The Wychwood Festival Story
The Wychwood Music Festival was launched in 2005 by a group of festival enthusiasts wanting to create an intimate and thrilling weekend festival experience, delivering the best acts of the day, up and coming music, and some other specialties you might not ordinarily come across!
The Wychwood Music Festival quickly gained a national audience and reputation thanks to its eclectic mix of music and creative programming.
an excellent hybrid of the Big Chill, WOMAD and The Cambridge Folk Festival.
Wychwood 2018 boasted The Beat featuring Ranking Roger, Baxter Dury, The Go! Team, The Gipsy Kings, Feeder and Shed Seven. The Correspondents brought their incredible energy to Sunday, followed by Hollie Cook's mellow vibe and one of Saturday's delights was the Scottish band Skerryvore. Other musical highlights included Field Music, The Real Thing and Jah Wobble with The Invaders of the Heart.
In fact, we had 5 music stages for everyone from the very famous to those just starting out. Festival goers continued into the night at the silent disco and with comedy in the Hobgoblin Tent which kicked off at 10pm.
As in previous years, there were a multitude of new things to try down in the workshops area. Wychwooders enjoyed dancing of all kinds, capoeira and music sessions including drum circles, body percussion and guitar for all. Kids got to do Silly Sports Day, Circus School, singing and yoga. Plus there was storytelling and street theatre to watch every day and favourite authors to meet and listen to in the Storybox tent. This year's authors and illustrators included Tony de Saulles, Tamsyn Murray, Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Steven Butler and Steven Lenton. The craft and making workshops were full of people getting in touch with their creative side, doing things like lantern making, screen printing and learning skills using Raspberry Pi and music technology.
The 2017 festival was headlined by Buzzcocks, OMD, and The Levellers. Further musical highlights included reggae heroes Aswad bringing the sun out, lessons in politics from Beans On Toast and of course the uplifting anthems of Billy Bragg.
As well as the live music, those looking to carry on the party into the early hours were left in fits of laughter at the Comedy stage and took full advantage of Wychwood Festival's famous silent disco. Kids and adults alike took part in a plethora of activities down on The Green, which hosted the festival's most comprehensive family programme to date. All ages were welcomed to take part in a well-curated workshops including circus skills, comedy for kids, dance classes, craft making and much more. The return of the Children's Literature Festival in partnership with Waterstones saw renowned children's authors deliver inspiring readings for kids including Christopher Edge and Philip Ardagh.
The 2016 festival was headlined by The Waterboys, 10cc, and Bill Bailey. Other highlights from across the weekend included: Stereo MC's, Justin Fletcher, Peter Hook and the Light, Idlewild, Kate Rusby, The Selecter, Craig Charles, The Correspondents, From the Jam, Keston Cobblers Club, Matt Berry and the Maypoles, Honne, Slow Club, Anteros, Ms Dynamite, Gary Delaney, Rag 'n' Bone Man, Cash+David, Only Girl, Thrill Collins and many more. The festival once again partnered with the University of Gloucestershire to program and run the Wychwood FM stage and Wychwood FM.
The festival also worked in partnership with Waterstones to put on the Children's Literature Festival, which featured: Abi Elphinestone, Ali Sparkes, Chris Edge, Duncan Beedie, Gemma Hastilow, Georgie Woolridge, Jo Cotterill, John Dougherty, Lyn Gardner, Michelle Robinson, Paul Stickland, Peter Houghton and Jane Worroll, Petr Horacek, Philip Ardagh, Sophia Bennett, Steve Antony, Tamsyn Murray, Tony De Saulles and First Draft.
