Sunshine and smiles at annual 'Poshstock'

The Oxford Times: Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the Songbird Stage. Pictures: OX68356 Jon Lewis Buy this photo Sophie Ellis-Bextor on the Songbird Stage. Pictures: OX68356 Jon Lewis

CELEBRITIES, music lovers and artists came together for Oxfordshire’s first big music festival of the summer, with the event once again hailed by organisers as “pretty fantastic”.

Up to 12,000 people a day joined the 11th Cornbury Music Festival at Great Tew Park, near Chipping Norton, with an exclusive guest list which confirmed the event’s nickname – ‘Poshstock’.

The festival started on Thursday and finished last night.

Film star Orlando Bloom, EastEnders actress Patsy Palmer, Countryfile presenter Adam Henson and TV comedian Dom Joly were among the famous faces seen enjoying three days of live music, film, comedy, discussion and arts and crafts sessions.

Comedian Russell Brand also dropped in to a glamorous after-party at the manor house, in the grounds of which the festival is held.

The Oxford Times:

Kacey Musgraves.

Musical highlights came from pianist Jools Holland and his band, anthemic pop act Simple Minds, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, New Jersey rock & roll band Southside Johnny & the Asbury Jukes, ’60s legend Georgie Fame, Suzanne Vega, Kacey Musgraves and Kid Creole and the Coconuts, who charmed a sunny Sunday afternoon audience with a set of appropriately tropical pop.

The Oxford Times:

Jim Kerr of Simple Minds wows the crowds during the headline show on the Saturday night. Picture: Des Brambley.

Festival director Hugh Phillimore said: “It has been pretty fantastic. I was quite apprehensive this year because of the bad weather forecast, but the sun came out, the music worked well and people have had a nice time. I’d say it has been one of the best yet. I’m knocked out by it.”

He said negotiations were already under way for next year’s headline acts – and those for the following two years. He said: “I’ve been promised a particularly big one for next year.”

The Oxford Times:

Organiser Hugh Phillimore.

Enjoying yesterday’s sunshine were Matt and Sara Skeath from Newbury, who really made a day of the festival by holding their wedding reception at the event.

Mr Skeath said: “We are big festival fans – and we’ve had a great day.”

The Oxford Times:

Matt and Sara Skeath who celebrated their marriage at the event.

And making a festival first was 60-year-old Caroline Compton, from Colchester, Essex, for whom Cornbury was her first music festival. She said: “I’d never been to a festival before, but this looked like a good one to start with.

“I don’t like too much loud music and mud so it’s been perfect.”

Performance artist Richard Jones from Summertown, Oxford, was promoting men’s health with his friend Wayne Miller from Buckinghamshire – by dressing up as comedy lifeguards.

He said: “I love it. And it’s been great to be able approach people who wouldn’t normally want to talk about men’s issues.”

Stuart Macbeth, from Lake Street, Oxford, was performing on the Riverside local music stage with vintage jazz and blues act The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band.

He said: “It’s a beautiful festival and we loved playing. It’s great that they had us.”

The Oxford Times:

Applause from the audience.

The festival is also an important fundraising opportunity for local good causes.

Staff and parents from Charlbury Pre-School have run a hog roast at every Cornbury and this year raised about £2,500.

Manager Jan Stubberfield said: “It’s a very important fundraising opportunity for the pre-school.

“Two years ago we refurbished the playground, which cost £15,000. We could not do that out of normal funds – it’s only possible because of Cornbury.”

She added: “This has been another good year.”

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