Monday, 13 July 2015

Cornbury - Tales From England's Poshest Musical Festival

After hours of research and much of the first fortnight of 2015 firing off emails & filling in on-line application forms to fifty of the most interesting British festivals I could find, almost three-quarters replied, inviting us to trade with them and last weekend's Cornbury Festival was just one.

In its twelfth year the festival is billed as a "one-of-a-kind: a lovingly crafted, top notch, very English open air party, tailor-made for the whole family. Like the best of England, The Cornbury Music Festival is civilised, charming and irresistible – a homespun melting pot where music-lovers share pies and a glass of champagne with superstars, toffs, rockers, crooners, Morris dancers, farmers, urbanites, fashionistas, gourmet chefs and little old ladies who make exceptional cakes."

Labelled Poshstock by the media and set in the heart of the gorgeous English Cotswolds, Cornbury is dubbed the Festival of the Upper Classes. Living just a couple of miles away, David Cameron is a regular and, despite it being a fraction of the size with far fewer big headline acts, the cost of a weekend ticket is on par with Glastonbury but with the optional add-ons like glamping, quiet camp-sites, trolley hire, VIP access and posh toilets prices are pushed up to eye-wateringly high levels. 

We arrived on site on Wednesday. After a two hour journey (poor Gilbert was stuffed to capacity), a further nine hours spent on setting up the trade tent and sorting what were to be our living quarters for the next five days, Jon knocked up a veg curry, we cracked open a beer, introduced ourselves to the neighbours and collapsed into bed.

Thursday was glorious. After adding a few finishing touches to the shop we explored the site. Although the festival didn't open until Friday several artists and performers paid Kinky Melon a visit including Welsh rockers The Noses fresh from playing Glastonbury. After buying a waistcoat they told us they were in a Battle of The Bands competition later, with the winner opening the main stage next year. We went along to cheer them on, were proud to see the waistcoat worn on stage and thrilled when they were declared winners.

The festival opened on Friday lunchtime with roaming brass band Horns of Plenty and a dancing bear. 

By now we'd already made friends with the neighbouring traders and had an absolute blast sitting in the sunshine, quaffing cider& exchanging stories in-between customers. 

Later in the day I snuck into the signing tent and Jon Fratelli (from The Fratellis) took a break from autographs to tell me how much he loved my dress (which I'd pinched off our rails when the evening chill set in). 

The boys left the girls to go and catch headliners Razorlight. 

From left: Len, Jon & Or
Our shops were directly opposite the Disco Shed (as seen on George Clarke's Small Spaces) and we happily danced along to reggae and drum 'n' bass till closing time.

Mary, Bobbi, Mandy & Me (in my pop-star approved quilted maxi)!
Saturday brought yet more sunshine and cider. 

I popped out with my camera to capture some of the sights, got chatting to Tell Tails and was kindly loaned a perfectly coordinating tail - a festival must-have.

Business was brisk and we closed just in time to catch the end of legendary punk poet Dr John Cooper Clarke's set in the comedy tent.

Performing Evidently Chickentown - if swearing offends you don't click the link!

We collected the gang and dashed off to see Tom Jones rock the main stage and man, he brought the house down.

Jon, Natalie & Bobbi

Sunday started off slowly, the weather was breezy, grey and showery but we turned the music up and danced in front of the stall until the sun and the festival goers came out. 

After lunch I nipped off to catch some of Trevor Horn's set and arrived in time to see surprise guest Stewart Copeland take the stage to perform Message in a Bottle . If that wasn't exciting enough Trevor's next guest was Seal who did a storming cover of Slave To The Rhythm

After a steady afternoon we closed and got into the main stage mosh pit for Billy Ocean (my camera had died by then). Joined by the rest of our trading pals and new friends (and repeat customers) Hannah & Ollie from Moulettes we sat drinking and chatting until the early hours, breaking off to throw a few shapes to the Nineties club classics broadcast from the Disco Shed.

larking about with Len & Bruce. My psychedelic 1960s culotte suit courtesy of Janne's Vintage

This morning we packed up and tearfully said our goodbyes to the friends we'd made over the weekend. Five days in a field with a shared portaloo, a disco shed and a standpipe is the best way to bond.

