Wychwood Festival has always been a good family festival, but this year saw the event catapulted into the great category. 

From the moment we arrived on site at Wychwood Festival it felt different, the campsite was next to the arena, so no long hikes back to the tent.  The family area was huge, with activities going on all day for the whole family (yes including teenagers!).  The Main Stage area was enclosed, which helped both the sound quality and create a great atmosphere, an added bonus was asking festival goers with camp chairs to sit behind the sound desk.  The second stage was larger than last year and always had good crowds, while the new venue Howlin' Pete's was great fun.  Added to that good selection of ales and cider available from the 'Stagger Inn' and a good variety of high quality Street Food.  Oh yes and the vibe, it was to enjoy yourself, pure and simple, and we did.


The seventeenth edition of Cheltenham’s most-loved family music festival saw headliners Happy Mondays, Travis and Sam Ryder, who were joined by a host of brilliant acts across the three days including: Ash, Melanie C, The Proclaimers, The Dualers, Soul II Soul, Republica, Heather Small, Toploader, Sleeper, Scouting For Girls, The Beat ft. Ranking Jnr and many more. 


Ivor Novello winners and BRIT nominees, Happy Mondays, kicked off Wychwood Festival on Friday night. After shining all day long, a beautiful sunset was the backdrop for a joyful crowd, as the Salford rockers made their way through a set-list packed with hits like ‘Step On’, ‘Kinky Afro’, and ‘Loose Fit’. Shaun Ryder, Bez and the band kept the energy up all night - “not bad for a bunch of sixty year-olds” said Ryder. It was a fitting ending to a wonderful first day, with Ryder signing off: “Wychwood, you’ve been gorgeous”.


On Saturday night multi-BRIT award winning band Travis took to the stage to an eager crowd full of anticipation. Performing on Cheltenham Racecourse brought up some fond memories for lead singer Fran Healy, telling the crowd “When I was small me and my grandad would watch the races every Saturday, so when we drove past it today I was like ‘oh my god’! I had my grandad coming from the beyond… it’s lovely to be here.” Wychwood asked and Travis delivered a huge set including ‘Side’, ‘Flowers In The Window’, opening with ‘Sing’ and closing with ‘Why Does It Always Rain On Me?’, where audience participation was key - with Healy getting a near 10,000 strong crowd to do the pogo dance.


For his first ever UK festival headline show, the electric Sam Ryder closed out the party on Sunday, saying: “This is the first time I’ve headlined a festival slot – I’m so grateful to be here. I’m going to do my best to give you the best possible show in the cosmos tonight!”. The BRIT Award-nominee made headlines after an amazing Eurovision journey in 2022 and, after performing at this year’s competition final in Liverpool, he brought that Eurovision spirit to Wychwood for the night. Ryder was on top form, performing latest tracks ‘Fought & Lost’ (which features on TV show Ted Lasso) and ‘Mountain’, plus tracks from his No.1 debut album such as smash single ‘Space Man’ and ‘Put A Light On Me’. 


Iain Game, Festival Director at Wychwood Festival, says:

“What an incredible weekend - the non-stop sunshine, three fantastic headliners Happy Mondays, Travis and Sam Ryder, who performed his first ever UK festival headline show with us at Wychwood. Scouting For Girls were also a real highlight of the weekend, bringing huge energy and leaving everyone smiling. Wychwood 2023 was our biggest year yet - with 10,000 people attending across the weekend on a brand new site, we want to thank each and every person who has supported us, allowing us to deliver such a fun weekend of music and activities. See you next year!”


Highlights over the Wychwood weekend included sets from energetic 90s Northern Irish rockers Ash, who reunited with Happy Mondays backstage, nearly 30 years since their first meeting. Also Scouting For Girls, who put on quite the show full of huge songs like ‘She’s So Lovely’, ‘Heartbeat’, ‘Elvis Ain’t Dead’ and more, plus an entertaining phone call from lead singer Roy Stride’s wife. They were “nervous” to come on after Mr Motivator, who opened Main Stage on Saturday morning and is always a firm fan favourite. Plus The Proclaimers, chart topping Melanie C, and Heather Small was spotted doing vocal warm-ups backstage before she got the crowd moving to her huge dance hits.


Wychwood also showed support for up-and-coming artists each day, with performances from prolific Newcastle songwriter Lauren Amour, alternative pop group Still Pigeon, and indie band China Bears.


2023 saw a brand new venue Howlin’ Pete’s, which housed multiple unique activities, including Barrioke with Shaun Williamson, who packed out the tent with his karaoke show which has quickly become a UK festival staple. Plus activities like Hip Hop Karaoke, Junior Jungle, and Elvis Lesley over the weekend.


The festival also presented over 100 workshops and activities for families across the site. Everything from magic shows, circus performers, comedy, theatre, drumming workshops, arts and crafts, dance, storytelling, puppet shows, open mic sessions… there really was something for everyone at Wychwood.


Tickets for Wychwood Festival 2024 are on sale now. Wychwood are currently running a 2024 festival special until 12PM today - book now and get your tickets for 2024 at their lowest price and with no booking fees. You can also sign up for a ticket for life - today, just a 25% deposit of £28.75 and pay the rest in monthly installments. Plus, you'll lock in the same price for the next 3 years. After 12PM today Early Bird Tickets will be available. Visit wychwoodfestival.com