Crowds give Towersey a birthday to remember

Towersey Festival director Joe Heap at the site. Picture: OX69395 Marc West

Towersey Festival director Joe Heap at the site. Picture: OX69395 Marc West Buy this photo

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering Rose Hill, Iffley and Littlemore. Please call me on (01865) 425422

TOWERSEY Festival celebrated its 50th year with potentially record numbers of visitors over the Bank Holiday weekend.

Organisers said they expected about 10,000 people will have watched acts including The Bootleg Beatles and Seth Lakeman perform over five days by the end of the festival tonight.

Festival organiser Joe Heap said: “It has been amazing, really, really good, and we have been blessed with the weather.

“I think we are heading for record numbers.

“We opened with The Bootleg Beatles and we’ve had Seth Lakeman, who sold out.

“We have had a giant mural painting saying ‘TF50’, which stands for ‘Towersey Festival 50’ and that has been a big hands-on art project.

“We have also been hanging dreamcatchers on a tree in the middle of the site.”

Oxford Mail:

  • Daisy Kennedy, six

The festival was founded by Mr Heap’s grandfather, Denis Manners, in 1965 and in its first year fewer than 100 people attended.

Mr Heap said: “It has grown very gradually since then, it grew organically over many years.

“I think my grandfather would still recognise it. He was all about communities and music, those were all the things he loved.”

The festival also featured poetry, comedy, art and sculpture and was attended by a range of traders.

Sally Stamford, who owns the Lemonade Lady stall, was at the festival for the first time this year.

She said: “It has been the best festival I have ever been at, everyone is so relaxed, I am having a great time.

Oxford Mail:

  • Musician Jim Rolt with Lemonade Lady Sally Stamford

“The atmosphere is great and it is so safe, there is entertainment for children as well as the adults and there are some really great artists here.

“I am also a singer and performer so I have been singing and performing with my partner Jim Rolt. We do a sort of folk rock.

“But we can relax in the evenings. People want beer then, not lemonade.”

Once the event ends tonight, it is the beginning of a long process for Mr Heap as he starts to prepare for next year’s event.

He said: “It takes about a week to get everything taken down again and it takes all year to set up, so we are already preparing for next year’s event.

“We have had quite a few major celebration concerts which have added to the carnival atmosphere. People say it has been the best Towersey they have been to.”

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