Every year, Cheltenham Racecourse opens its gates to Wychwood Festival. Described by Time Out Magazine as ‘an excellent hybrid between the Big Chill, WOMAD and The Cambridge Folk Festival’, Wychwood is a relaxed, family friendly three day festival, that has everything from silent disco’s, to workshops, to comedy.
Add to the mix a huge lineup of music, which in the past has included the likes of The Damned, James, and Doctor and The Medics, and you know you’ve got a great festival lined up.
With The Independant effectively calling it ‘the most homely festival in the world’, there is plenty to enjoy at this super relaxed, congenial, and welcoming festival.
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. Time Out described the Festival as ?an excellent hybrid of the Big Chill, WOMAD and The Cambridge Folk Festival?.
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 Peterson, Jaga Jazzist, Matthew Herbert, Warsaw Village Band and many many more.
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.
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 and The Oxford Mail said ?Wychwood has wasted no time in establishing itself as one of the coolest weekends of the summer?
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!
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.
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.
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 Diabat?, 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.
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.
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!
Even now we are busy planning a full programme to entertain all ages at Wychwood 2013 and we look forward to welcoming you next year!
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 will again be our main partner.
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 music festival.