Cornbury 2019 – review

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With idyllic settings in the Cotswolds and a history of artists any festival would die for, this festival is one that’s been on the hitlist for us for quite a while.

Established back in 2004 and originally called ‘Poshstock’ in the press, the festival boasts attendees at 20,000 per cycle.

The top echelons of musical talent including Robert Plant, Susanne Vega, Ray Davies, Elvis Costello and Jools Holland have all frequented the festival at one time or another, this year was no exception with headliners catering for all including The Specials, Keane and The Beach Boys.

The festival is very family orientated and caters for all tastes, with various music stages to choose from, activities for the kids, including workshops, an area for the tiny little squirts and arts and crafts; And the hairy bikers food festival, which boasted 3 daily sittings of a delicious 3-course menu, makes you salivate just looking at the choices available.

What’s not to like about this festival? I must admit it was our first time attending Cornbury, and I’m hoping it won’t be the last.

Friday saw beaming sunshine under which you could have fried like an egg in a frying pan if you didn’t seek the shade.

On each day, the main music stages boasted near on 11 acts, Friday saw The Specials headline, with Beverley Knight and Gaz Coombes coming along for the ride.

Saturday was the main event for me as I particularly wanted to check out The Shires, KT Tunstall and Keane.

The Shires were accompanied by a live band, which really was a nice touch, as I’d only ever seen them as a duo.  Showcasing their two studio album releases. Their voices really complement each other, and they are a joy to listen to.  I saw them quite a while back providing support for a band I can’t remember, but they really struck a chord with me, and my wife was really taken with them.

I am a big fan of KT Tunstall, I think she is so underrated as an artist, she burst on to the music scene and in to our lives in 2004 with an appearance on Later with Jools Holland singing ‘Black Horse and the cherry tree’, she hasn’t looked back since.

To be honest I wasn’t a fan until about 8 years or so ago, I do remember seeing her at V Festival as the opening act and I was so nonchalant about it, its my wife that really opened my eyes as to how talented KT Tunstall really is.

KT has come into her own over the last few years, especially after the release of Kin and Wax, and is back to her best, and back to her roots of the early albums.

The set tonight was over way too quickly in my opinion, as the hour seemed like it was over in five minutes.  I now never ever tire of seeing her or hearing her live, and I know my wife is the same. 

KT was backed by her very talented band, they both add the icing on top of the cake, you don’t think KT Tunstall can get any better, but these girls add the final ingredient to an amazing recipe.

KT’s energy during the set was immense, she definitely loves what she does, and we loved her too.

Keane were the headliner on the main stage, and I must admit I was so looking forward to this as I had never seen them live before.

I was quite interested to see how their material transferred to the live arena and I’m glad to say they were amazing.

There were so many die-hard Keane fans on the front row and beyond watching every move of Tom Chaplin, who is like a gliding ballerina as he moves across the stage – he never stops.

With so many hits to choose from from their back catalogue, every tune they played got a resounding applause, and even the new single went down a storm.

I think Keane are like Marmite, you either lover them or you hate them, its an acquired taste.  I’ve always been a fan and will continue to be.

We could definitely have gone home happy after that. Yeah, we had some rain, but that didn’t dampen anyone’s spirit.

Sunday however found us back for more and the day saw a bit of everything music-wise, Hothouse Flowers, Alfie Boe, Paul Carrack and headliners the Beach Boys.

As I said, something for everyone on every level.  If you weren’t into any of the music you could be quite contented with the comedy side of things, with approx. 15 acts across the weekend.

Whether you want to stand at the front and rock out to the different music acts, whether you’re happy back at base on your camping chairs, eating pies and burgers and quaffing ale, or whether you’re simply content spending quality time with the kids doing arts and crafts, this is definitely the festival for you.

The family atmosphere and the whole essence of family came through, it reminded me of Isle of Wight Festival, just the whole vibe, we both really, really enjoyed it and would thoroughly recommend it. Hopefully we’ll be back again, fingers crossed.

Here’s some choice photos from the weekend…

Michelle Owen-Williams (11.07.19)

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