Wychwood turned out to be completely different to what I had expected. When my parents announced that I was going... my immediate reaction was... "oh no, not another oldies festival", I didn’t know how wrong I could be
It’s Friday, Friday… and everyone ought to get down to the Wychwood festival this Friday… At 4pm the gates opened and people started arriving. Having never been to a festival like this before I didn’t know what to expect. I’d never even heard of ‘wychwood’ before, so I knew it was not going to be a ‘glastonbury’ or ‘download’ style experience.
It was fairly quiet compared to what I thought it’d be like. Stages were empty and people were anticipating the first performances. We were at the BBC introducing stage waiting for the ‘7.20s’ who were the first band to play the stage. With no more than 30 people in the tent I couldn’t help thinking things were a bit, well… dead. I’d been to gigs before and I’d never seen such a small crowd. But it had to be handed to this up and coming band, they didn’t let the lack of audience phase them. They put on a really good show, they clearly enjoyed themselves and everyone who had gone to watch them seemed to have a good time too.
Moving from the BBC stage to the Big Top tent things had picked up, the atmosphere was livelier and more and more people appeared to be arriving. We had decided to go and see ‘Arcadian Kicks’. I was shocked to see how young this band was, and found it even harder to believe that they were already signed. However once they kicked things off, all doubts were lost. It has to be said, this band was incredible! They announced that this was their second year playing ‘wychwood’. I was amazed that I hadn’t heard of these guys before. For me they were the best band of the night, I personally think they were even better than the headliners, ‘The Charlatans’.
Moving away from the music and focusing on other aspects of the festival the food was well priced and really tingled the taste buds. There was something to do for all the family, from belly dancing to oreo-licking competitions. It was a very child friendly festival, everywhere you looked there were families happily enjoying their Friday evening together. I know it may not be what everyone’s interested in, but the porta-loos were very clean, and even smelt nice, for me this was a definite up-side to the festival, as often the toilet facilities are very…. Well unpleasant.
Unfortunately I can’t tell you what the camping was like, as I opted to travel home each night and sleep in the warmth of my own bed. What I can say though, is that the weather wasn’t great on Saturday morning and all of Sunday things were wet and grey. However the people of Wychwood were not going to let this dampen their festival spirits. The crowds were up bright and early for another day of great music.
I decided to go and explore some of the interesting workshops Wychwood had to offer. There was a good selection of things to do both for adults and children. I witnessed many different dancing sessions taking place, circus skills and other arts activities. I have to mention an amazing woman called Sarah who ran one of the workshops called ‘Spare Room Arts’, I personally thought that her ideas and pieces were fantastic. Everyone had the opportunity to head down to ‘The Forest’ and take part in painting a mural. I recommend that you take a look at her website where you will be able to see some of the things she has done previously, and potentially check out the work from Wychwood 2011…. http://www.spareroomarts.co.uk/
As Sunday began festival-goers were still wearing happy faces as they trudged around Cheltenham Racecourse in the wet, muddy conditions. The festival was drawing to a close, and something that dawned on me was that Wychwood turned out to be completely different to what I had expected. When my parents announced that I was going to be dragged to another festival of their choice, my immediate reaction was…. “oh no, not another oldies festival”, I didn’t know how wrong I would be. There really was something for everyone here. Young bands, dance-like music (such as Chapelier Fou), and entertaining solo artists (like Charlie Baxter) meant that, even as a teen, there was always something to do.