This is a fan­tas­tic small fes­ti­val. In 2011 it fea­tured the Cor­nish folk band 3 Daft Mon­keys, and the haunt­ing­ly beau­ti­ful Salt­fish Forty.

Here is a review of Tow­ersey Vil­lage Fes­ti­val 2012 by guest blog­ger Tes­sa Gordziejko.

Tow­ersey Vil­lage Fes­ti­val in Oxford­shire – now in its 48th year- has some­thing spe­cial that brings peo­ple back year after year. I’ve been going for twelve years on and off dur­ing which my kids have grown from small peo­ple and teens, using the many kids and youth activ­i­ties to young adults, who see this small, nav­i­ga­ble fes­ti­val as a chilled week­end in the fre­net­ic sum­mer fes­ti­val calendar.

It’s slow­ly grown over the years and camp­ing has expand­ed, though the fes­ti­val loos remain the most lux­u­ri­ous I have encoun­tered in a field, and the queues at the food out­lets are still not too long. Camp­site 1 remains very ordered, rel­a­tive­ly qui­et (no loud noise after mid­night), close to all the main facil­i­ties, Big Club and Ceilidh tent. You have to get there on Thurs­day to get a spot and it’s a bit like the camp­ing equiv­a­lent of Aca­cia Gar­dens. Its also strong­ly fam­i­ly ori­ent­ed – you’re more like­ly to be wok­en at 6am by some osten­ta­tious­ly patient par­ent singing The Wheels On the Bus to their small chil­dren than kept awake by late night carous­ing. Camp­site 2 is bet­ter for those with a lat­er fes­ti­val sched­ule – arriv­ing, ris­ing, retir­ing – and who pre­fer their fes­ti­val camp­ing a bit more rugged. Also you can park vehi­cles by your camp.

It’s clear­ly on the folk fes­ti­val cir­cuit, but has a wider audi­ence than the tankard-car­ry­ing folkies, includ­ing a big youth ele­ment. It has a fair pres­ence of tra­di­tion­al folk dance includ­ing lots of mor­ris groups and a Ceilidh tent pre­sent­ing real­ly good Ceilidh bands, although us ceilidh duf­fers can feel a bit out of our depth on the dance floor. The evening offer­ing is chiefly divid­ed across two main venues, the Big Club which caters for the more tra­di­tion­al audi­ences in a most­ly seat­ed con­cert with some of the best names in folk And acoustic roots; and Venue 65′ pre­sent­ing an evening of more dance ori­ent­ed acts. In pre­vi­ous years I’ve divid­ed my Tow­ersey evenings between the two venues, but this year the line-up on each of the three evenings I was there was so crack­ing that our par­ty was Venue 65 all the way. The head­lin­ers being Bel­low­head (Fri­day) the divine Edward II (Sat­ur­day) and the mighty Peat­bog Faeries on Sun­day. Great music, danc­ing, atmos­phere and all just a five minute stroll from our camp.

Tow­ersey is not an all night fes­ti­val, it all goes pret­ty qui­et after the late night act at Venue 65′ although my son did find the vil­lage club­house open till 3am. This means there are quite a few hours of day­time to fill. some of my clean liv­ing friends kick off with an ear­ly morn­ing yoga ses­sion and con­tin­ue with a range of music and dance work­shops – this year, inspired and enter­tain­ing Stephen Tabern­er of The Spooky Men’s Chorale ran mass singing work­shops every morn­ing. Or a mooch around the mar­ket­place, a vis­it to one of the small­er venues in the vil­lage or on site, and tak­ing in the many street the­atre acts in the Show­ground area. Or a lunchtime con­cert. We real­ly enjoyed sit­ting on the grass at the edge of the Big Club with a pint of foam­ing ale lis­ten­ing to Jamie Smith’s Mabon, a pan Euro­pean fusion of Celtic influ­ences includ­ing a strong Bre­ton streak, a per­fect Tow­ersey band. And I was glad I took my extend­ed fam­i­ly to the Ian McMil­lan Orches­tra on Sun­day after­noon as they are all now con­verts to Ian’s Barns­ley wit and wis­dom and his excel­lent and lyri­cal folk band.

7 thoughts on “Review: Towersey Village Festival 2012

  1. love­ly arti­cle… there is usu­al­ly a work­shop one morn­ing ear­ly on in the fes­ti­val for ‘ceilidh duf­fers’ so you can learn your right hand stars and which way to strip the willow 🙂

    1. Thanks! And good to know about the ceilidh class­es. It can be a bit intim­i­dat­ing to start with but so much fun when you get into it.

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