If you want to hear Oxfordshire’s finest musical talent for free, head for Charlbury at the end of July for the ever-popular Riverside Festival. The festival held on the beautiful banks of the River Evenlode has grown year on year since it began life 22 years ago, with more than 40 acts playing everything from folk music to blues, rock, ska and hip hop, attracting thousands of music lovers of all ages, and yet Riverside is still the friendliest, most relaxed music festival in Oxfordshire and, astonishingly, still completely FREE to enter.
Once again Riverside has put together a fantastic line up. Post-punk band Zurich top the bill on Saturday 29 June, bringing the rock to Riverside. Guaranteed to get the crowds dancing and is one of the best party bands around, The Standard. Highlights of the Sunday line up include power pop punk artists the Black Hats and hip-hopsters The Death of Hi Fi with the ever-popular Prohibition Smokers Club closing the festival with a large dose of funk, and fun.
As in previous years, local independent record stores Rapture in Witney and the Oxford-based Truck Store are running the Second Stage which transforms into the Riverside Disco tent at the end of the day. Over on Ben’s Fringe Stage, there will be a variety of acts. This stage has been renamed Ben’s Fringe in memory of a great Riverside volunteer Ben Wright, who died in 2016. Ben was completely bald and would have been greatly amused to have the Fringe stage dedicated to him.
This year Riverside will be raising awareness of the decline of the bee population. Local bee keeper Tom Worsley, will offer honey tastings in the festival’s Green Field area and advice on how you can help our struggling bee population. The Green Field will also give festival goers the chance to find out more about traditional crafts from spoon carving, stone cutting to ironwork, meet local artists and take part in yoga and mindfulness sessions.
In addition to the Riverside bar serving Wychwood Brewery craft beers, including this year’s exclusive Riverside Ale Beewyched, the popular Pimm’s and Tins tent returns along with the Riverside Gin and Tonic lounge and the Pre-School Tea and Cakes tent. There is also a wide assortment of stalls selling traditional festival fodder from burgers and pizzas to curries and a hog roast.
Riverside is very much a community-run family event. Young festival goers can try their hand at a range of creative crafts and activities. The Festival would not exist, and certainly would not be free, without the huge band of local volunteers who make it happen. Charlbury Primary School and the Charlbury Beer Festival help with equipment, Charlbury’s Pre-school provides teas, and the local recycling group ensures that 99 percent of Riverside’s waste doesn’t go to landfill. West Oxfordshire District Council has given Riverside Festival an Inclusive Award in recognition of its work to ensure the festival is open and welcoming to people of all abilities whether they be volunteers working at the festival, performers or, most importantly, the audience.
Location- The Mill Field, Dyers Hill, Charlbury, Oxfordshire OX7 3QG
Entrance to the Festival site is down Mill Lane, opposite Charlbury railway station. The station is on the Great Western London Paddington to Hereford and Worcester line, 15 minutes from Oxford. On Saturdays, there are buses to and from Oxford, Woodstock, Witney, Chipping Norton and villages inbetween to the centre of Charlbury, five minutes’ walk from the Festival. Only disabled and emergency parking is available onsite. With limited festival parking at the station and in the town, it’s recommended you use public transport to get to the festival, if possible. No dogs, other than assistance dogs are allowed onsite.
Where to stay- No camping onsite but local campsites are available. For information on these and local hotels and B&Bs visit www.charlbury.info
RIVERSIDE FESTIVAL 29-30 July 2017
For further information visit: www.riversidefestival.charlbury.com