I was truly saddened when I read that this years Cornbury Festival was going to be the last. I had only been once before in 2015 and was pregnant at the time so knew it would be a while before I returned. What I loved about the festival was not just the calibre of artists, but the overall feel of the festival, the atmosphere, the crowds, the stalls, the food and all the little quirky things like bunting and helter skelters that made the festival attractive as well as fun. I walked around thinking to myself how perfect the festival was and that I would one day bring my child along.
Cornbury has pretty much everything to offer, unless you’re looking for a hardcore weekend of metal music or a rave then you won’t get it here and glad I am of that. Not that I knock those festivals, not at all, I have just been there, done that, now I like the more relaxed atmosphere at festivals.
Cornbury, The Fabulous Finale will be fabulous indeed. If you have never been to Cornbury then you must go and if you have been before then still go. It’s the last one and it will undoubtedly be a celebration of all the years the festival has run. Have kids? Bring them. When I went there were many happy children running around excited and enjoying themselves. Cornbury even hire out child carts with shades if the kiddies want a nap. If you plan on camping, then there is a separate area for families who wish to stay in a slightly quieter area and when I saw this, it looked really peaceful and never had a queue for the toilets so I can imagine they were the best ones to go to ha!
Parking is also easy, most festivals it’s a nightmare that we could all do without but Cornbury is very well organised and there were plenty of spacious parking spots and a very short walk to the main entrance. You are greeted by a quaint and festive archway upon arrival that says Cornbury Festival. Right away you see a fun fare as well as many unique stalls and people dressed in fancy dress to entertain not just the children but the adults too.
Now on to the music. I have said in a previous review just how wonderful the selection of artists are at Cornbury and this opinion, well, this fact hasn’t changed. The wonderful thing about Cornbury is it’s diversity in the line-up. Despite there being a range of genres, they all seem to blend perfectly with one another and each artist billed is an act that you would enjoy whether you knew them or not. It’s safe to say that the organisers at Cornbury not only know what they are doing but also have great taste in music.
This, however, is a country music website but…we also feature Americana, Folk and singer-songwriters, hence why we love Cornbury so much. The organisers at Cornbury have been great supporters of Country, Folk and Americana music over the years. In 2015 they had not only one Country Music act but five. The Shires, Ward Thomas, Striking Matches, Raintown and Jess and The Bandits, boy was that treat! With the majority of those artists being UK Country artists, it shows the wonderful support Cornbury has for the UK scene as well as the US, which is something we, as fans and reviewers will sadly miss. They haven’t forgotten our beloved genre though. The Fabulous Finale has kindly invited some of our much loved acts along for the ride and I highly recommend you come along to be a part of it, a part of history and a part of something that you won’t forget. This year, Cornbury have invited along our very own UK star Laura Oakes.
Since then, Laura had recorded and self-released her first single ‘Don’t Let It Hit Ya’ in September 2013 which reached the top 20 on the iTunes Country Chart. Her second single ‘Snakes and Ladders’ followed in 2014 with just as much success and has become one of her most memorable and much loved hits.
Laura released her debut Self-Titled EP to iTunes in the summer of 2015 which has given her fantastic praise and ongoing support from Bob Harris as well as other BBC Radio DJ’s. Laura’s music has also received a large amount of air play from digital radio stations such as Chris Country, Amazing Radio and 2 Country. Bob Harris included her EP in his Best of 2015 retrospective on BBC Radio 2.
On Cornbury Festival Laura says:
“Cornbury has really incorporated Country amongst other genres really well and not made a statement like “Ooh, this is a different thing”. They have just put styles of music out there and gone with it quite boldly, which is nice because, like we were saying, people don’t think they like Country and then they hear it and now love it. Festivals also, are really good at showcasing various styles of music because it’s the one time where you can discover new music, because there is so much going on. Cornbury have done that really well with Country, because it’s been woven in amazingly well, which has really helped the UK Country scene massively.”
Also on the line up are The Wandering Hearts, the UK’s newest and exciting Americana group who recently signed with Decca Records and released their debut single Wish I Could on May 5th 2017. The Wandering Hearts consist of A.J, Tim, Chess and Tara and are a quartet vocal group who are going to take the music industry by storm. Already, they are creating a lot of buzz with a sold out show in April at London’s St Pancras Church before even releasing a song and drawing a massive crowd at their shows during C2C Festival in March.
The Wandering Hearts are set to be one of the highlights at Cornbury Festival and I highly recommend you catch them. If you like artists such as Mumford and Sons, The Lumineers, Fleetwood Mac mixed with a shot of Abba then these are the group for you. Think UK’s answer to Little Big Town. The Wandering Hearts are currently working on their debut album set to be released later in the year and will be appearing across many festivals and events in the meantime. This vocal group need no instrumentation as their voices carry sounds that fill a room and in Cornburys case, fill the air. However, each of them play an instrument adding that extra Americana/Country sound we all love so much.
On Cornbury Festival, Chess and Tara said:
“To get Cornbury, I mean I was a massive Bryan Adams fan growing up – to be playing in the same bill as him and other acts is so exciting. My parents and friends are coming up in camper vans it is going to be so much fun.It’s a shame that it’s the last but we are so thrilled to be playing.”
Wish I Could – Single by The Wandering Hearts
As if that wasn’t exciting enough, UK’s number one album selling country duo Ward Thomas return for Cornbury’s finale. Ward Thomas are one of Britains most successful and best loved country acts. Twin sisters Lizzy and Catherine Ward Thomas have gone from strength to strength over the years. Last year saw their most successful year, being signed to Sony Music and their second album Cartwheels being number one in the all genre charts amongst other great achievements.
Regulars at Cornbury Festival and massive fans of the event, Ward Thomas are sure to help Cornbury go out with a bang especially since they filmed their video for the song Guest List there in 2015 from their debut album From Where We Stand.
On Cornbury Ward Thomas said:
Catherine – “I always found that Cornbury was such a great festival. Our cousins are coming over from Canada and there’s a few festivals that we are playing in the time that they are over. So we said, you have to come to Cornbury, because it’s so welcoming, it’s so lovely and it’s got so much diverse music that you’ll see everyone there”
Lizzy –” It’s sad that it’s the last one, because we filmed our video for Guest List there. I feel that we have an attachment with that festival because the way they support the genre and everything.”
So country music fans, grab your wellies..er, cowboy boots, gather your tents, tell the family and book for Cornburys Big Farewell, it’ll be worth it!