Thames Valley East: All together now…

Round & About

Whatever your age, taste or background there are a whole
host of festivals to get your musical juices flowing, writes Liz Nicholls

Festival season is upon us – which is great news for us here at Round & About Towers (we’re fans of a bash). Perhaps you are one of the supremely dedicated / lucky few to have bagged yourself a Glastonbury ticket..? Yes the Mother Of All Festivals is back at the end of June but if, like me, you’ll be enjoying it from the comfort of your sofa there are loads more to get fully immersed in…

“I’ve been going to festivals with my wife and festival buddy Josie since the early ’90s and made some halcyon trips to Glastonbury and Reading,” Rob de Bank, Bestival curator tells me. “I’ve slept in a collapsed tent partially underwater, canoed down a Glastonbury thoroughfare, got emotional watching Stevie Wonder and Elton John at Bestival and tried Fuji Rocks in Japan and Coachella in the American desert for a change… but the festival I’ll always come back to is our very own Camp Bestival. We created the show for our kids and their kids and future generations so it’s very close to our heart but it’s also so much fun. And the ultimate way to have some fantastic family time away from screens and technology. I can’t wait to see Chic, Annie Mac and The Human League here this year.” This summer’s dance-deluxe Camp Bestival at Dorset’s Lulworth Castle, 25th to 28th July, has a heroes and superheroes theme and also offers bangers in the form of Jess Glynne, Sister Sledge, Goldie and others including Omid Djalili and Mr Motivator. Visit

Small is beautiful with some local gems this year. Cookham Festival, 4th-19th May, stars Apollo Big Band and Will Greenwood with art and photo exhibitions and a community feel; DJ Yoda, The Echo, Flashheart, Ryan Harman, Nearly Unsociable, The Small Strings, The Mysteries, Beatroots and more will star, for a great cause, at Around The Boundary in Gallowstree Common on Sunday, 5th May;

Let’s Rock The Moor stars all your ’80s favourites including Marc Almond, Go West, Jason Donovan, Erasure’s Andy Bell and many more on Saturday, 18th May;

Community fun aplenty will be on offer between 1st & 16th June thanks to Love Marlow Festival. Enjoy music, sport and family fun at this celebration of local kindness;

Love your swing music? Thames Valley Balboa Festival, 31st May-2nd June, in Henley is for you!. Watlington’s Beacon Festival, 21st & 22nd is a highlight raising spirits and funds for great causes. Four stages will offer musical magic and there’s a great feelgood area and kids’ zone, all powered by volunteers; 

Enjoy the Windsormania Family Music Festival on Sunday, 30th June at Royal Windsor racecourse with Rita Ora playing there on Saturday, 24th August;

Readipop will rock Caversham’s Christchurch Meadows, 12th-14th July, with a fantastic line-up including Sleeper, The Brand New Heavies, a greatest hits set from The Orb, Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish, Musical Youth, Audio Bullys and local bands for local causes;

A dazzling black-tie party in a stunning riverside location, Henley Festival, 10th to 14th July, has another great line-up including Boy George, Jessie J, Bjorn Again and Jo Wiley with her ’90s anthems as well as comedy from Ed Byrne, Andy Hamilton, Julian Clary and more;

My pals and I have already booked babysitters so we can fully enjoy Pennfest in our native Bucks on 19th & 20th July (woop!) Goldie, Suede, Peter Doherty, Fabio, Craig David and more make this a bobby-dazzler!

Indie royalty will reign at the biggest Truck Festival yet in Steventon, 25th-28th July, with Wolf Alice, Foals, Two Door Cinema Club, Slaves, Nothing But Thieves, You Me At Six, Don Broco, Johnny Marr, Public Service Broadcasting and more;

Have a great time for great causes at this year’s BrightFest in Brightwell, OX10 0SQ, on Saturday, 8th June. The family-friendly gem will feature lots of live bands, a football competition and bar (well stocked by The Red Lion team) and food; Towersey near Thame will honour the late folk singer and activist Roy Bailey with the help of Tom Robinson, 23rd-26th August. Newton Faulkner, Bruce Foxton’s From The Jam, The Selecter, Hothouse Flowers, Seth Lakeman, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel, Fisherman’s Friends and the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain are also on the bill, along with many more highlights;

Busted, The Feeling, Dodgy, Toploader and Judge Jules will bring the 90s vibe to Chilterns Live near Tring, HP23 5QY;

Half a century on from the Summer Of Love, the Isle Of Wight Festival is still pulsing, 13th to 16th June, with Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, George Ezra, Fatboy Slim and more; Once again, Hampton Court Palace is the stunning backdrop for Jools Holland, The Jacksons, Nile Rogers & Chic, Kylie and Michael Bublé during June;

Latitude at gorgeous Henham Park near Southwold, 18th to 21st July, offers Primal Scream, EverythingEverything, Underworld, George Ezra, Slaves, Lana Del Rey and lots of theatre, comedy and family fun; Giddy up for Jockey Club Live musical highlights at UK racecourses, including Madness (24th July), Pete Tong & The Heritage Orchestra (31st July) and Jess Glynne (8th August);

Musicians, family fun and more will entertain you on 8th & 9th June at South Hill Park’s Festival of Food and Music and entry is free;

Wild wonderland Wilderness Festival returns to dazzle high society festivalgoers in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, 1st-4th August. You’ll find banquets and feasting, plenty of celeb-spotting opportunities, lakeside hot tubs, yoga and intellectual and cultural brain food as well as Robyn, Groove Armada and Freya Ridings;

Quirky beauty Boomtown returns to Matterley Estate in the South Downs from Wednesday 7th to Monday, 12th August, featuring a stonking line-up including Lauryn Hill, Prophets of Rage, The Streets, Chronixx, Chase & Status, Groove Armada, Slaves and Salt-N-Pepa to name just a few. District AREA 404 is the new home for techno, headlined by Carl Cox, Amelie Lens, Four Tet and more,

Reading Festival rocks the August bank holiday weekend (23rd to 25th). This year’s stars are The 1975, Foo Fighters, Blossoms, plus Fredo, Billie Eilish, Stefflon Don and Camelphat; visit The same weekend, The Big Feastival returns to rock Alex James’ Cotswolds farm, 23rd-25th August. This year’s foodie/fun line-up includes Jess Glynne, Rudimental, Elbow, Jo Wiley, Prue Leith, Raymond Blanc and perennial star Justin Fletcher (AKA Mr Tumble);

Curated by the mighty Nile Rogers, Meltdown Festival is a series of gigs at the Southbank Centre, 1st to 13th August; visit

British Summertime brings global superstars to Hyde Park for your aural pleasure. On Friday, 5th July it’s Celine Dion, Saturday is a celebration of Stevie Wonder, Barbra Streisand is Sunday 7th, Florence + The Machine and The National on Saturday 13th, and Robbie Williams, Texas, Feeder and Black Eyed Peas are on Sunday 14th. There’s also the BST open house with free fun, 8th to 11th July;

Enjoy your summer!