Thousands enjoy Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham Racecourse
THOUSANDS of music fans gathered at Cheltenham Racecourse for the Wychwood Music Festival.
Stars from the worlds of indie, world and folk music headlined the three-day festival, despite high winds, rain and plummeting temperatures.
“Happy Christmas,” joked Captain Sensible of punk legends The Damned as he warmed his hands on the stage lighting.
The crowds gradually fought off the cold and warmed up as they revelled in the mud bath in front of the Main Stage.
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“It’s everything a festival should be,” said Dave Edwards, 31, from Stroud after folk heroes Bellowhead energised the entire gathering. “Great music, a bit of rain, and lots of mud.”
Families came out in force on Saturday as the sun appeared.
CBeebies favourite Katy Ashworth opened the Main Stage and by mid-afternoon Dr & The Medics, celebrating their 30th anniversary, had young and old alike dancing in the sunshine to their 1986 No 1 Spirit in the Sky.
Indie giants James took centre stage that night and had the vast crowd entranced for 90 minutes as they performed number after great number .
The night air echoed to fans chanting Sit Down after the band played a haunting rendition of their massive hit.
Now in its eighth year, Wychwood is known for giving up-and-coming acts a chance.
BBC Introducing hosted a variety of talent from around the country on the Hobgoblin Stage where The Wychwood Brewery kept crowds happy with Gloucestershire ale.
Hidden local gems included Jenny Hallam, who has been playing in Hereford and Worcestershire since she was 15, and The Cadbury Sisters from Bristol whose melodic set had everyone relaxing on the Pomme Stage.
After dark, comedians, including Edinburgh Fringe favourite Anna Keirle and Welsh icon Dan Mitchell, came out to play.
Avid dancers were able to let it all hang out at the infamous silent disco. Issued with headphones, revellers were able to keep going until 3am but still keep noise to the minimum.
Throughout the days there were workshops and displays galore to spark interest and have people laughing.
Adult Zumba classes, belly dancing and even tap dance were particularly appealing as were the arts and crafts sessions.
There was even a touch of science from Uncaged Monkey Robin Ince, who managed to unveil all the mysteries of the universe in less than an hour with the help of other regulars from Radio 4’s Infinite Monkey Cage.
The Healing Gardens, complete with Indian head massages and reflexology sessions, were a hit with campers who had, despite the soft ground, set up a mini-tent city in the centre of the racecourse.
“This has to be one of the most beautiful backdrops for any festival,” said Katie Owens, 42, who had travelled to Prestbury with her husband and three children from York.
Review by Laurette Ziemer