Boys do velvet

What was Cornbury like? Fun, friendly and yes, very posh. 

Yes, really!
A Pimms bus, £120 bottles of Bollinger, Prosecco ice lollies & you could hardly get to the main stage for camping chairs, golfing umbrellas and cashmere picnic blankets. 

David Cameron was there but didn't deign to visit our stall, reputedly staying in the VIP lounge, away from the hoi polloi (thank goodness, I can't imagine selling to him would be very good for our street cred). The toilets were immaculate, cleaned three times a day although there was no shortage of people happy to pay £12 a day to access the posh loos.

A few of our happy customers

Overall, compared to other festivals, the vast majority of the crowd were rather conservative (in both behaviour and dress). Happily there were a fair few vintage fans amongst the artists, performers, traders and visitors to make the weekend worthwhile and, as you can probably tell from the photos, we had an absolute ball!

See you soon.


  1. Vix , I think you have a ball no matter where you are!!!

  2. Loving this write up. Love the little festies. Off to Chagstock this weekend. It would be staid but the Levellers playing will bring it down a posh notch or two. xx

  3. Looks like you fitted right in and had a blast too!

  4. Looks like a good time! Would have loved to see Tom Jones in person:)

  5. Drinking one of my favorite ciders and watching Razorlight ! Whoop whoop ! Wanna be there !

  6. It sounds great fun and very intriguing! I LOVE the tails! I want a squirrel tail! I loved wearing a cat tail when we performed 'The Zoo' by Sullivan!x

  7. oh I love your life, and the way *you* love your life. Stay fabulous forever, xox.

  8. Wow- another amazing festival - BUT the cost to go to the loo would have had me in diapers :)

  9. You sure do know how to live -- and make a living!!!

  10. Usual around here if you look under 35 trying to purchase booze or cigarettes they'll ask for ID.
    The purse by the festive looking skull. There was one something like that at the hope house (Give away place) I even looked at quite a few times.
    Told my husband I would keep it low key about getting items from any second hand place.
    Coffee is on

  11. I agree with Laurie-you do seem to have fun no matter where you go. Honestly though, it does seem a lot of hard work as well-9 hours to set up before you even begin? But, it shows how much you love your work and the customers love your shop.

  12. I love he cat tail and set-up! Looks like an -awesome- time. I can't wait to get out to some markets again, so fun!

  13. you two are just amazing. what a great post vix. i almost feel as if i were there. i adore that black quilted maxi! you and jon make the most beautiful couple! x

  14. i´m exhausted only by reading this and looking at the fun pics! :-))))
    that coordinating tail suits your just perfect - cool cat that you are!!

  15. Jon Always dresses very nice, but this festival seems to pick up some sort of perfection in him. Extremely fancy! And your quilted maxi feels very tough and ... sharpened. Admit that you were hoping that Grace Jones would make an entrance!

  16. John Cooper Clarke's still going! he must be getting on a bit now, I used to love his weird poetry, saw him a couple of times at Hammersmith Palais must have been late 70s - (I used to work there as a part time barmaid so got to see the acts free).

  17. Ha, Kinky Melon goes posh! Get you two, mixing with the good folk of the Cotswolds and going down a storm! I know very little about the festival scene so Cornbury isn't familiar to me, but it looks like a fun-filled few days, and the presence of Sir Tom is bound to add a bit of oomph to any gathering! I hope you found some undies to throw at him. Yeah! (I'm getting some practice in before the next series of The Voice!)
    As always, you capture the vibe of the place wonderfully well, and you and Jon look fabulous. You definitely stand out from the crowd, your style is clearly unique, and I'm sure that many of your customers are drawn to the Kinky tent and rails by catching sight of you and Jon rocking the vintage.
    And an animal tail is a must this season, darling!
    Phew, have some rum and a curry and a rest now, love, you must be knackered. Love you! xxx

