A lot of festivals these days are branding themselves as ‘family festivals’, but few have managed to perfect the delicate balance between what will appeal to parents and what will appeal to their younger compadrés. That said Wychwood Festival, fantastically located on Cheltenham Racecourse, has near perfected it.
Enlisting the experienced talents of Buzzcocks, OMD and Levellers to prick the attention of older generations, whilst new buzz names, such as Let’s Eat Grandma, Girli, Laurel, Zak Abel, The Bay Rays and Flamingods, excite the younger minds and on the ball music aficionados.
With set times across the stages expertly thought out to ensure overlaps are minimal and, for those who want to see as many acts as possible, it’s completely possible to indulge in a variety of acts in terms of genre and generation. Mix this in with a fantastic array of activities for children, from the Helter Skelter, to zorbing, to go-karting, Wychwood has this entertainment thing down!
Being the new music fiends that we are, however, it was Let’s Eat Grandma who whet our whistles first. Bringing their unique, experimental introspective performance style to the Big Top stage, with a crowd growing larger and larger by the second as the rain pushed them toward the crooning sounds of the glockenspiel. They certainly win awards for the most interesting act of Friday, whether that’s in a good or bad way is still yet to be decided.
Saturday saw the sun come out and with it a whole hoard of more people to the racecourse. Girli performed a quick set of some of her hits including ‘Girl I Met on the Internet’ and new banger ‘Feel OK’, but left out some of her more swear-heavy tracks, we’re guessing because of all the children… they still left in their newly infamous Donald Trump mask-laden fight, however.
Laurel followed, bringing the energy levels down slightly, but wowing everyone with her classic, steady vocals, dry wit in between tracks and mellow, emotive tracks. Atlantic’s Zak Abel, no stranger to Wychwood, had everyone dancing in no time, hits such as ‘Say Something’ and an excellent 30 second cover of Bill Withers’ ‘Ain’t No Sunshine’ had people of all ages singing along, too.
Sunday brought with it a few disappointments, as Riscas and The Strypes, unfortunately, had to cancel their Wychwood appearances. However, all was forgiven when Kent’s The Bay Rays took to the stage. Finishing their high energy set with the ever infectious ‘Satisfaction’ and ‘New Home’, it’s guaranteed that everyone left their performance with a spring in their step.
Psych masters Flamingods, after a quick move over to the main stage, gave everyone the perfect soundtrack to bask in the sun. With everyone warmed up following previous performances from the likes of Dhol Foundation, people across the site were happy to dance along to the funky sounds of Flamingods.
Proving to be the perfect representation of what a family festival should be, we can’t wait for next years already.