Thames Valley West: 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

Multi-award-winning Lechlade Music Festival will rock the second May bank holiday, 24th-26th, with The Feeling, Rob Heron and his Tea Pad Orchestra and loads of free family fun such as storytelling, yoga and circus skills;

The Beach Boys will star at this year’s Cornbury Festival in Great Tew near Chipping Norton, 5th-7th July. Also performing are The Specials, Keane, Echo & The Bunnymen, KT Tunstall, Beverley Knight and an amazing comedy line-up as well as family-friendly fun;

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;

Small is beautiful with local festivals, as ever. Folksy, rootsy and green, Wood in Ipsden, 17th-19th May, will feature Belshazzar’s Feast and lots of ways to celebrate nature; Raise a glass to Bottle Kids, From The Echo and The Skandal while raising spirits and funds for charity at Rokefest near Benson, 24th-26th May; Hosted by Oxford Psychedelic Society, Oddball Festival at Oxford’s Isis Farmhouse on Saturday, 8th June stars Sun Ra Arkestra. Free with entry or for season ticket holders, Cogges Family Festival brings you craft, puppets, animal handling and Morris dancing on bank holiday Monday, 27th May;

Have a great time for great causes at BrightFest in Brightwell, OX10 0SQ, on Saturday, 8th June, with bands, family fun, a football contest, bar (well stocked by The Red Lion team) and food; And Rugfest is back, bigger than ever at Wallingford Rugby Club, 21st-23rd June, having joined forces with Wallingford Beer & Blues, with The Feeling, Freak Power, Galaxy Thief and The Echo;

Basil Brush is the special guest at Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse, 31st May to 2nd June;

Fantastic cover bands and tribute acts will entertain you at Witney Music Festival on 14th & 15th June with the annual two-week takeover in the town, 24th May to 9th June;

Free family-friendly Riverside Festival in Charlbury, 20th & 21st July, has a pixies theme in honour of the Pixies band and the headliners for Saturday are local stars Kanadia;

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

The same weekend, glorious WOMAD will celebrate the world’s many forms of music in Malmesbury, starring Ziggy Marley, Orbital, Salif, Keita, Anna Calvi and more; 

Wallingford’s free Bunkfest will bring you music, dance and beer from 30th August until 1st September;

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 will also star as well as many more;

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

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) as well as munchies galore!

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

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 and lectures as well as Robyn, Groove Armada and Freya Ridings. Visit

A new one-dayer, Over the Hill Festival will feature some of the best UK Americana and roots bands at Cogges Manor on 26th August;

Reading Festival rocks the August bank holiday weekend (23rd to 25th August). This year’s stars are The 1975, Foo Fighters, Blossoms, plus Fredo, Billie Eilish, Stefflon Don and Camelphat; visit

Readipop will rock Caversham’s Christchurch Meadows, 12th-14th July, with Sleeper, The Brand New Heavies, The Orb, Cassetteboy vs DJ Rubbish, Musical Youth, Audio Bullys and local bands for great local causes;

A dazzling black-tie party in a stunning riverside location, Henley Festival, 10th to 14th July, has another great line-up this year 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;

Pennfest in Bucks on 19th & 20th July will star Goldie, Suede, Peter Doherty, Fabio, Craig David and many more stars;

Supporting children’s charities, Chris Evans’ Car-Fest heads to Hampshire’s Laverstoke Park, RG25 3DR, from 23rd to 25th August;

Enjoy your summer!