Early bird events, bookings are go
As lockdown restrictions begin to ease, it's time to get some spring and summer fun organised. And guess what? As luck would have it, we can help with that.
Reading Festival, Richfield Ave Reading
If there’s one thing that’ll clear a field full of teenagers, it’s their parents living it up like it’s 1996. Reading Festival has confirmed it will ahead on 27-29 Aug with Liam Gallagher is headlining this year’s festival alongside Stormzy, Lewis Capaldi, Post Malone and more. Expect more middle-aged, parka-wearing Brit Poppers than usual.
Roll up, roll up, Giffords Circus is coming to town! From the imagination of the brilliant late Nell Gifford, the trope’s brand new show The Hooley will feature Celtic dance, fairies, pixies, trolls and a whole host of magical creatures alongside Gifford stalwart (and my all time favourite clown) Tweedy. Tickets for Bowood House in Calne (15-26 Apr), Blenheim Palace in Woodstock (3-7 Jun), Stonor Park in Henley (22 Jul – 2 Aug) and Barrington in Oxon (5 – 16 Aug) are now on sale and they’ll go like the clappers so be sure to click quick!
Woohoo! The much-longed-for festival season is stirring in its burrow, ready to delight us all with rainbow face paint, tepid cider and knee-deep mud (of course they’ll be mud!) in the latter half of the summer. Fi Fest has announced it will go ahead on 29 Aug and tickets are available now. The headliners are from our musical youth with The Lightening Seeds, The South (part of The Beautiful South) and Toploader. It’s a glorious 90s throwback. Channel Kate Moss festival fashion and out you go.
Let’s Rock The Moor, Cookham
Blue mascara? Check. Yellow eyeshadow? Check. Hair backcombed to the max? Check. (and that’s just the boys). Then you’re ready to hit the 80s love fest that is Let’s Rock the Moor in Cookham. The organisers have pushed the date back to October. But the likes of Tony Hadley, Kim Wilde, Toyah, Howard Jones, The Undertones, ABC and UB40 are worth waiting for. A much-loved local favourite, book up.
Party in the Paddock – Olly Murs, Newbury Racecourse
Olly Murs is making his way back to Berkshire – and our heart ‘s skipping a beat. Last at Newbury Racecourse in 2017, we’re hoping he’ll be wearing his tightest trews and given us a run down of all his greatest hits on 14 Aug. This is a double shot of joy that we all need this year.
Summertime Live with Classic Ibiza, Royal Windsor Racecourse
Picture the scene – a beautiful sunset, balmy 30 degrees, overpriced vodka & tonic and a cracking choon. Nope, not your typical night in San Antonio, it’s Windsor’s answer to the White Isle. The Urban Soul Orchestra conducted will be banging out the Ibiza anthems on 14 Aug, with live DJ and vocalists. Bare some flesh and party till dawn (*cough* I mean 10pm) Her Maj needs her beauty sleep. This is annual sell out so snag your spot now.
Jess Glynne – Live after Racing, Royal Windsor Racecourse
I don’t know much about the gee-gees,, but partying in the paddock is something I can do. Get your glad rags on for a full day of racing then shuffle and sway to the stunning vocals of Jess Glynne – a Grammy-award-winning singer/songwriter taking to the stage on 28 Aug at Royal Windsor Racecourse this summer. Book you spot.
Party in the Paddock – Rick Astley, Newbury Racecourse
The thing about Rick Astley, when he says he’s doing a gig, he’s ‘never gone give you up, never gonna let you down’. His Party In The Paddock at Newbury Racecourse had to be postponed for obvious reasons, but Rick’s back with bells on. He’ll be performing on 18 Sep, and never disappoints. Tickets on sale now.
Last Night Of The Heritage Proms, Englefield House
Opera star and I’m a Celebrity inmate Russell Watson has confirmed he will be performing an outdoor concert at Englefield House in Theale this summer (25 Jul to be exact). The Last Night Of the Heritage Proms will feature the Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra conducted by David Arnold, as well as featuring composer arranger and producer Mike Moran, coloratura soprano Christina Johnston, and very special guests The NHS Choir. There will also be a Spitfire flypast and fireworks finale. Union Jack flags at the ready for a patriotic sway to Land of Hope and Glory – £1 from every ticket sold will be donated towards NHS charities.
Tumblestone Hollow, Stonor Park
There’s a new adventure playground in town and not only is it as magical as Hogwarts but it comes with very necessary coffee for the spectators (in the form of the cafe at the visitor’s centre). Wholesome fun for the kids and lunch sorted – it’s a win-win. Tumblestone Hollow is on the edge of woodland in Oxfordshire’s Stonor Park and inspired by the stone circle found in the estate grounds. The wooden playground, designed for 4 to 12-year-olds, has high level walkways, climbing nets, look-out decks and bridges, all connected to a gnarled central tower. And if it couldn’t get any more magical, it comes with its own fairytale book, The Legend of Tumblestone Hollow (found at the visitor centre for £5.99).
