival highlight, The Coral, before a knackered looking Peter Hook and the Light (landed that day from Australia so fair enough) pumped out a best of New Order and Joy Division set which showcased, that whilst he might have been unceremoniously ejected from New Order, the songs still sound as addictive and powerful as they ever did, despite a rather shambolic performance. After closing with a rousing “Love will tear us apart” this blast from the late 70’s / 80’s segued neatly into the Saturday night headliner, Texas, who showcased not only a great set of songs, such as “Halo” and “In Our Lifetime”, but that Sharleen Spiteri is actually one pretty cool Glaswegian frontwomen who had the audience eating from her palm by the end of the first song.

Next years the organisers are already promising a bigger and better festival and as long as they can guarantee some decent sunshine you wont go far wrong heading this way next June.

By: Dave Roberts

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