Towersey Festival urges people to still buy tickets to ensure the show goes on

THE organiser of the country’s longest running independent music festival has urged people to keep buying tickets in the hope that the show will go on. Towersey Festival is a highlight of many music lover’s summer, and is due to return for its 56th year on the August Bank Holiday weekend, August 28-31. The line-up is its best ever, and features musical comedian Bill Bailey, folk artist Kate Rusby, ‘All Around My Hat’ stars Steeleye Span, This is the Kit, Gruff Rhys of Super Furry Animals, Show of Hands, Grace Petrie, Talisk, the London Welsh Male Voice Choir, and country duo Ferris and Sylvester among many others.

Read more: Truck Festival star Mr Motivator’s 6 lockdown exercise tips While some events scheduled for early summer have been cancelled – not least Glastonbury Festival – Towersey, which began life in the village of the same name, near Thame, is set to go ahead at its new site on the Claydon estate, in Buckinghamshire. In an impassioned message to regulars, Festival Director Joe Heap encouraged people to buy tickets and not seek refunds.

He said: “These are unprecedented times and difficult to comprehend but we will come through the other side and hopefully the country can emerge as a stronger, kinder place, the sort of place Towersey Festival has always been. Read more: Cheer up and look forward to these Oxfordshire festivals still (hopefully) taking place this summer…

“We are ever grateful for our extended Towersey family and loyal supporters and have been asked by a few what can be done to help the festival during challenging times. “The simple answer is please keep buying tickets. “As of today, Towersey 2020 is still on and we would love to have as many of you there as possible, hopefully celebrating the end of this difficult time.

But if we have to postpone, then all tickets will be carried forward to 2021. “Buying tickets now is the best way to support us to ensure the future of the festival for years to come. So book now and give yourself something to look forward to.”

He added: “In the meantime, please stay safe and stay at home if you can. For those key workers out there keeping the country running, especially those on the frontline in the NHS, we send our deepest thanks, admiration and love to you all.” Towersey Festival has 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 has grown from a handful of music enthusiasts to a staple in the folk calendar. The organisation has been passed down through the generations and is currently run by founder Denis’s grandson, Joe. In 2015, the festival left Towersey and moved to Thame Showground, but organisers hoped this year’s move would establish it in more scenic pastoral surroundings.

With a line-up orientated to folk, roots and acoustic music, Towersey has always been a gentle, family-friendly affair, very different to the raucous Reading Festival which takes place the same weekend and features more rock, pop, dance and hip-hop, aimed at a younger audience. Also taking place over the bank holiday weekend is The Big Feastival, on Blur bassist Alex James’s farm at Kingham, near Chipping Norton. That event features less folk, more pop and a strong bill of chefs who perform cookery demonstrations.

Both Reading and The Big Feastival plan to continue. Also hoping to go ahead are Cornbury Festival, at Great Tew; Wilderness, at Cornbury Park; Fairport’s Cropredy Convention, near Banbury; Truck Festival, in Steventon; and Rewind Festival – an event featuring largely bands from the 1980s and 90s – in Henley. A brand new event due to take place at Kirtlington Park, near Bicester, called Kite Festival is also still set to go ahead, and is selling tickets, despite its relatively early timing of June 12-14.

Festival organisers have joined the managers of arts venues in urging people not to ask for refunds on tickets for cancelled or postponed events, fearing it could drive them under.

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