This year's Bunkfest puts others in the shade + picture gallery

Peter Taylor from Wicket Brood Morris at Bunkfest

Peter Taylor from Wicket Brood Morris at Bunkfest Buy this photo

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AS some of the last rays of summer sun beat down on Oxfordshire at the weekend, thousands turned out to celebrate the 13th annual BunkFest in Wallingford.

The three-day festival — which started on Friday — had the biggest turn-out yet, organisers said.

More than 20,000 watched traditional dancing and live bands, stroked sheep, goats and ponies in the petting zoo and had fun on the fairground rides.

Coal-powered traction engines sent clouds of steam billowing out across Kinecroft Park.

The annual festival, named after the bunk line railway from Cholsey to Wallingford, is staffed and organised by about 300 volunteers.

Festival director Dominic Feeley, 50, said: “We think it is the biggest free festival in the country, and we have people from all over the UK visiting.”

He said popular attractions included a “silent disco” on Saturday night when revellers bopped away to music piped through headphones.

Traction engine owner Arthur Honey, 66, who came with two of his red machines, said: “They attract a lot of attention.

“The kids just love them, but a lot of the children don’t understand what the coal is, I have to keep showing them the fire.”

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Gesturing with his engine oil-stained hands to the bigger of the two, he said: “This one is called Lady Ann, and the smaller one is Phoenix. I call them my babies.”

The Wallingford resident said: “I have been coming to the festival since it started, when there were just a few tables and chairs around the Cross Keys pub, and it has escalated out of all proportion.

“I think this is the best one yet, and certainly the busiest.”

Oxford Mail:

Arthur Honey with his traction engine, and visitor Bertie Chapman, two

Two-year-old Bertie Chapman, from Upper Basildon in West Berkshire, beamed as he sat on Lady Ann’s leather seat.

His dad Mark Jex, 45, said: “He really likes tractors and he likes these too.

“This is the first time we have been to the festival and the weather has been wonderful.”

Julia Smith, 58, from Wallingford, said: “We have been every day this year. As we live just around the corner, it is so convenient.

“It is absolutely brilliant.”

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Comments (2)

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8:46am Mon 1 Sep 14

yabbadabbadoo256 says...

while it was a good festival, i was very concerned to note the number of people staggering round town and the surrounding streets, "Bunkfest" pint glass in hand full up of the local liquour, falling over and making trouble..

In previous years, I remember that if you had alcohol in the glass you could not leave the Kinecroft for your safety and that of others - has this now changed? If so then a stronger police presence is needed as most of wallingford was swimming in drunks on saturday night.
while it was a good festival, i was very concerned to note the number of people staggering round town and the surrounding streets, "Bunkfest" pint glass in hand full up of the local liquour, falling over and making trouble.. In previous years, I remember that if you had alcohol in the glass you could not leave the Kinecroft for your safety and that of others - has this now changed? If so then a stronger police presence is needed as most of wallingford was swimming in drunks on saturday night. yabbadabbadoo256
  • Score: -1

9:51am Mon 1 Sep 14

cornflake girl says...

Bunkfest was fantastic organisers deserve a medal, great atmosphere great entertainment bands were fantastic, so much going on. Well done all involved.
I agree with the drinking bit, Its good to see people having a good time and at a festival you expect a few worse for wear souls wandering about and laid out, But this year they were walking around the town itself and wallingford with cans and bunkfest pints, It should be restricted to the festival area only, or of course in the pubs.
Bunkfest was fantastic organisers deserve a medal, great atmosphere great entertainment bands were fantastic, so much going on. Well done all involved. I agree with the drinking bit, Its good to see people having a good time and at a festival you expect a few worse for wear souls wandering about and laid out, But this year they were walking around the town itself and wallingford with cans and bunkfest pints, It should be restricted to the festival area only, or of course in the pubs. cornflake girl
  • Score: 3

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