Described as a mash-up of The Big Chill and WOMAD with a sprinkle of the Cambridge Folk Festival and a “bijou Glastonbury”, Wychwood Festival in Gloucestershire – just over two hour’s from London – is a laid back affair for all the family.
Since it launched in 2005, Wychwood has been nominated at the UK Festival Awards for Best Family Festival every year. As well as music and comedy, the event also now includes a Kids Literature Festival, with a host of picture book stars, including events with Steve Antony, Peter Horacek and Paul Stickland, making a noise with his much loved Dinosaur Roar!
Over the weekend, you can become a bubbleologist, master the art of Bhangra dancing, and sing along with The Proclaimers in a rousing chorus of “I’m on my way from misery to happiness” of Shrek fame
Musical Maestros There are over 100 bands appearing across the four stages with a mix of heritage and world music to up-coming talent from the local area starring on the BBC stage. Highlights include a kitsch blast from the past with 70s disco popsters, Boney M, Ali Campbell, Astro and Mickey Virtue from UB40 fame (as it’s only half the original group, perhaps UB20?), The Proclaimers, The Undertones, Craig Charles, The Wonder Stuff Acoustic, Dreadzone, Ghostpoet, Bassekou Kouyate and Ngoni ba, plus many more
Featured fun An eclectic family programme includes the Children’s Literature Festival line-up featuring a Wychwood first with a band made entirely of authors. Other activities includes everything from clay modelling to willow weaving, Ukelele performances to Samba and face painting to laughter yoga. There are also workshops where you can learn Bhangra dancing, become a ‘bubbleologist’ with Sam Sam the Bubbleman or make some noise with the Brazilian tribal inspired ‘Glamba’ drumming band.
- Kids Literature Festival Tent, in collaboration with Waterstone’s Cheltenham, will be packed over the weekend with a plethora of popular authors and illustrators, reading from their books, showcasing their art and inviting you to enjoy all sorts of fun activities. Highlights include Cathy Cassidy talking about her Alice-inspired book Looking Glass Girl, Roald Dahl Funny Prize winning author Philip Ardagh, and Steve Cole, author of Astrosaurs, The Slime Squad, Young James Bond and many other books (including several original Doctor Who stories) talking about monsters and mummies (the Egyptian kind).
- New for 2015 is the Wychwood Festival Roller Disco, with skating session for both kids and adults.
- Festival stalwart and kids’ favourite Mr Tumble AKA Justin Fletcher, who describes himself as “Mr Bean for preschoolers”, opens the main stage on Sunday.
- Embrace the spirit of Rajasthani with stories, music and dance from India, plus the chance to dress up in gorgeous colourful costumes for photo ops!
- Catch a traditional Punch and Judy show with lashing sausages, slapstick, crocodiles and good old-fashioned fun. There’s more puppet show performances from Colin Dymond Comedy and Pizzas of Ate.
- Samsam Bubbleman returns to help you find your inner bubble, with bubble-tastic tricks including some so big that you can actually step inside!
Chill Out Time For chillaxing, there are healing and sculpture areas where you can relax with a soothing hot stone massage or reflexology sessions, or submerge yourself in the hot tub at Superspa DJ, handily located directly opposite the main stage, so you can rock ‘n’ soak.
Dining Tables Pandemania Wood Fired Pizza, The Goan Seafood Company, La Grande Bouffe , Gourmet Catering, Churros Bros, Carnival Coffee, Posh Baps, Happy Crepes, Casa Portugesa and Wrappers’ Delight, Tin Can Catering Co, Perfect Burger.
Happy Campers The campsite sits beneath the Prestbury Hills, complete with areas for caravans and camper vans. Facilities include hot showers, a campsite shop, café, and a lock up to store any valuables. Luxury camping options including tipis and yurts from Hearthworks or pre-erected tents and bell tents from Pillow Camping
THE PRICE TAG
Full Weekend Adult, £129 | 10–15 year-olds, £62 | 5–9 year-olds, £22 | Under-5s, Free
Weekend Camping Adult (in a tent), £22 | Adult (in a campervan/caravan), £60 | Youth/Concession, £11 | Under 16s, Free
Individual Day Festival Pass Adult, £42 (Friday), £57 (Saturday), £47 (Sunday) |10-15 year-olds, £22 | 5-9 year-olds, £10 | Under-5s, Free
Daily Camping Adult, £10 | Under-16s, Free | Campervan, £25
Photography Credit: Wychwood Festival | Darren Coleman | Jon Bennett | Simon Ager | Gary O’Brien
*** Want to see more family-friendly festivals for 2015? Check out our 12 We Love… Summer Festivals round-up. And don’t forget to our feature Time To… Head to a Festival to help you make the most of your festival experience ***