|Cornbury Music Festival 2011|
30th Jun - 2nd Jul 2011
The Great Tew Estate, New Road, Chipping Norton, Oxfordshire, OX7 4AH, United Kingdom
Set in the picturesque countryside of its new home in Great Tew in Oxfordshire The Cornbury Festival delivered a great weekend of music for the whole family across all four stages. Cornbury is often referred to as the posh Glastonbury, but I found it to be the most polite when the most frequently heard word was sorry as someone inadvertently almost bumped into you.
Getting the line up right to satisfy the needs of parents and children is difficult as their tastes are significantly different, but Hugh Phillimore and his team managed to do this successfully achieved this by having a mixture of ‘pop’ and ‘classic rock’ on the Pleasant Valley stage.
Having arrived and pitched my tent in record time I went to the Pleasant Valley stage in time to catch Eliza Doolittle who was a hit with the kids and had some adults gently tapping their feet.
Moving up to the Songbird Stage is an easy affair, the layout of the stages and the market place is really very well thought out but that’s what you get when you are successful festival organisers. Another bonus was having a bar by each of the stages, so if you felt that way inclined you could relax, have a beer and listen to some great music.
On stage is Buffy St Marie who performed a number of her classic protest songs, the highlight was Universal Soldier, as she put it a song that is unfortunately as apt today as it was when she wrote in protest against the Vietnam War, I wonder if the local MP was listening!
Meanwhile on the Pleasant Valley Stage Cyndi Lauper was showing her true colour with a voice which is still as powerful today as it was during her heyday of the eighties and her rendition of Time After Time was truly breathtaking.
Back to the Songbird stage for Bellowhead who performed a set which engaged with the entire audience and by the end had the whole crowd bouncing; surely it can only be a matter of time before they create a mosh pit.
Fridays headliner was James Blunt a man who splits opinions, but the majority of the crowd love him, as he put it “You all seem so happy when so many of my songs are depressing” . Back at the campsite Jake Hall a three piece consisting of vocalist, saxophonist and percussion are on stage performing their interpretations of classic songs much to the delight of an ever growing crowd, a great way to end a most enjoyable day.
Saturday starts at 6:30 watching the hot air balloons take off, the last of the stragglers making their way back to their tents and a trip to the local cricket club for a shower with a breakfast in a bap and feeling invigorated for another day.
The arena gates opening early, with activities for the children such as Bhangra dancing, the adults can sit back, relax and have a coffee at one of the many outlets in the village. The music starts on the Pleasant Valley Stage at noon with a band picked by BBC radio Oxfordshire as part of their “introducing new music” initiative. The Anydays swagger on stage, reminiscent of The Jam in the early days, they certainly sound like the Jam as well, they just don’t seem so angry though. They hold the crowd’s attention with their crisp take on the “mod-ern” world.
Next up are Vintage Trouble a band that have been touring with Bon Jovi and you can see why, they have a great sound from the “Atlantic Soul” era combined with the blues of the early Stones. Lead singer Ty Taylor keeps the crowd on their toes and their hips moving to the bands unique sound. Definitely a band you will want to see again and again.
Little Fish are on stage and the crowd are really enjoying the indie pop anthems that are pulsing from the speakers. Lead singer Juju has a voice of an angel after smoking 20 Marlboro reds in quick succession, it works so well with the sometimes dark indie music the band plays. But it’s not all about the dark there is light and lots of it in their songs, with a rousing rendition of their indie anthem wonderful, Little Fish leave you in no mind that you will be seeing a lot more of them.
Saint Jude take to the Songbird stage, and you know this is going to be a special show the moment lead singer Lynne Jackaman opens up the vocal chords. Saint Jude are getting a lot of radio airplay with their single Soul on Fire and it would seem that the crowd gathered are aware of their rock / blues style and are loving it. The band play hard rock influenced by the blues, this is not a new style of music but Saint Jude are riding high on the wave and justifiably so. A definite highlight of the set is Soul on Fire and the crowd are singing along to every word, Saint Jude will one day be big enough to headline Cornbury – let’s just hope they do.
Imelda May is back at Cornbury, and takes to the Pleasant Valley Stage as if it’s her own, she has become a bit of a regular at Cornbury and you can instantly see why. Her very own brand of rockabilly soaked blues is a joy on the ears, the band play big and she has the voice to match. Imelda likes to talk to her audience and it feels that you are the only one there and she is telling you about her songs and how / why she writes them. Highlights of the set were her current album’s title track Mayhem the haunting Kentish Town Waltz and her own unique version of Tainted Love.
If ever there were an artist and festival it’s the quintessential Britishness of Ray Davies & glorious middle England aspects Cornbury. Having such a rich back catalogue Ray Davies isn’t one of these artist who has the same set list for each performance, but performs songs which are right for the event. There was a pleasant blend of the well known tracks All Day And All Of The Night, Lola and Sunny Afternoon, but also the less familiar Nothin' In The World Can Stop Me Worryin' 'Bout That Girl. It says much for the confidence of Ray Davies that he could not include two of the songs that helped define the sixties You Really Got Me and Waterloo Sunset without any complaints from the audience.
Saturdays headliners were the reformed Faces once again Rod Stewart’s other commitments prevented him from being part of the reunion, so once again he was replaced with the great voice of Mick Hucknall, with Glen Matlock on bass plus the three surviving members Kenny Jones, Ian MacLagan and Ronnie Wood plus his son Jesse.
The Faces were the original good time band and lived up to their reputation where both they and the crowd were having fun, there were also touching moments with tributes to the late Ronnie Lane prior to performing Debris and in the first encore to Steve Marriott before playing Tin Soldier and All Or Nothing. Their performance was an ideal way to end a Saturday night a mixture of good honest rock and blues which left yours truly a little hoarse and in need of a beer. See Full Review here