The sixth Cornbury Festival rode out the recession in grand style this weekend with 20,000 or so local music fans rocking up to the picturesque Cornbury Estate near Charlbury in Oxfordshire for a bill that featured diverse headline turns from Fleetwood Mac's Peter Green, Sugababes and Scouting For Girls.

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Cornbury Festival, July 2009

The sixth Cornbury Festival rode out the recession in grand style this weekend with 20,000 or so local music fans rocking up to the picturesque Cornbury Estate near Charlbury in Oxfordshire for a bill that featured diverse headline turns from Fleetwood Mac‘s Peter Green, Sugababes and Scouting For Girls.



Other proposed Cotswold festivals like Blenheim Park’s Festival For Heroes and the Indie Guitar Festival in Ascott-Under-Wychwood have hit the skids recently, cancelled late due to poor ticket sales, but Cornbury’s organiser Hugh Phillimore held his nerve despite last year’s torrential wash-out, and a good thing too.

Saturday saw sometime Fleetwood Mac guitar legend Peter Green making a rare appearance on the Second Stage while reformed Britpop scamps Dodgy did their damnedest to keep the rain off with a rousing ‘Staying Out For The Summer’ in the main arena.

The Magic Numbers kept spirits up with ‘Forever Lost’ and a nifty slice of Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Night Train’ in their hoe-down finale. And when the inevitable rain did arrive, Scouting For Girls kept the sodden crowd cheerful with a set that drew heavily from their debut album, including singalongs ‘Elvis Ain’t Dead’ and ‘It’s Not About You’.

Sunday broke brighter and by the time The Lightning Seeds – late replacements for Joe Jackson – were into ‘Life Of Riley’, the sun was high and so were we, main Seed Ian Broudie returning to encore with a cracking solo version of ‘Three Lions.’

While the mini-skirted gals in psychedelic wellies gathered in gangs to await the ‘Babes, Chrissie Hynde stole the show with a vintage Pretenders‘ set packed with hits ‘Brass In Pocket’, ‘Stop Your Sobbing’ and ‘Back On The Chain Gang’ plus surprisingly sprightly newies like ‘Break Up The Concrete.’

No royals this year – Prince Harry’s an occasional Cornburyite – no politicians – David Cameron was lurking last year – and no show from local squiress Kate Moss, but Top Gear geezer Jeremy Clarkson was out and about so even the celeb hunters were happy.
Against formidable odds, a top weekend.

By: Steve Sutherland