TWO days of music from some of Oxfordshire’s best-loved bands attracted thousands of people to the 25th anniversary of the county’s biggest free music festival.
Riverside Festival, at Charlbury near Witney, is one of the area’s best-loved events. And after two years of cancellations its fans flocked back to celebrate its return.
Much of the music came from popular Oxfordshire bands, including alternative-rock four-piece Kanadia, 10-piece pop covers band The Standard, punchy soul-blues-rockers The Deadbeat Apostles, Barracane, European-Middle Eastern fusion band Brickwork Lizards, Dolly Mavies, upbeat garage punk band Self Help and iconic Oxford space-rockers Mighty Redox.
There was talent from further appeal, too, the most unlikely act being late 80s, early-90s dance music star Adamski.
The DJ, musician, singer and record producer is best known for his hits N-R-G and Killer – a collaboration with Seal which went to number one in 1990. He topped the bill on a stage programmed by Smilex frontman Lee Christian of independent label QuickFix Recordings. The set veered from quirky rockabilly to beat-heavy dance music.
The festival is staged by volunteers, including members of the Charlbury community who help out with everything from setting up the site to staffing its bars. Organisers paid tribute to two key members of the Riverside team who died earlier this year: journalist and publicist Kathryn Custance, and festival co-founder Gary Walker.
Festival director Andy Pickard said: “Kathryn made Riverside bigger. Her amazing skill and dedication brought us a louder voice and a bigger place in the festival world. She made sure Charlbury Riverside became a by-word for the best of everything festivals do, friendship, sharing, freedom and the pure pleasure of music.”
He added: “Gary was the rock at the centre of Riverside, a founding director, dedicated site builder and excellent gurner. As thousands of Riversiders know, he was a lovely man, a kind man and a funny man.
“The world is a better place for having had him in it.”
Portraits of Gary adorned the stages in tribute.
Revellers gave the event the thumbs up. Caren Evans from Banbury, said: “We had a great time listening to some amazing music. Everyone involved is absolutely amazing. We can’t thank them enough for another great day. See you next year.”
Festival regular Jeremy Hughes said: “A lovely festival. It was great to be back at Riverside. Thanks for all the hard work!”
The Ock Street Band said: “We had such a great time. It’s a lovely festival and it was fab to chill listening to brilliant live music.”
While DJ Rich Craven said: “It was an incredible day, and was an absolute honour to compere and DJ on the QuickFix stage.
“What a lovely festival, run by great people, and with a cracking line up. Everything was perfect.”
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