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.
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.