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Festival, Charlbury, Oxfordshire
11 and 12 July 2009
Festivities for the family to enjoy in the summer are few and far between,
take your children to a safe festival environment and grown up kids can
also have fun here too!
Arriving at the Festival was fairly easy with sign posts lighting our way
to Charlbury Park and lovely car park attendant greeted us on arrival. The
Car Park felt safe, which is a good job because the walk to the Arena is a
good half hour walk up and down hills through this beautiful countryside.
has plenty of room and the camp even has its own onsite bar, shop and
coffee shop, which is perfect for parents who want to tuck their little
cherubs into bed whilst they can endure a nightcap complete with music and
other fellow parents.
The Arena is small, one main stage, a second stage with an aptly placed
roof and a Riverside stage which is basically a top decker bus with bails
of hay to sit on.
your usual festival shops (albeit a little bit expensive) such as the
'Fairy Shop', 'Homemade Fair Trade clothes', 'Sweets' and an array of food
stalls including 'Goan Curry', 'Chinese', 'Pie and Mash' and of course
'Burgers and Chips'. Food prices are not too bad (£6 for main meal) and
bar prices are standard for this event (£3.50 for a pint).
Now the music commences. The band Relay kick off the event at
midday followed by a recognised 90's band Dodgy. "Dodgy" joke that
the crowd don't know who they are, they swear a little bit (after
admitting they are slightly 'Guinness' induced') followed by an extreme
apology to the children also watching on many of a Dad's shoulders.
their classics such as "Good Enough", "Staying Out For Summer" and "If
Your Thinking of Me". The band is very tight, and they manage to start the
crowd bouncing along in true festival spirit. The guitarist Andy Miller
seems to have more stage presence than anything else, and the women
(including me) go wild for this rocker!
Dodgy finish their set and we wait eagerly in the sunshine for 45 mins,
for our next main stage act "Magic Numbers".
Magic Numbers definitely have a bigger following than I thought,
Kids, Mums and Dads are all getting their places in front of the main
stage, including the Parents of "Magic Numbers" who are proudly introduced
by their son and daughter under the influence of Guinness (that isn't sold
at the festival).
'Magic Numbers' are more interested in playing their new songs than
anything else, and the excitement now turns to boredom with many of the
crowd leaving to find something better to do. But wait. Finally a number
we all know "Love Me Like You" is beautifully sung and the crowd start to
join in, the sing-along continues with other greats such as "Loves a Game"
and "Take A Chance" to name but a few, the band get quite emotional at the
end of the set, but I think it was alcohol talking!
The crowd are now getting a little feisty, many beers have been drunk, the
kids are playing with bubbles which seems to be their main highlight of
the day and the sun has disappeared. Some very dark gloomy clouds are
looming and yes, here it is, rain, rain and more rain, but the rain
doesn't matter anymore because the sunshine that is Sharleen Spiteri
vaults onto stage with great emphasis and full of life, and we are about
to endure one of the happiest sing-along's of the day.
pure magic on stage, we sing-along with to her 'Texas' greats such as "Say
What You Want", "Black Eyed Boy", "Halo" and many more and even getting
all the female audience grooving on down to "These Boots Were made
She is very
happy to be here and reminds us how much she enjoyed herself in 2007,
making it the only reason to come back this year - just goes to show how
friendly this Festival really is. For me Sharleen is most definitely the
Main Stage highlight of the day and she really did cheer us all up in the
rain, and the kids enjoyed it too!
Things are getting pretty slippy and muddy under foot, the crowd have
dispersed into every nook and cranny that has a roof to keep them dry, I
want a cuppa of tea, but the tea tent is full to brim, I want some sweets,
but the sweet tent is full to the brim - I think the festival could do
with adding some extra places so we can seek refuge from the rain and the
I hide under my waterproof and walk on over to the second stage, as it has
a roof and my second stage highlight of the day is about to commence, I am
very excited to finally see British punk rockers The Damned on a
stage in front in me.
The Damned don't seem to have aged much, 'Capital Sensible' looks exactly
the same as he did in the early 80's, including what appears to be the
same clothes, I am in complete awe of his presence, he is a beautiful man
and thoroughly enjoying the crowds participation and pongo jumping along
to greats such as "Wait For The Blackout" and "Lively Arts".
We do have a
few technical problems on stage, when I say a few, what I really should
say is keyboardist "Monty Oxy Moron" keeps thwacking his keys so hard with
enthusiasm that he breaks it and we all hear throughout the set is "Moron"
moaning about his keyboard. Still, it was funny to say the least and we
don't notice the missing keyboard parts at all; we are too busy singing
and head banging along in glee.
Talk, Happy Talk" is chanted by the crowd and 'Captain Sensible' smiles
and jokes "What about Saturday Night Fever!!??" and a small acoustic
rendition of Saturday Night Fever is sung jokingly. Frontman Dave Vanian
enjoys this too, but then kicks the punk back off with "Dr Jekyll and Mr
Hyde" and many more known punk songs from their album repertoire.
have to leave the fun and head back on over, in the pouring rain, to the
main stage for our final main stage act of the night Scouting For Girls.
The girls are screaming, screaming like banshees, for a moment the screams
feel like we are at a Take That concert and the younger females of the
crowd are going absolutely mental for frontman Roy Stride who starts off
the set playing a beautiful white piano at the back of the stage.
Roy is full
of energy and takes the screams in his stride (stride - get it?), the fans
at the front seem to have forgotten about the dreary awful weather, and
sing in unison to songs such as "She's So Lovely", "Elvis Ain't Dead" and
After these sing songs, I cannot put up with the weather for any longer
and we decide to go back to camp...unfortunately mud prevails, people are
slipping over, Mums are struggling with their pushchairs and we decide to
jump back in the car and head home for the night. My mission of the day
hadn't ended here.......thank god for AA breakdown!
Sadly due to my car catching some kind of rare bug that couldn't be fixed,
I couldn't attend the Sunday festivities, but I am 100% positive that
Sunday was as much fun as Saturday, I was looking forward to watching The
Pretenders and Sugababes"..all is not lost as I know next year will be as
A great weekend for the whole family, and a smaller version of the
Gloucestershire "Wychwood" Festival, can be quite expensive but calm,
happy, pleasant and most of all, safe!
Review and photos by The Fluffmeister
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