• Tue. May 21st, 2024

Popular Towersey Festival is now over the border

Byoxfordnewspaper

Jul 30, 2022

Music festivals come round quick at this time of year and before you can say Cornbury, Riverside, Wilderness and Feastival it's time for Cropredy.

But many Oxfordshire music fans will keep a special place in their hearts for one of the county's longest running festivals – Towersey.

In 2019, Towersey Festival celebrated its 55th anniversary.

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Until that year it had taken place every August Bank Holiday since 1965, when it was first held in founder Denis Manners’ back garden.

Despite its modest beginnings, the festival grew from a handful of music enthusiasts to a staple in the folk calendar.

The organisation has been passed down through the generations and was taken over by founder Denis’s grandson, Joe.

Since 2015, the festival has grown away from the village of Towersey and after a spell at Thame Showground it has moved again, this time over the border to the Claydon estate in Buckinghamshire.

It's not too far for the county's music fans to travel – about 18 miles from Thame and 13 miles from Bicester.

From August 26-29 there will be some top acts performing, including Scottish hitmakers Del Amitri, Imelda May, Kate Rusby, Eddie Reader, and comedian Bill Bailey.

Iain Harvie, guitarist in Del Amitri, won't have far to travel as he spends half his time in Oxford and half his time in his native Scotland.

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A keen cyclist, he has never owned a car but the new location could be a bit of a stretch on his bike, so he will probably get a lift to the festival site.

"There aren't many festivals that have run that long – I'm really looking forward to it," he said.

Joe Heap is quoted from 2018 on the festival website, saying: "Towersey Festival has been my life.

"Started back in 1965 by my grandad, I was born into it and in my 43 years I have missed just two festivals.

"It began in my grandparents' back garden, and it quickly grew from this handful of musical enthusiasts and friends to a few hundred, and onto a small field in the village, where it was taken on by my dad – who to this day is still very much involved, having been the festival director for some 40 years.

"As it continued to grow organically it attracted more families, new generations of fun-loving festival-goers, and moved onto land purchased by the festival for the village. Its goal was to provide a culturally significant event for the local community. A mission that continues today.

"And now? Well, those foundations of family, musical passion, togetherness and community are what continue to feed us and our customers. We call them all Team Towersey.

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"It's their festival, our festival, and your festival, and all who come to Towersey feel that sense of ownership and community.”

For more on the packed programme visit towerseyfestival.com/line-up-new

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This story was written by Andy Ffrench, he joined the team more than 20 years ago and now covers community news across Oxfordshire.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Andy.ffrench@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter @OxMailAndyF