Wychwood offers the perfect family festival to start the summer

Wychwood 2018 review

published: Thu 14th Jun 2018

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Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd June 2018
Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH, England MAP
£147.50 weekend ticket + £32.50 for camping
daily capacity: 7500
last updated: Thu 24th May 2018

So here we go again, the start of the summer can mean only one thing, festival season is upon us again!
With a forecast posted at upwards of 20 degrees for the whole weekend, It was time to break out all the camping gear. Call me superstitious but a dry festival to start the season is always a good omen for things to come in my book, and for three years now the first festival of the season for my family and I had been the mighty Wychwood festival.
Only once have I felt rain whilst at Wychwood, and again history and the weather were both on our side.
We arrived on site early evening Friday, and eased our self into festival ways again, Wychwood allows you to drive into the campsite to drop off all your gear before parking up for the weekend, which I personally find takes a lot of the sting out of the weekend. We had our tent up in a flash and made our way over the track to the festival site, Wychwood is held at Cheltenham race course, the camping is based inside the race track and the music site on the outfield.
We entered just as The Beat took to the stage, with the sun dropping in the sky and the hobgoblin ales flowing, the two tone maestros soon had everyone bouncing round the field, I think they would of been a great headliner, but that honour was left to Baxter Dury, son of The late Ian Dury of the blockheads fame, it wasn't really our cup of tea, so we took the opportunity to head back to the tent and get a jumper before heading back to the kids favourite, the Headphone Disco, raving late into the night in the big top tent, with two channels to choose from on your headphones it usually leads to a giggle, a highlight of mine was listening to the blue channel, Nirvana 'Smells Like Teen Spirit' and seeing someone dancing to 'Grease Lightning' on the red channel.
Baxter Dury
Saturday got of to a lively start, with kids favourites Dick an Dom taking to the stage at 11 am, providing plenty of hi-jinks, a mere hour later the hi-jinks continued but more for the mums and dads, The Barsteward Sons Of Val Doonican pulled off a first at Wychwood, after a set full of soft rock parodies such as 'Lady In Greggs' they finished off with a raucous cover of the House Of Pain super hit 'Jump Around' during which the lead singer crowd surfed straight to the bar to get a pint, a real fun filled moment which had adults and kids alike enthused.
We were about to stumble upon another highlight of our weekend, with the sun blistering down on us, we decided to go and take some shade in the hobgoblin stage, and wondered into a multi brass band jam session featuring two of the weekends artists, the Heavy Beat Brass Band and the New York Brass Band, the later would be seen later on the Main stage, but the set we walked into was full of energy and excitement, covers of everything from a barrage of Ibiza style trance anthems to Rage Against The Machine had the crowd bouncing, the tented stage was full the overspill.
The rest of the day was mainly spent in circus school, learning how to hula hoop much to the hilarity of the kids, taking rides on the fair ground and sampling the ice cream stalls dotted round the site. We rounded the evening off with a double of what can only be described as chalk and cheese, sub headliners The Go! Team, the noughties indie darlings brought their energy packed show to Cheltenham full of great summer vibes and smile inducing indie pop, followed up by a coup of a booking, The Gypsy Kings, who came saw and conquered, I must admit I was a bit sceptical of the booking before hand, thinking it was going to drag, and be a performance of the same song pretty much over and over, but that was far from the truth, the 90 minute headline seemed to shoot by with the odd Spanish cover thrown in 'Hotel California' is still quite the song sang in Spanish, and before we all knew it the whole field was 'bombalayoing' together as one. I do think the set would not of been quite as enjoyable in the rain, but after a day of drinking in the sun it was the perfect booking.
Gypsy Kings
The weekends at Wychwood always seem to pass by in a blink and before we knew it it was time to take down the tent again.
Rounding out the weekend a feast of crowd pleasers had been assembled including Toyah, Doctor And The Medics, The Correspondents and Hollie Cook, all putting in commendable shifts on the main stage in the blistering heat. but in my eyes Wychwood had saved the best till almost last, in the sunset penultimate slot, were arguably the biggest band to play in the history of Wychwood, the mighty Feeder, with a set spanning 20 odd years, Grant and Taka treated the crowd to a greatest hits set, including, 'High' 'Just The Way I'm Feeling' and 'Come Back Around' to mention but a few, the guys were obviously enjoying thrashing out the hits in the sun, but seemed quite surprised by the very chilled out nature of the Wychwood faithful. But they brought everyone together to bounce around as one to their finishing number 'Just A Day'.
With work and School looming it was with heavy hearts that we had to leave the wonderful little bubble that is Wychwood, and return to the real world. Yet again Wychwood had stolen a small part of our hearts, both young and old hold this little festival dear in our hearts and we shall return again. With great food stalls catering for all tastes and all budgets, and one of the best bar selections, Wychwood is the perfect place for early summer family fun.

review by: Jamie Licence

photos by: Jamie Cooney

Friday 1st to Sunday 3rd June 2018
Cheltenham Racecourse, Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, GL50 4SH, England MAP
£147.50 weekend ticket + £32.50 for camping
daily capacity: 7500
last updated: Thu 24th May 2018

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