  18. As always you do it with style. Looking fab. Love the CDs hanging off the stage, nice effect.

  19. I loved seeing your la-di-dah festival some good ones there. Fab snap of the three ladies on the hay bale and that little boy looks fascinated with the dancing bear's fig leaf! 35 quid for a jug of Pimm's! Do people actually pay that? ....I suppose they must.
    Can't say I'll be shelling out for a faux animal tail anytime soon, however everyone looks as if they are having a blast. Those knickers are enormous hahah. So pleased it was a worthwhile venture for you. Back next year? xxx

  20. Glad you had a good time , you looked amazing as usual all the outfits were fantastic and your stall looks so full with stock no wonder your van was bursting lol xxx

  21. Wow, so much fun! As always it was fascinating to see the festival through your eyes. I love that photo of you with a stripy tail!

  22. It looks like you had a blast! I love reading about your festival adventures x

  23. Wow, £35 for a jug of Pimms! 'Ow much' - not that I like the stuff. However, £12 a day for posh lavs - a bargain!

  24. Hobgloblin and Pimms? Furs at Kinky Melon and a fuzzy squirrel tail in my size at the neighbor's stall? Posh portaloos! I'd gladly plunk down $$ to enjoy such delights among "the upper classes".

    Must note Jon is exceedingly handsome in that plush topcoat and you, Vix, have taken accessorizing to a new level with the Cheshire Cat tail!

  25. Sounds like it was so much fun! I'm with the rocker, your quilted maxi is fantastic on you. But then again, you two look so good, no matter what you're wearing. Love the velvet jackets on the men.

  26. Oh my goodness ... a bit different to the festivals we go to! Glad you had a fab time ... you look great as always! M x

  27. Well you've sold it to us Vix, not the posh stuff but the fun stuff and the fact that my sister lives down the road in Witney and we can bunk up there xx

  28. This is a wonderful world! Fantastic those skulls and ... If you see my cats with the tail sexy and magical perhaps stop sleep all day!
    I have lost so many concerts here but the heat is unbearable! Your photos pull me in good spirits! Thanks!

  29. Kinky Melon has been places! I find this idea of travelling store quite exciting...I mean I know it must be a nightmare to pack and organize everything, but on the other side, it must be fun selling your vintage stock at new places. You always get new reactions, you meet new does sound like an experience.

    Those five days must have flown by because I can see you had a blast!!!! You and Jon are the cutest always I loved your outfits.

    I found the description of festival offered by them quite funny...." Like the best of England, civilized, irresistible and..." I forgot the third word. Civilized is such a boring word, it doesn't convey much....

    I loved the fact that the bend that won bough waistcoats from you!!!! How cool is that!!!!!

  30. Too much fun for words by the looks of it! I want your wardrobe Vix lol Love the skulls, they are so cute!

  31. When it first started I had friends who went but it has just got too chichi and bloody expensive these days.

  32. Ha! Posh Kinky! Mates of ours go and they have the best time...sometimes we have to have a bit of posh in our lives I feel. What a fecking tasty line up too. I love The Noses, fab Valley's boys they are, not to mention Stewart 'I am Stick God' Copeland who will always have my heart for getting in touch with my drum playing son after he saw his video on Youtube. Legend.
    You all look wonderful and sometimes you just have to get a tail on.
    Jolly glad that Cameron didn't drop buy Kinky though, what ho!
    Loves ya!

