Cornbury 2014 Review

Cornbury Music Festival 2014

Review by Ellie Allen and family

“Are we nearly there yet?”

My husband and I, along with our two boys (ages seven and eight) have been looking forward to this festival for weeks! Finally the day arrived and after a busy day at work and school, we were on our way.

We’d been watching the weather forecast all week and for once it was right. Bright lovely sunshine for days, then just as we arrived, it decided to open the heavens. Fantastic. At this point, we were so excited, the rain didn’t dampen our spirits. We parked up and made the numerous trips back and forth to the car with all our gear.

Our tent was so huge and heavy, we decided to hire a trolley from Mr Trolley which was an absolute godsend. For 30 minutes it was £5 with a returnable £50 deposit. Every 30 minutes after this would be another £5 a time.

We loaded the tent up, stuffed in the beer, cuddly toys, toilet roll etc. and made our way back over to our pitch. An hour later, after a lot of huffing and puffing and almost a divorce, it was up, and our accomplishment certainly deserved a coolerbox-chilled beverage.

We saw plenty of people making great use of Mr Trolley over the weekend. It could also be converted to a children carrier complete with a roof too. And, if you hired it for a night or more, it was even better value. Perfect for watching those late night performances and tucking younger ones up to sleep in.

One family I saw using a trolley conversion were the very lovely Levine family. They told me it was very handy and worth every penny, although it was a bit on the heavy side.

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Lily-Rose and Saffy Levine enjoying the ride.

Quieter camping:

At Cornbury, you get the option of ‘quieter camping’. It’s aimed at families and is a bit further away from everything. We went for this and found a nice spot. We avoided any all-night lights, we weren’t far from the toilets, there were even posh showers if we fancied one. And Caffé Nero was a short walk for that all important caffeine hit in the early hours.

Although it’s called quieter camping, it wasn’t actually all that quiet. It was probably quieter than general camping where you’re more likely to get youngsters getting trashed next to your tent, but the music was still very loud and didn’t stop until 1am. Yawn.

The kids nodded off at midnight, but we certainly didn’t.

The rain continued through the night, the tent leaked and we greeted the morning with a little hopping visitor in our tent. A frog! Much to the boys delight.


“I’m bored!”

There’s so much at this festival for children of all ages, you’re not likely to hear those famous two words. The kid’s field was full of activities ranging from a clay workshop, music area, circus skills, arts and crafts and magic shows to a tent for younger children with singing and dancing from Moo Music. Most activities were free, with some costing about £2.50.

Our boys really enjoyed it in this area and especially loved the circus skills – while I had fun celeb-spotting and noticed Patsy Palmer, aka Eastenders star Bianca with her family. Rickkkaaayyyyyy!

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Charlie practices his plate spinning while ‘Bianca’ joins in the fun too.


I love my food and especially when I’m at a festival. All that walking around and dancing works up an appetite, not to mention the odd cider, wine and beer making you hungry too. There was enough choice to shake a burger at.

We went for some trusty roast spuds, fish and chips and a whopper of a hot dog. All polished off with some yummy Shepherds sheep-milk ice cream (which was only £2). If these don’t rock your world though, you’re sure to find something from the list I quickly made:

Savoury and sweet crepes – approx. £4.50
Potato wedges – £4
The Curry Shed – £5
Paella – £6
Churros and chocolate – £4
Oriental – £7
Posh Indian wraps – £7
Kids fish and chips – £4
Hot dog (huge) – £5
Spit roast pork roll – £4.50
10” pizza – £5
Roast potatoes – £4
Bacon bap – £4 (Big queues here. Very popular!)
Pies – £5
Mexican – £5

The only specific ‘kids’ meal I spotted, was the fish and chips, but there was so much to choose from it was easy to share a meal. All the stall traders were very friendly and the atmosphere was buzzing.

Cornbury 2014 Ellie 6Happy festival, happy environment

It’s great to know that even when you’re out enjoying yourself, you’re able to be green and help our world at the same time. There were recycling bins dotted all over the place, which meant there was no unsightly litter anywhere. But although you could recycle your glass, plastic, and cans, there was no cardboard or paper recycling which I think would have been an obvious one to have. Maybe next year Cornbury?

Frankwater were offering unlimited refills of water if you bought a £5 water bottle and were giving proceeds to help their Indian sanitation projects. A great cause.

When Nature Calls

I was impressed with the toilets at Cornbury. I’ve been to quite a few festivals in my time and these were well above average. However, when you don’t want to queue much and need somewhere more civilised to do your business, then When Nature Calls lets you poo posh.

For £25 (adult), £12.50 (child) for the weekend, or £12 (adult) and £6 (child) for the day, you got access to the most luxurious place to go when nature calls.

The lovely WNC people at the entrance were all very welcoming and the cubicles reminded me of a nice restroom in a restaurant. A baby changing area, proper china sinks, a good sized mirror, a very powerful flush and a wonderful smell of clean! I’m going to look out for these guys at every festival I go to!

Would I go again?

To sum it up, I’ll definitely be going again. The general vibe of the whole place felt safe for our precious kiddies yet enough going on and great artists and bands to keep us all entertained. Nothing felt difficult (apart from needing a new tent!). We all had so much fun.

But perhaps next year we’ll treat ourselves and glamp…

Cornbury 2014 Ellie 7

Cornbury is held on The Great Tew Estate in Oxfordshire each July.  For more information, please visit our Cornbury Festival factsheet.

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