Our 2015 line-up included headliners UB40’s Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue reunited, Ladysmith Black Mambazo & Boney M. The list of great acts continued including The Proclaimers, The Undertones, DJs Craig Charles and Andy Kershaw, Lucy Rose, Dreadzone, Electric Swing Circus, Ghostpoet, Monsieur Doumani, The Wonder Stuff, Darlia, Thrill Collins and many more. We also welcomed back CBBC favourite Justin Fletcher. Again we partnered with promoters Smashing Blouse, BBC introducing and University of Gloucestershire to provide us with emerging bands. The University also ran the Wychwood FM radio station again to cover the event, capturing interviews and acoustic sets with many acts. As always the evenings ended with festival goers basking in silent parties courtesy of Headphone disco.
Ecotricity joined the Wychwood family by sponsoring our Big Top, which housed their Green Britain debate, which encouraged people to think about their impact on the environment. Hobgoblin once again supported our third stage with music and hilarious comedy sponsored by efestivals. Our popular real ale festival also returned and we had great ciders and lager on offer from Heineken too. We continued to grow our Kids Literature Festival with more great authors and poets. Our Workshops area was popular as ever, neighbouring the relaxing Healing fields and Artists & Makers area. A number of charities ran activities again including The British Ecological Society making learning fun by swabbing us for bacteria and Toybox supporting homeless street children. We welcomed a great range of other stalls and attractions including a Mega Roller Disco for the first time.
Campers endured an early spot of rain on the Friday, but the weather was generally clear and the festival a massive success. We were delighted with the press coverage some of which you can read on this website.
Our 2014 line-up included headliners The Stranglers, Levellers and The Boomtown Rats. Other highlights included Graham Gouldman 10cc, Bad Manners, Charles Craig Charles, La Chiva Gantiva, Lee Thompsons Ska Orchestra, Newton Faulkner, Paul Ewing, Reef, The Gaslight Troubadours, The Real Thing, Baraka, Benin City, Bipolar Sunshine, Gabby Young and Other Animals, Gentleman’s Dub Club, King Charles, Kyla La Grange, Lloyd Yates, Merry Hell and Mr B the Gentleman Rhymer. Wychwood FM covered the event capturing interviews and acoustic sets with many acts. The nights closed with our biggest ever Headphone disco, including a neon party on the Saturday night.
The Hobgoblin tent again hosted some amazing bands selected by BBC radio stations and hilarious comedy supported by efestivals. Our popular Beer festival also returned and we are set to improve our cider offering next year too. We continued to grow our Kids Literature Festival with the addition of the Booktrust and more great storytelling from The Roald Dahl Museum and various poets. Our workshops areas was a hive of activity in the new location where the bigtop was previously positioned. We also welcomed the return of CBBC star Justin Fletcher. Our artists and makers area also found a new spot and we had a new improved set up for the healers and therapists. A number of charities ran activities including World Vision, The British Ecological Society and Toybox.
Our 2013 line-up boasted The Human League, Bill Bailey, Soul II Soul, Caravan Palace, Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain, John Otway, Moulettes, Eddie and the Hotrods, Dreadzone, Toploader, Sam Lee and Friends, Lucy Rose, Craig Charles, Public Service Broadcasting, Thrill Collins and many more great acts. The kids were also treated to an appearance from CBBC star Mr Bloom.
Our Hobgoblin tent was again packed with fantastic bands selected by regional BBC stations and comedy supported by efestivals. For the first time we had a full beer festival, with a great selection of ales and ciders to pick from. The workshops area was again full of life with the Kids Literature Festival and the usual selection of great activities. There were even a few surprises, with pop-up choir and ukelele performances. We also welcomed a larger artists and makers area and an improved relaxation and healing area. The sun even shone for the Sunday afternoon parade to complete a fantastic festival weekend.
The festival’s name comes from the ancient forest that once covered large parts of Oxfordshire, but the festival has found its own home over in Gloucestershire and is steadily becoming that county’s largest and most popular music festival.
