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not a Baldrick in sight...

Wychwood Festival

Eric Barton previews the 2010 Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse...


For more information and ticket enquiries MAY 2010

Spring has sprung and the expectant air of hazy summer days can only be around the bend. It’s a time of year that’s synonymous with outdoor music festivals. The very thought of ‘kicking back’ to some great live bands and entertainment in some graceful country location is so lip lickingly good that it’s almost too much to bear. Like a watched kettle or the longed for holiday, it never comes around quickly enough. Now personally, I don’t go for the muddy fields and Third World country toilets that some festivals offer. Long gone are the days of being cold, wet, miserable and starving because the only thing to eat are soggy over-priced chips and ancient hamburgers that resemble dried-up ice hockey pucks. I resolutely refuse to go ‘back in time’ in order to be subjected to what can only be described in some cases as medieval conditions. Meeting Baldrick wouldn’t be out place at some of these ‘events’. In fact I think I saw him working at the last festival. Quite honestly, I’m too old in the tooth and wallet to abide that sort of nonsense anymore. So, like a breath of fresh air and resembling some festival knight in his shining armour, enter our champion... the Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse 4-6th June. Spread over three main stages, it’s three fun packed days of live music, arts, comedy, cinema and cabaret, together with a whole raft of activities for children of all ages. The Wychwood Festival first opened its gates at the racecourse in 2005 with such luminaries as Dreadzone and Steve Earle, together with a number of small workshops. The festival has over the years, truly developed to become the UK’s leading boutique family music festival and now offers a brilliant festival experience for everyone. The amount of sheer effort and thought behind the event is mind-boggling, which is reflected in the

breadth of artistes, bands and activities they offer. Last year on their fifth birthday they produced a phenomenal line-up which included the Super Furry Animals and Supergrass. This year promises no less of a stellar selection of all that’s best in live music. The 2010 Wychwood Festival boasts Seth Lakeman as the headline act on Sunday evening, together with appearances from The Lightning Seeds and The Happy Mondays on Saturday. Good festivals should offer more than just mediocre music, the odd bit of entertainment and dubious food at ‘rip off ’ prices. At Wychwood they’ve managed to avoid all this rubbish and have created a real family atmosphere by providing; workshops for all ages, the silent headphone disco (go and try that one, it’s mad) and a plethora of things to see and do. The Children’s Literature Festival returns for a second year, with a visit from Justin Fletcher from Cbeebies and the Roald Dahl Museum returns with their storytellers and activities. There’s also a host of comedians appearing to lighten your mood... not that you’ll need it. It’s a fair indictment of quality when none other than Waitrose become the principal sponsors for the event. Karen Himsworth, Manager, Waitrose Events, commented: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with the Wychwood Festival. This is the first time Waitrose has sponsored this festival, and our presence at Wychwood will really help us reach out to new audiences.” The atmosphere at Wychwood is all very friendly and intimate. It really is bijou in the sense that you won’t need to queue for endless hours traipsing after the great unwashed to get in or out. There’s also a massively good choice of nice things to eat and drink at sensible prices. Quite refreshing really... and not one idiotic manservant to be seen anywhere! CS 


Eric Barton-Wychwood preview May- Style Magazine  
Eric Barton-Wychwood preview May- Style Magazine