Towersey magic


In just a few short weeks Towersey Festival will be here for its 51st offering - and this time on a new site, at the Thame Showground instead of within the heart of the tiny village.

The four day festival over the late August Bank Holiday weekend (Friday August 28 through to Monday 31) has an eclectic line up of music including acoustic, folk, blues, world and Americana, with first class stages, massive family appeal, wonderful camping, arts, crafts, theatre, hands-on workshops, film and a sprinkling of festival magic in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside.

This year’s headline acts include Joan Armatrading, Bellowhead and Stornoway. And many artists who play at Towersey have long standing affection for the festival.

Having recently announced their intention to split after over a decade together the 11 piece contemporary folk band Bellowhead will play their final music festival as part of Towersey. The band, who has played the Royal Albert Hall, released five lauded albums and picked up over 20 BBC Radio 2 Folk Award nominations, head the line up on Saturday evening.

Bellowhead has a long association with Towersey and last appeared in 2012 when following two charged electric performances the spirited audience broke the dance floor!

Band co-founder and melodeon player John Spiers, who has visited the festival many times as a performer, retailer and camper, said: “With Bellowhead, I have played some of the most high energy and blissful gigs at Towersey, there’s just something about a marquee in this rural setting towards the end of the summer season that encourages carefree, energetic and blissed out dancing audiences. As a performer, that is a godsend!

“And now I’ll get to play the last festival gig Bellowhead ever do at Towersey, where else? Although that will be sad in one way, it will also be incredibly joyful.”

Another performer with very close ties to Towersey is BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer of the Year Nancy Kerr who will perform on the Sunday with guitarist and and singer Martin Simpson and accordian player Andy Cutting. Nancy bought her very first fiddle at Towersey and played her very first solo gig at the festival last year.

She said: “Towersey has been really really central to me. I first discovered it at 13 with my mum. I’d just discovered festivals that summer. August festivals were always important as they were the last chance to soak up inspiration before September, and everything returned to normal. Towersey was th e last hurrah. Towersey was really important ... you’d always see something new or revist something, it’s always a treasure to visit.”

For full details of all the acts, day by day listings, ticket prices (including day, weekend and camping) see the website