We were absolutely thrilled to be invited to Cornbury festivals‘ fabulous finale! We went there two years ago when I was working in the craft tent and had an absolutely brilliant time and so were really excited to go again. The weather forecast was looking good and we were all in good spirits as we set off for Great Tews park, one of the most beautiful settings for a festival, perched in the rolling Oxfordshire hills, a vision of quintessential English countryside.
We traveled up on the Friday after school and work and smoothly entered the festival with no queues at all and set up Wilma the campervan quickly so that we could get in and enjoy the festival. We arrived at the stage in time for Sophie Ellis Bexter’s set and it was nice to hear some old favourites and have a sing along.
The kids were exhausted (translation for ‘no fun at all!’) and so we just had a little stroll round before finding a spot to listen to the amazing Kaiser Chiefs. They were so so so good! All the songs from my going out days were played and took me right back to a time of carefree fun and nights out…. the kids soon dragged me back to the present though, and we had to leave half way through the set, listening to the epic ‘I predict a riot’ from the van as they were just too tired to go on!
The next day dawned beautifully sunny and bright and we were all excited for the day ahead, despite a late night and early start for the kids. The legendary Bryan Adams was on that evening and there was so much to do over the day that we were worried we wouldn’t be able to fit it in. We decided that instead of trying to do everything and dragging the (tired) kids around all day, we would have a strategy and set up a base with a view of the main stage and then just keep coming back to it. Forgive me for this terrible joke on twitter please, terrible or brilliant depending on your standing with ‘Mum jokes’. 😀
— Pink Pear Bear (@pinkpearbear) July 8, 2017
It was a really great idea. Cornbury has specific ‘chair zones’ and there are lots of people that do the same, it’s funny because you start to get to know your ‘neighbours’ and have chats etc, it fosters a sense of community and you feel safe to leave your bits and bobs there while you wander. (Not valuables though of course)
My goodness @cornburymusicfestival you really did go out on such a massive high!! We had such an amazing time, the weather was beautiful beyond belief, the problem being shade seeking at one point!! Luckily I had the bright idea to get the fitted double sheet from the van and pop it over two camping chairs for the kids making a shady tent. The kids area was fantastic, the food was fab and the bands were just incredible. It was a brilliant weekend. One of my favourite things about festivals is letting the kids be free. The anxiety in me finds it stressful though, however, with an @xplorawatch on, my daughter (the teeny pink speck leading the way in the photo), is reachable by text or call & trackable, all through an app that I have on my phone! Puts my mind at ease. I never thought I consider getting my kids a phone so young but actually, times are changing fast and I need to keep up. 🐢(imagine that’s a dinosaur!) Use the code 5yfxjg22 for a free ‘Xplora Super Spinner’ with your order! It really was a brilliant weekend and I loved every minute! Do you take your kids to festivals? Which is your favourite? #ad #pinklinker
After tracking down bacon butties (the hubs and kids) and a delicious smoothie (me, aren’t I good?!) we settled down for a bit and listened to a couple of bands, Victoria, who were fab, and Black Dylan, who were also really talented musicians but the lead singer did a little more talking then singing, which would have been fine had it not been for the fact that it was 1pm, full of kids and everything he said was peppered with swear words! They should really have checked the set list and put them on a little later considering one of the songs seemed to be titled ‘Papa is a Mother F**cker’!! 😀 It did make us laugh but really annoyed a lot of people and prompted a chant of ‘off, off, off’ resulting in the compare later apologising for his terrible ‘potty mouth’! Luckily one child was asleep and the other not really paying attention.
It was ridiculously hot, one of the bluest sky days I’ve seen in a long time, and the area we were sitting in was very sparsely shaded and so I popped back to the van to get our fitted double sheet from the bed and we made the kids a makeshift tent by placing it over two camping chairs and they sat and napped in there for a bit in the cool shade. I congratulated myself on my genius for this one and was feeling pretty smug about my ‘making do’ ability.
I had also been surprisingly (usually!) organised and had packed a picnic, which we ate before heading over to explore the fabulous kid’s area. This is always the best part for me. They always put so much effort into these and there were the usual circus skills, crafts and clay making along with science shows, Time Travelling Toby, (an old favourite of both kids), and no end of quirky live acts wandering around captivating and delighting the kids. We saw a giant fairy on stilts sprinkling glitter, a dragon and his medieval owner and a giant animal that looked a little like the creature from never ending story being led around by two mythical beings. Jem (or Thomas Trilby!) does a fantastic job of bringing everything together.
We also strolled over to see the Dogs for Good stand to make some fun doggy masks and learn a little more about the wonderful work that they do and of course to pet the many labradors! They had a show running several times over the festival but unfortunately we timed it wrong each time and so didn’t get to see it but heard that it was a brilliant insight into how they train the dogs to be such amazing companions.
After that was some play time near the Disco Shed, which I absolutely love, chilled out tunes in the day and then a real party atmosphere at night! There were a few swingballs and giant jenga set out and we sat and chatted in a shady spot while the kids made friends and ran about playing.
A little while later, despite having a hat on, sun cream and trying to keep her in the shade and really well hydrated, my daughter felt really unwell and very sick and so we took her to the first aid tent where they looked after her brilliantly, checking her temp, getting her some cold water and a cool pack to put on her neck. They were really nice to her and made her feel a lot better.
When she was up to it, we headed back to our chairs to get her some dinner, (anyone else spend their entire time at festis eating?!), and my son and I queued for the longest time for wood fired pizzas, luckily getting to listen to the amazing Tom Chaplin formally of Keane, who was refreshingly honest about his struggles and why he was no longer with the band. He sung beautifully and there was some of his new solo material as well as some classic Keane numbers that I could amuse my son by belting along to! Police Dog Hogan were also a surprising hit, very funny and excellent musicians, we didn’t think they would be our cup of tea but we really enjoyed their set.
The pizzas were just what we needed and we snuggled down to wait for Bryan, watching the hot air balloons going up and the sky changing to a beautiful sunset. It really was quite magical.
The main event was deservedly Bryan, and as his set started, everyone around us jumped to their feet, I knew more songs then I realised I did and the icing on the cake was when not one but both kids fell asleep snuggled on our laps and we could just enjoy the music with no whinging, moaning, wriggling or the incredibly silly behaviour that results from tiredness in our house!
As the evening drew to a close, some of our ‘neighbours’ helped us to collect up our (many!) bags and we put the kids into the trolley….best thing evvvvvveeer….and headed back to the van on a really happy high.
Although it was another stunningly beautiful day, we headed off early on Sunday, there had been a mix up with us bringing the van and we had been told on arrival that the camper area was totally full so we were asked to set up in the main car park which was fine but meant a bit of a trek to the toilets and no showers so we decided to get home and clean up so we could go and pick up our new puppy a bit earlier. It wasn’t really a great hardship, as we were so excited about puppy day, although it would have been nice to see a little bit more as the line up looked brilliant again.
Another one from the epically beautiful @cornburymusicfestival as we waited for Bryan Adams to come on and the hot air balloons started going up around us. (Yes really, I kid you not!) It is just the prettiest festival and the views are stunning. I’m just writing it up and reliving it all. I’m so sad it was the last one!! We always have such lovely fun family time at festis. I just love the whole experience of being outdoors, listening to amazing bands and generally just relaxing. Especially when the weather was this good! #pinklinker
All in all, Cornbury was a massive hit with us all and I personally think that it is one of the best festivals that we have been to as a family. I hope that one day it comes back, it is such a great shame that that was the last one when it seems to me to be such a huge success.