The Stonor team have been working hard to get it open just in time for the Easter hols (first day: Fri 2 April – 10am to 5pm) and until the 18 April, tickets include a puzzle trail around Stonor’s grounds with a prize for each child. All tickets must be pre-booked online and cost depends on height: children over 105cm cost £11; 92cm – 105cm, £9, and kids under 92cm are free (although the inevitable accompanying adults for tiny children cost £8.50 too). With the two household/Rule of Six coming into place on 29 March, we reckon we’ve found the perfect family rendezvous. You’re welcome.
Pub in the Park, Higginson Park Marlow, 16-19 Sep
Tom Kerridge has Marlow residents eating out of the palm of his hand (not literally, that would be disgusting). Pub In the Park is back with bells on. The food and music festival will see performances from the likes of Ronan Keating, Basement Jaxx, Marc Almond, Craig David, Lightning Seeds and Heather Small, alongside the UK’s sizzling stars Tom Kerridge, Atol Kochhar, Paul Ainsworth and more. Sign up for the early bird ticket release, tickets sell like hot cakes.
The Big Feastival, Kingham
This posh nosh extravaganza, in Kingham, Oxon, is hosted on the farm of cheese-obsessed Blur bassist Alex James. This year’s top notch chefs include Nathan Outlaw, Mark Hix and Tom Brown, and the chart-topping artists. headlining are Nile Rogers & Chic, Rag n Bone Man and Sigala. What’s not to love (other than the potential run-in with locals David Cameron and Jeremy Clarkson)? Tickets are now on sale for the 27-29 Aug blow out.
Luna Drive In Cinema, Blenheim Palace, Woodstock
It’s back! Well, as of 16 May, it is. Offering state-of-the-art sound and visuals, the UK’s highest definition outdoor screens, a unique in-car digital sound solution and a new ‘click & collect’ food and drink offer, guests can enjoy classics such as Jurassic Park, Pretty Woman, Jaws and Notting Hill from the comfort of their own, erm, *ahem* well-maintained car. Chip the mud off the dashboard, remove the six-month-old Hula Hoops from under the passenger seat and get booking.
Cornbury Music Festival, Great Tew
Held in The Great Tew Park, Oxon, this civilised festival that prides itself on being quintessentially English – think country fair with a rock’n’roll twist. The full line up is still TBC but the fest has announced Bryan Adams (my big crush, 1984 – hands off) as the Friday headliner. There’s also the option to glamp, plus make sure you bag tickets for the annual Festival Feast night (9 – 11 Jul).
Wilderness Festival, Cornbury Park
Huzzah! Our locale’s coolest local festival, held in Oxfordshire’s Cornbury Park, is going ahead this year from 5 – 8 Aug. Expect a heady mix of right-on hippiness (think yoga, skinny-dipping and hot hubs) combined with impressive big name acts (as soon as we know the line up, we’ll let you know). We’ll see you there, covered in glitter and high on freedom.
REW!ND Festival, Henley-on-Thames
Woohoo! The much-longed-for festival season is stirring in its burrow, ready to delight us all with rainbow face paint, tepid cider and knee-deep mud (of course they’ll be mud!) in the latter half of the summer. Henley’s REW!ND at Temple Island Meadows is steaming ahead for this August (20-22 Aug to be precise) and tickets are available to buy RIGHT NOW. And the headliners are an Eighties pop queen’s dream: Billy Ocean, Wet Wet Wet, Jimmy Somerville, Nik Kershaw, Soul II Soul … What are you waiting for? Dig out your polka dot scrunchy, pull on some day-glo bangles and get booking.
Henley Festival, Henley-on-Thames
News just in! Henley’s festival on the water will be going ahead this year with revised dates (15 – 19 Sept) and a brilliant line up to boot. We’re talking Madness, James Blunt, Sophie Ellis Bextor and Kathy Sledge (from Sister Sledge). Don’t forget to dig out your glad rags and dust off the moth balls – the event is black tie.
Alfresco Theatre Drive-In, Henley & Marlow
Good food and the big screen from the comfort of your own car. This summer, the Alfresco Theatre Drive-In is putting on a host of different titles to be enjoyed retro-American style. Choices include the kitsch (Bjorn Again: The ABBA Show), the classic (Dirty Dancing), something for the littlun’s (The Gruffalo on Stage), and lots more besides. Plus, you won’t have to settle for bringing your own packet of popcorn: all the shows are served alongside food from superstar chefs like Tom Kerridge, Rick Stein, and Paul Ainsworth. Dinner and a movie, done right.