Sunday overview

Cornbury Music Festival 2006 review

published: Wed 12th Jul 2006

Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th July 2006
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£80 for w/e with camping, £70 without, days £40, under-16s half price
last updated: Tue 20th Jun 2006

Once the lights have come up on Saturday’s headliner the party moves to the campsite, live music continues in the bar, but the drizzle turns to rain and it’s an early departure to their sleeping bags for many.

As is usual come the morning, many people are striking camp and stowing their tents in the cars and the campsite has yawning open spaces by lunchtime when the sun begins to make an appearance. We’ve stowed our canvas too and head into the arena.

There’s a drum session in full swing at the ‘Random Events’ stage and the chai tent next door is doing a roaring trade in it’s lush draught, perfect to shake off the shackles of a night punctuated with flying gazebos and rain on canvas. There’s a new arrival beside it, the Endorse It In Dorset double decker serving up bottles of Spitfire and cocktails from it’s bar. From it’s upper deck the view of the fun fair makes me think it’s been enlarged this year.

Meanwhile the crowd are gathering in front of the main stage to await the first act as Lemon Jelly plays through the PA. Even before it’s started the stage has a good sized crowd in front of it flopping in chairs or laid out on blankets as the sun makes a proper appearance.

The Riverside stage has already started and there’s standing room only amongst the hay bales. So I make way down the field to the second stage just in time to catch the end of a band of youngsters called The wRants who are amazing! Wish I’d seen more of them but I’m glad I missed the Bellydance Bonanza before them in case I’d have had to get involved!

Diego Brown and The Good Fairy sure are as the programme suggested surreal! Now I didn’t catch their whole set and would love to know whether they took to, as I imagined, throwing the fairy cakes they had with them at the crowd. Genuinely funny, they sang about universal themes like losing a dog while taking your relatives to karate, and the perils of being a fairy sprite in the big bad world. As they themselves suggested their music was indeed buttock shufflingly good for the crowd sat on the floor in front of them. With a range of instruments from a kettle to a kazoo the songs of avoiding flying ducks and moving cars was well delivered and instantly hum-alongable.

Diego’s suggestion, on discovering half the crowd would be supporting France and the other half Italy in the World Cup final later in the day, to have us settle it with a good old fashioned game of British Bulldog was inspired, and instantly won over the kids in the crowd. Asking for us to ‘Boo’ them was funny too as was trying to clap in ¾ time to their song ‘Babydoll’. All in all, the sibling duo are an old school Vaudeville act that are great entertainment.

Opening the main stage are The Dualers a hybrid ska/reggae band who opened the Other Stage last year, this time around they’re making a bigger impression with their wonderful harmonious blend of reggae and ska which get the crowd moving and are one of the highlights of the weekend and surely about to break big!

It’s sun filled tunes to make you happy and their Ska’d up version of Coldplay’s ‘Fix You’ is a hit with the crowd.If you buy one album on the strength of a review then make it their debut album ‘The Melting Pot’ and help shoot them to the household names they’re bound to become. If you’re booking bands for a festival book these you won’t be disappointed, they’re spanking good fun, horns and all!

Over on the Oxford Folk Festival Stage the frankly odd, Circulus are getting ready to start their act. Jethro Tull meet Pink Floyd in dresses on acid wearing those hats mushroom sellers used to wear!! With pretty girls on vocals and flutes and a drummer with a great sense of pace and timing. Plus a bongo player, lute, moog and keyboards singer Michael Tyack has put together a heady mix.

Supposedly they’re based in medieval life, and certainly they sing of swords, dragons and fair maidens. Of fairies and pixies, as Michael sings “Don’t burn out before your time” and wields his guitar like a rapier and flourishes chords with wry dexterity. It’s hugely entertaining, so much so I’ve ordered their albums ‘Lick On The Tip Of An Envelope’ out last July and ‘Clocks Are Like People’ they are, out in August.

‘Dragon's Dance’ and ‘Song Of Our Despair’ have the band in full flow, medieval instruments, moog sonics, rock guitar with flare and noodling keyboards, and it’s not a joke! It’s done so well it really works, very clever. Worth hunting down if you like mad folk/medieval/funk/dance crossovers but then there aren’t a lot of them about! Even the visiting trolls outside the tent are enjoying the performance.

I loop back around to the bar noticing the festival shirts have sold out, and even eFestivals merchandise on Mezzanine Dream is selling too! The sun’s out and there’s plenty of beer, the festival has taken on the persona of a large country fayre with Morris bands, jugglers and acrobatics! I even try my hand on the tombola and lucky dip but only come away with a ladybird stamper for my daughter.

...continues on page two >>

review by: Scott Williams

Saturday 8th to Sunday 9th July 2006
Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxfordshire, OX7 3EH, England MAP
£80 for w/e with camping, £70 without, days £40, under-16s half price
last updated: Tue 20th Jun 2006


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