  33. That tail is fabulous! I went round London in a cat tail and hat/hood, that was fun. You both look wonderful ❤
    This looks like an interesting festival, but I wouldn't want to mix with Tory Cameron xxx

  34. Wow it looks and sounds amazing :-) You certainly now how to get the best out of life you both look so relaxed and happy. And Kinky Melons stall looked fabulous. But Blinking heck £35 for a jug of pimms I buy my bottle from Lidl for £5.99 :-) dee xx

  35. First, you look gorgeous wearing your maxis and that amazing culotte, and a matchy striped tail!! Jon look elegant as usual (velvet!) and everybody looks really friendly and funny!, glad you're spreading this festival with your vintage vibe!
    It looks really posh, but it doesn't matter if you made friends, had fun and enjoyed fabulous music. Lovely to see you having fun and looking fabulous at your stall!!

  36. Sounds like a fabulous line up. I saw Tom Jones at Glastonbury in the 90's and he was utterly brilliant. Glad you had a great time. Festivals are always a good laugh but that one sounds a bit too posh for me. :) xx

  37. Such a powerful inspiration your zest for life.
    Loveeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee, my dear queen

  38. So funny photos !

    You are welcome at

    Have a wonderful Day!

  39. This looks like so much fun! I am all in favour of festivals that include masses of silliness and tails. LOVE your skirt and tail combo! xoxo

  40. What an event!

    I'm SO JEALOUS about Tom Jones. He was one of the best concerts I've been to in my life. The man can sing!

    Seems like you party 24/7! I only hope we can do remotely 1/2 as much as you do at our blogger meet-up.


  41. What an amazing time you had. Such lovely photos and it looks like such fun. I'm off to see Tom Jones in a couple of weeks, I can't wait! Xx

  42. Gosh you look fantastic. You may just persuade me to start wearing my collection of Hawaiian maxis.

    Love those gitches (local slang for undies) that were destined to get thrown at Tom Jones. Gawd I would have loved to hear him croon "what's new pussycat?".

    Hope you get some rest and bountiful thrifting in!!

  43. I"ve never been to the Cornbury festival, but only heard good things. Glad to hear the band won and dressed by you! Looking dashing as always Vix. x

  44. Looks like fun and bet Tom Jones was fab! I was just discussing with Mr S the other weekend,the Pimms bus. We knew it existed but couldn't remeber where we had seen it. Hoping it makes it to our Truck festival this weekend.

  45. Looks like you had a great time. So much fun while making a few bucks as well, you are having the time of your life Vix. xo

  46. A glorious post! I love your tail, by the way. The photo of the white haired women (and a redhead) should be framed! But then all of your photos are grand.

    Your festival season couldn't be more wonderful! You and Jon look as happy as you do beautiful!

  47. Oh my, Vix with a tail. Does it get any better? Just proves there's a festival for everyone, what a combination of sorts. Looks like you had a great time. As if you can't!

  48. I'm still giggling at the "camping chairs, golfing umbrellas and cashmere picnic blankets" ... looks like another great weekend of fun, I mean work ;0)

  49. Oh, now the damage is done ... I want a matching tail to every dress I own. A little furry squirrel tail peaking out of fluffy full 50s skirts ... I love it!

    Looks like you had a blast!

  50. Looks like an absolutely fab time, I'd love to go but it is bloody expensive! I do love me a bit of Tom Jones though ;)

  51. Looks like you had a great time. Liverpool is a fab place you can't beat the north. X

  52. Now that you live in Cheltenham, I think it only fitting that you go to the posh festivals! :) Yep, those musos know star quality when they see it. The guy who bought the waistcoat from Kinky wears it VERY well. You and Jon are both looking supercool. Glad old whatshisface didn't come and taint your stand. Tom Jones, though, that's a different matter, bet he was absolutely brilliant. I'm not a particular fan, but I'd love to see him perform. Does he still gyrate his hips?!! Disco Shed dancer is fab! Love the idea of dancing to dub and reggae all weekend. Xxxxx

  53. i dont think anyone does a festival like the Brits! Festivals even the posh people can attend - whodathunkit? i really like the idea of the pimms bus, though 35 pound converted to AUD makes me whimper at bit at my bank balance. that really is a posh festival!
    Fab addition with the tail! it matches your wild side perfectly!


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