In 2012 our line up included James, Bellowhead, The Saw Doctors, The Cuban Brothers, The Damned, Dodgy, Dr & The Medics, Sharon Shannon, Port Isaac’s Fishermans Friends, Show of Hands, The Dhol Foundation, Howard Marks, Robin Ince Science Shows, Juju, Mahala Rai Banda, Hawkwind, The Roving Crows, Fay Hield &The Hurricane Party, The Magic Tombolinos, Duke Special, Simon Friends Seismic Survey, Dizraeli & The Small Gods and special performances for our younger Wychwooders from Katy Ashworth and Nina & The Neurons.
Comedy was ably pulled off by Nick Page, Anna Keirle, Christian Steel, Dan Mitchell, Sam Harland, Tony Simpson, Jonathan Elston, Matt Richardson, Silky, Carly Smallman, Jim Smallman, Tony Law and Jarred Christmas.
We also saw our Kids Literature festival grow in size with entertaining performances from Petr Horacek, Jamila Gavin, Anna Wilson, K J Wignall, Phillip Ardagh, Jacquie Trajan, Ian Whybrow, Karen Langtree, Shoo Rayner and Tony de Saulles among many others, and of course not forgetting Floppy the Dog and Winnie the Witch!
Right from the start The Wychwood Music Festival has had strong links with various NGOs, with Friends of the Earth, Oxfam and Greenpeace all having had a presence at the Festival. In 2013 World Vision returned as our main charity partner.
In 2011 the music programming continued to be varied, with a mixture of indie, world, folk and more. The main stage hosted numerous fantastic acts including The Charlatans, The Bluetones, The Waterboys, Eddi Reader, ElizaCarthy, The Christians and 3 Daft Monkeys. Festival goers were even treated to some cider fueled fun from The Wurzels on Sunday afternoon. The third and fourth stages were again used to showcase BBC introducing and local talent.
The Green was bigger and better with over 100 workshops, from arts and crafts to dancing and some rare treats such as beat boxing and ukulele lessons. Punch and Judy, magic shows and walkabout characters added to the magical atmosphere for kids and grown ups alike. The area also hosted the Kids Literature Festival, with a host of amazing authors reading their work and meeting adoring fans. Late night entertainment was provided by a selection of great comedians, some classic films in the cinema tent and of course the now legendary Headphone Disco.
And so to 2010 and once again the sun shone us (except for a quick downpour on Sunday afternoon!). The line up included The Levellers, Happy Mondays, Lightning Seeds, Seth Lakeman, The South, Toumani Diabaté, Justin Currie, Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, Dreadzone, John Otway, Lucinda Belle, The Epstein, The Outcast Band, Thrill Collins, and many more.
BBC Introducing took over our third stage with a thrilling weekend of bands topped off by Charlie Coombes and the New Breed. Not forgetting of course BBC children’s favourite Justin Fletcher orchestrating a mass sing song from mainstage at 11am on Sunday morning! Our comedy was programme by our friends at the Lil Fat Comedy Club down the road in Witney and included Ray Peacock, Silky, Robin Ince, Nick Page and Pete Johansson.
And we were honoured once again to have been nominated “Best Family Festival” in the UK Festival Awards.
2009 was the 5th birthday of the festival, and acts included Super Furry Animals, Supergrass, The Wonder Stuff, Little Boots, Bellowhead, Oysterband, Adrian Edmondson and the Bad Shepherds, Dhol Foundation, Dub Colossus, The Beat, Cara Dillon, The Men They Couldn’t Hang, Ella Edmondson, Red Light Company, Attila The Stockbroker, Stornoway, Justin Adams & Judleh Camara, Oojami Sound System, Alex Cornish, Danny & The Champions of the World, The Travelling Band. Comedy was provided by the likes of Arthur Smith, Robin Ince and Mundo Jazz. Cinema included classics like Little Shop of Horrors, and presentations from Beatles film-maker Tony Palmer and much more, over 100 workshops for all ages and we launched our first Children’s Literature Festival with the new Poet Laureate, Carol Ann Duffy, plus many others including Philp Ardagh, Jeremy Strong and Kristina Stephenson.
