Riverside Festival may not have the starry Iine-up of a Reading or Glastonbury, but when it comes to the feel-good factor Riverside beats them hands down.
The Festival site, on the edge of the Cotswold town of Charlbury, is a tree-lined meadow surrounded on all sides by the Evenlode River. But it’s not just the idyllic location that makes Riverside so special, nor the easy-going atmosphere, great music and good food. In these straitened times what makes Riverside an exceptional event is that it’s totally FREE!
Come midday on the third Saturday in June, this year, as every year, families and groups of friends will descend on Charlbury’s Millfield, with their collapsible chairs and picnic blankets and, hopefully, suncream, for the start of a weekend of snacking, chatting and music. Now in its 17th year, Riverside has become a major fixture in Oxfordshire’s music calendar, with more than 30 acts playing across two stages.
Despite the work involved and the cost of putting on an event of this size, the festival is still run entirely by volunteers and still free for all to enter. It’s a truly family-friendly festival, with a dedicated kids’ area kitted out with a bouncy castle and activities. Last year over 5000 people attended Riverside and the organisers are expecting similar numbers this year.
Riverside has become a ‘must-play’ festival for the cream of Oxford bands and this year the organisers are working on an amazing lineup featuring indie, rock, jazz, folk, blues and world music – something for everyone.
This year Riverside invites anyone with talent, young or old, professional or amateur to compete for the title Riverside Street Star. Whether their talent is stand-up comedy, juggling, streetdance, snake charming, story telling or even just standing still as a statue, their mission will be to win as many Riverside tokens as possible. Each festival goer can pick up a token on their way in and drop it in the hat of their favourite busker. At the end of the weekend whoever has the most tokens wins the title and an appropriate prize. Anyone can take part, but to be assured a time slot register before the event by sending your name, a one line description of your act and when you’d like to perform to email@example.com.