The Towersey Festival is bouncing back after a three-year break, with an exciting line-up of artists including comedian and musician Bill Bailey, Barnsley folk royalty Kate Rusby and revered Irish singer songwriter Imelda May – not to mention dance workshops and ceilidhs, family entertainment and all types of food.
The much-loved festival began life in 1965 in the village of Towersey on the Oxon/Bucks border, as a one-day festival to raise funds for the village hall.
Run by three generations of the same family, it has grown to become one of the UK’s major arts and music festivals.
After outgrowing its home village, the festival was held for five years at a temporary venue on Thame Showground.
But now, after four years in the planning, it’s headed for its new permanent home at Claydon, taking place over the bank holiday weekend from August 26 to 29.
Festival director Joe Heap said: “We decided that we needed a permanent home, somewhere we could really establish the festival and Claydon was the perfect spot for it.
“It’s a beautiful, beautiful spot and they were very keen to partner with us, so it seemed like the sensible move.
And he says the reaction from local villagers has been overwhelmingly positive.
"They’ve been brilliant,” he said. “Right from the off, we’ve had meetings with the parish councils and we’ve really tried to involve the local community, as we always do.
“One of the things that makes Towersey special is that it’s a real community event and we want the festival to be part of the local community
“So we’ve put a lot of time and work into building relationships with people.
"We’ve got a lot of them involved, from the local beekeeper coming and doing a talk, to lots of local bands, to the local school doing some fundraising through us.
"They’re overwhelmingly supportiv. I don’t think we’ve had a single negative comment or meeting, which has been great.”
Tickets are available for individual days of the festival, or for the whole weekend – with or without camping – and there is a a discount for local residents in the MK18 postcode region.
With a site capacity of 5,000, Joe said: “At Towersey we have loads of space and a very well-behaved audience, so it’s a great opportunity for those who are still a little bit worried to see some live music, have a great time but keep their own space if that’s what they want.
“People have definitely got an appetite for getting out and seeing stuff after so many years of not being able to get out and have a good time.”
And he’s keen for local people to get involved – including local artists who are prepared to do demonstrations each day.
“If people want to join in in any shape or form, the door is open – we want lots of local people to be part of Towersey,” he said.
For more information and for tickets, see https://www.towerseyfestival.com/