Once again we were very pleased to have been nominated “Best Family Festival” in the UK Festival Awards.
2008 was the most successful Wychwood to date, with the festival coming close to sell out. Artists included The Divine Comedy, The Proclaimers, Duffy, The Imagined Village project with Simon Emmerson, Billy Brag, Johnny Kalsi, Eliza and Martin Carthy, Chris Wood and many more. As well as Kate Rusby, Dengue Fever, The Blockheads, Robyn Hitchcock & the Psychedelic Trams, Dreadzone, Kasai Masai, Misty’s Big Adventure, The Epstein, Orchestra Baobab, Spiers and Boden, Palladium, Piney Gir, Stornoway, Mor Karbasi, Transglobal Underground, Emma Pollock, Miles Hunt and Erica Nockalls, Rachel Unthank & the Winterset, 3 Daft Monkeys, The Young Republic, Richard Walters and many more.
Comedy offerings included Andy Smart, Steve Steen, Stephen Frost, Jeff Green, Dave Johns, Josie Lawrence, Boothby Graffoe, Mundo Jazz, Terry Saunders, Barry Dodds, Ben Schofield and Damion Larkin. And we were nominated for the 4th year running as the Best Family Festival in the UK Festival Awards.
2007 got off to a flying start with Levellers, Robyn Hitchcock and the Venus 3 and Ian Hunter on the Friday. A star studded Saturday saw Rodrigo y Gabriela, Badly Drawn Boy and Fun Lovin’ Criminals on the Main Stage with rhythms from Shooglenifty, Go Lem System, Transglobal Underground and sunny vocals from Camera Obscura and Martha Tilston. Sunday went out with a folk and world music bang with Afro Celt Sound System, Ba Cissoko, Zion Train, Eliza Carthy, Country Joe Macdonald and Ralfe Band.
The Independent described it as ‘…a bijou Glastonbury…’ and it was nominated for Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards for the third time in a row!
Artists at the 2006 Festival included, Billy Bragg, Seth Lakeman, Dreadzone, Saw Doctors, Martha Wainwright, Mr Scruff, Amadou & Mariam, Handsome Family, Peatbog Faeries, Polar Bear, Eliza Carthy in collaboration with Salsa Celtica, Banco de Gaia, The Bays, Tunng, Broken Family Band, Sophie Solomon, Chris Difford, DJ Shantel, Ed Motta, Field Music, Ralfe Band, Gilles Peterson and many, many more. The festival also featured the first ever festival performances from The Feeling and Guillemots, plus the debut of Tim Van Eyken’s new project starring Nancy Kerr, Pete Flood (Bellowhead), Olly Knight and Colin Fletcher.
Comedy was added to the programme and included a very special intimate performance from Mark Thomas. Late night entertainment was provided by the Silent Disco from The Netherlands, starting their tour of summer festivals that included Guilfest and Reading. The Festival received three nominations at the 2006 UK Festival Awards including Best Family Festival for the second time.
“Wychwood has wasted no time in establishing itself as one of the coolest weekends of the summer”
The 2005 Festival saw performances from Steve Earle, Alabama 3, Show of Hands, Allison Moorer, Eliza Carthy in collaboration with Varttina, Mory Kante, The Earlies, Aberfeldy, Jim Moray, Mercan Dede, Radio Tarifa, Omar Sosa, Susanna and the Magical Orchestra, The Angel Brothers, Baka Beyond, Damien Dempsey, Gilles
Radio 4's Loose Ends and Radio 3's Late Junction both recorded at the festival, and entertainment included The Groovy Movie Solar Powered Cinema, Club Wychwood with some of the best world beats around, and workshops for all ages. It was a very positive first year, the festival made it into the Sunday Times Top 7 Festivals of the summer and nominated for Best New and Best Family Festival at the UK Festival Awards and the organisers quickly moved on to planning the second year.