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10 reasons why you need Cornbury Festival in your life

PUBLISHED: 10:38 10 July 2018

Cornbury 2017 (c) Ben Phillips /

Cornbury 2017 (c) Ben Phillips /

All rights reserved, Ben Phillips Photography

If you haven’t secured your tickets for the wonder that is the Cornbury Festival yet, we’re here to help you make your best decision of summer 2018

“The greatest joy with being back in the Cornbury saddle is the opportunity to work with some amazing artists, singers and performers,” says Hugh Phillimore.

How many of us were in despair at the announcement last year that it was to be the last ever Cornbury Festival? “It can’t be!” “My summer is ruined!” “Are there any other festivals with posh toilets?” were the cries that could be heard across the Cotswolds and beyond. Like some angsty case of mass hysteria, the rumble of disquietude threatened to rock the very foundations of our fair land.

Fret ye not. Due to the sheer weight of public demand, organiser Hugh Phillimore has held up his hands in defeat and promised to not only return the festival to its army of loving followers, but he’s going to make it bigger and better than ever before. Yes! There truly is an higher being, and her name is ‘Cornbury’.

It’s going to be a cracker of the first order and, if you miss it, don’t say we didn’t try to gently guide you into securing your tickets by giving you ten reasons why you simply must not miss THE festival of 2018. So, here’s what’s in our hit parade...

10. Here come the girls...and I ain’t talking Sugababes. Saturday sees a strong line-up of sass with the likes of Pixie Lott, PP Arnold, Nina Nesbitt, Mavis Staples, and...wait for it...Alanis Morissette – yes, Alanis! – hitting the stage. The Devil may have all the best tunes, but he’s borrowed them from the feistier sex. Boys allowed.

Alanis MorissetteAlanis Morissette

9. In at number nine, and feeling fine, is Hugh’s old friend, pop star, record producer and artist manager Peter Asher, joined by legendary guitarist Albert Lee, for an acoustic spot on Friday at the Caffè Nero Stage. Of Peter’s more extraordinary claims to fame - not that he needs any - is that he was the inspiration for the movie character Austin Powers. Yes, really. The likeness is uncanny...

8. At number eight we have South London boys Squeeze. Returning to the artists’ favourite festival to headline on Sunday night, messrs Difford and Tilbrook will be rolling out songs old and new from their 40-year history. Whether you’re a cat or not, we think that’s pretty cool.

Chris Difford with Squeeze (c) Rob O'ConnorChris Difford with Squeeze (c) Rob O'Connor

7. Taking you to seventh heaven are Cornbury’s posh loos. When Nature Calls (for that’s what they’re called), you’ll find the latest vacuum flush toilets that are cleaned after every single use; warm water with soap, mirrors and hand towels; and – be still, my beating heart – hair washing and styling facilities with GHD straighteners! You don’t have to rough it, and neither does your hair… does it get any better than this?

6. We’ve circus tricks in at number six...The kids’ zone features everything you could possibly think of to keep the younger generation amused and out of your (GHD-straightened) hair. From ukulele and drum workshops to samba drumming shows, and Punch & Judy to pirate puppets, they’ll be having as good a time as you.

5. When five become one...Brian McFadden, formerly of Westlife, will be Flying Without Wings as he does a not-so-secret performance on the Jack FM stage – new for 2018 – along with lots of new emerging talent. ‘Raise Me Up’ I can get a good view over the crowd. Thank you.

Cornbury 2017 (c) Ben Phillips / 2017 (c) Ben Phillips /

4. Let’s be FRANK, we hate single-use plastic...and so does Cornbury. Last year at the festival, nearly 19,000 500ml refills of filtered, chilled water were provided by FRANK Water volunteers from the two marquees and roaming FRANK Tanks. For the love of the planet – and a happy, hydrated body – you know it makes sense.

3. We’re full of glee for number three...Flying into the Berk’s Nest is a flock of comedy talent, including Katy Brand, James Acaster, Ivo Graham and Felicity Ward. The comedy emporium will have you crying for all the right reasons, so bring a box of tissues and allow your funny bone to be tickled ’til it begs for mercy.

2. Love is in the air, and it takes two, baby. Cornbury loves a wedding and this year they’re introducing a ‘personal bonding’ service at Cornbury. The celebrant Rebecca Morris will be offering exchanges of vows, vow renewals, handfasting and the ‘Red Thread of Fate’ ceremonies at the heart of the festival. These services are available free to all comers in the glamping area under the shade of The Love Tree (where else?). If you’d like to mark, renew or begin a committed relationship, contact Rebecca at and feel the love.

Cornbury 2017 (c) Ben Phillips / 2017 (c) Ben Phillips /

1. In at number one, with a bullet are the Hairy Bikers. This year’s very special guests are the hirsute, now slimline duo who are about to launch their new dieting book ‘The Hairy Dieters Make it Easy’.

Si and Dave will be cooking up a serious feast in their exclusive three-day Hairy Bikers Festival Feast Restaurant at Cornbury, entertaining diners with their banter served hot over a wood-fired oven. Watch those beards near a naked flame, boys.

Hairy BikersHairy Bikers

I could go on and wax lyrical about the massage zone, fairground, top-notch foodie stalls and bohemian shopping aplenty, not to mention the eclectic mix of music across the four stages, but if you’ve read as far as number one and still haven’t booked, well, I’ll be an organ-grinding monkey...

I’ve a feeling, though, I’ll be seeing you near front of stage for Alanis Morissette. Save me a good spot, will you?

Cornbury Festival is at The Great Tew Park, Oxfordshire, from July 13 to 15. Visit or call 0844 249 1000 for tickets.


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