Cornbury Festival: Tips for making the most of the family-friendly festival

I’m writing this whilst sitting in my gazebo listening to the Cornbury Festival campsite beginning to stir for the third and final day of live music and comedy.  It’s our second year at Cornbury and we’re truly having an incredible time!   It’s so quiet you wouldn’t believe it’s 9am, my boys (and most of the campsite by the sounds of it!) are still asleep thanks to staying up until late last night to party along with the incredibly talented Alanis Morissette.  Before I work on a video featuring the highlights of Cornbury Festival 2018 I thought I’d share our lessons learnt from two years at the event whilst they are still fresh in my mind…
Cornbury Festival tips
If you’ve been this weekend I would love to hear your top tips too, please pop them in the comments section below. 

Cornbury Festival tips: Do’s and don’ts for an epic weekend

Do take your kids!

Don’t let having young children put you off attending Cornbury Festival. The organisers market the event as being tailor-made for the whole family and it really is very kid friendly.  Everywhere you look there are kids… babies through to teens. My boys (4 & 7) absolutely adore the event and have pestered me all year about returning.  The festival arena and campsite feels very safe, it attracts a friendly crowd and they employ lots of security to cover the event.
Cornbury Festival tips

Don’t forget a trolley

A trolley to transport your stuff to and from the car park to the campsite is a must. (Wheelbarrows are available for £5 an hour if you would prefer to hire one). Your own trolley is also brilliant for transporting young kids around the festival site. We bought a garden cart and it was money well spent. The more pimped up your trolley is the better. We saw trolleys with lights, flags and sun shades putting our bunting to shame!

Do save your pennies

Do keep your eye out for the Cornbury festival early bird rate. The last couple of years’ tickets have gone on sale for a discount of around £20 per adult for a weekend camping pass at the end of October.  Also worth looking out for the many festival pass giveaways if you want to try and win some free tickets next year. We’ve run a Cornbury festival giveaway for the last two years, the organisers have also done several via their Facebook page.  Also keep an eye out on Jack 2 and Heart radio.
Cornbury Festival tips

Do camp in style like a Cornbury Festival pro!

A huge part of the weekend experience is camping. The location is stunning overlooking the Cotswolds countryside. We arrived Friday at 11am and there were already hundreds of tents set up. Many people clearly rock up Thursday to ensure a good pitch with friends.  The gates open at 9am Friday although the acts on the main stages don’t start until midday.
The camping fields are huge so you’ll always find somewhere to camp and you can really spread out. For the four of us we took a six-man tent and separate gazebo for chilling and to use as our dining area. Cornbury is known as PoshStock and you only need to take a look at the swanky cars in the car park and the super duper camping set ups to see why it deserves this nickname. The festival attracts large groups of friends, many of whom attend year on year and have perfected the art of creating mini festival village encampments with tents set up in a big circle surrounded by wind breakers and a large entertainment gazebo in the middle with chairs, tables, stoves. We even saw a few solar showers, Porta potties (toilet tents!).  We had serious pitch envy. (Yes, this is a real thing!)  Other camping essentials are bunting, lights, flags and of course glitter and face paint.
Cornbury Festival tips

A camping mini village set up next to ours. A group of friends celebrating a birthday with an entertainment space in the centre of their tents.

Camping at Cornbury Festival tips

It’s worth spending a few extra minutes walking around to find a good pitch. You ideally want to be off the slopes, close enough to the toilets and showers to walk to easily but far enough away not to be kept awake with the Portaloo doors banging shut constantly. Also not too far from the festival ground so you can easily nip back if needed.
We pitched close to a tree which gave us much needed shade in the mornings and helped to keep our cool box cooler for longer. There is a quieter camping ground too, although as it’s closer to the festival arena this year I have to say I’m dubious about how quiet it is!
Cornbury Festival tips

Showers and toilets at Cornbury Festival

Let’s be honest the downside of any festival are the toilets!  The portaloo’s at Cornbury are about as good as you are going to get.  They are cleaned regularly and we rarely had to queue for loo’s. You can pay extra for posh loos but at £27.50 per adult and £15 per child I didn’t personally think it was worth the extra cost.
The queues for showers however have been long with 20-30 queuing from early morning until nearly midday.  We nipped back yesterday afternoon to use the showers when there were no queues so this is worth baring in mind.  We found the showers to be very clean. It’s worth packing a shower cap ladies as they are overhead showers.

Food and drink at Cornbury Festival 

Like most festivals the policy is no food and drink to be taken into the festival arena. (Apart from bottled water which the security have been sometimes opening and smelling this year).  We’ve had our bags checked every time we’ve entered the arena. The security seem most concerned with people not taking through alcohol or full on picnics. They’ve turned a blind eye at a few snacks we’ve snuck in for our boys.
The best money we’ve spent all wkd is £3.50 for the Frank Water wristband which allows us to refill our own drinks bottles with ice cold filtered water.  A brilliant initiative which reduces the use of plastic bottles whilst raising money for a life changing charity.
There are a wide range of food outlets at Cornbury serving everything from organic burgers, pizzas, fish and chips, curries and vegetarian options.  Prices range from £6 for a 10″ cheese pizza to £8/£9 for a burger, curry, wrap.  For campers there’s also a very useful campsite shop the prices are a little on the high side but only as you would expect e.g. milk £1.80 for a one litre and water £2.20 for a 1.5 litre.

What to expect of Cornbury Festival

The festival arena is large – four stages, a fab kid zone (with lots of free activities & arts/crafts with a minimal charge), fairground and lots of stalls. The main acts interchange every hour between the two big stages so most people don’t set up in one place and stay all day which is a good thing. The main stage, Pleasant Valley, is a natural amphitheatre which means everyone gets a decent view of the stage even when everyone is standing.
Chairs are permitted (even though on the website they try to dissuade people from taking them). Most people have the low, floor level chairs and/or picnic blankets which are a necessity if you don’t want to be sitting in sheep poo!
There is very little shade at Cornbury festival. We’ve found it incredibly hot this year and tend to join the crowds under the few trees. Don’t forget to pack sunglasses, hats, lots of suncream and brollies are a good idea for creating shade too. Ear defenders for children are also great as the music is obviously very loud.
Our review from Cornbury Festival 2017 can be read here – Highlights of Cornbury Festival 2017.You can check out reviews of some of the brilliant performers this weekend here – Megan McKenna, Pixie Lott, Alanis Morissette.

Video featuring highlights of Cornbury Festival 2018

Three epic days summed up in three minutes!

Hope you’ve found our Cornbury Festival tips handy.  If you have more please pop them below, we would love to hear your thoughts video featuring the highlights of the weekend!
Disclaimer – We were kindly invited as guests of Cornbury Festival to review the event.  All opinions are, as always, our own.  
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Cornbury Festival tips
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2 Comments

  1. 16th July 2018 / 5:56 pm

    Festival trolleys rock!! I’d have been lost without mine the other week just to lug about hats, sun cream, spare clothes, etc. I do breathe a sigh of relief when you can take in a few snack for the kids too. It’s common sense. You can’t buy a full on meal every time the kids want something to push them on. The water refill sounds like a great idea too!

    • Lisa
      Author
      16th July 2018 / 9:11 pm

      They are very handy. Although my youngest was not keen on scooting to school this morning;) Think he was hoping he could go in his pimped up festival trolley!

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