Tim Hughes looks at what is in store for festival-goers at Oxfordshire's most civilized music bash

Musical legends, up-and-coming bands, top league comedy, good food, views and an all pervading atmosphere of niceness. Cornbury is the quintessential Oxfordshire music festival.

This three-day family-friendly gathering, on the lawns of Great Tew Hall, near Chipping Norton, which has cracked a magic formula establishing itself as one of the loveliest and easy-going live music festivals, now celebrates its 13th year.

And it is proving to be lucky for some, with a great line-up which includes household names, pop, rock & roll, jazz, Britpop, country, folk, RnB, ska and indie.

The big names include All Saints, Bryan Ferry, Seal, James Morrison and Jamie Cullum. According to festival director Hugh Phillimore, this year’s line-up is one of the best yet:

“To have both Bryan Ferry and Jamie Cullum at Cornbury is a real treat for me,” he says. “We’ve worked with both of them for many years but this is their first time at Cornbury – and of course both of them are completely unique performers.

“We’re also particularly thrilled to have Wilko Johnson back after his farewell performance in 2013. We now take credit for saving his life (he met cancer surgeon Charlie Chan backstage at Cornbury). I wept from the side of his set back then and I’ll probably do it again.”

Rock ‘n’ roll survivor Wilko is one of the Friday highlights along with Cullum, 80s acid jazz pioneers Soul II Soul, R&B troubadour Lemar, ska veterans The Beat and newcomers Port Isla and The Dunwells.

All Saints, Corinne Bailey Rae and Booker T join the Saturday bill topped by the most elegant man in music Bryan Ferry, along with purveyor of The Power of Love Gabrielle Aplin, revered alt-country star Lucinda Williams and Lighthouse Family frontman Tunde who will revisit the band’s classic catalogue.

Seal makes a return this year after his triumph as surprise special guest in 2015.

This time the Crazy star has his own headline slot on Sunday. He will be joined on the bill by Cornbury regulars The Shires, singer-songwriter James Morrison, guitar virtuoso Newton Faulkner and 60s rock combo The Zombies.

Cornbury perennials Stax return to their regular Sunday slot, Noah & The Whale guitarist Fred Abbott showcases his new band, Kelvin Jones brings a soulful edge, and musicals star Ramin Karimloo makes his major UK festival debut with a touch of bluegrass. Party band Bjorn Again close the festival from the Songbird Stage in true ABBA style. And with a massive family, comedy and food line-up, which we will feature in the upcoming weeks, Cornbury's back with a vengeance.

As always, the festival is home to the very best of English country life – you are just as likely to bump into a local celebrity or Prime Minister grabbing a slice of cake in the Village Tea tent, as a troupe of Morris dancers propping up the Pimm’s bar; and there are always unexpected acts to surprise and delight. “We like to do some unusual stuff every year at Cornbury,” says Hugh. “And our new friends in The Tuneless Choir fit the bill. This unique 50-piece Nottingham-based choir believe in the revitalising, uplifting and health giving power of song – they’re about participation not performance or necessarily talent. They’ll be leading our Sunday Morning service with life affirming, rousing versions of top tunes from Jerusalem to Living on A Prayer.

“I’m also greatly looking forward to the new comedy talent we have this year, cutting edge acts from the British stand-up circuit Dane Baptiste, Carl Donnelly, Ed Gamble and Nish Kumar will bring a bit of cool comedy cred to Cornbury.”

Friday headliner Dane Baptiste is known for his brilliant take on all life’s irritations and his phenomenal gift to tame the most difficult of crowds. Topping the comedy bill on Saturday, meanwhile, is Carl Donnelly, a star of Mock The Week and Russell Howard’s Good News). Carl has been nominated for the Edinburgh Comedy Award twice and performing at pretty much every comedy festival there is.

Sunday belongs to Ed Gamble, best known for presenting The Peacock and Gamble Podcast, and soon to appear in Greg Davies’ sitcom Man Down. He appears with the host of BBC Radio 4’s Newsjack Nish Kumar, whose witty insights will be well known to fans of The Now Show, Live at the Comedy Store and Have I got News For You.

Festival goers can also look forward to innovative character comedian Kieran Hodgson, New Zealand’s finest Rose Matafeo and ‘suave dork’ Phil Wang, as well as sketch groups Daphne & Good Bear, Cornbury favourite and Oxford local Ivo Graham, fellow rising stars Pierre Novellie, Jayde Adams, Emma Sidi and hosts Fin Taylor, Patrick Turpin, Jack Barry.

It is not only the line-up which brings people back to Cornbury. Families also return because of its relaxed safe atmosphere, activity-packed kids zone and the beautiful campsites nestled in the estate’s rolling hills.

The Kids’ Zone is a colourful, friendly space right in the middle of the festival, in sight of the main stage. Unlike some festivals, all activities are free, with no need to book in advance. As well as an impressive range of free arts and crafts activities, youngsters can learn to play the ukulele, create songs, find their inner rhythm at the samba drumming workshops or pick up new disco moves. There are children’s theatre and puppet shows and a Circus Skills Workshop offering expert tuition in juggling, plate-spinning, diablo, unicycle, hula hoops and much more

New this year is the Mayflower Project Teen Tent, a comfortable and safe setting where young festival goers can take part in workshops to learn new skills or just hang out with friends.

Children’s tickets cost from £10 with free entrance for under-threes and quieter camping options available at the same price as general camping tickets – _ making it perfect for those with younger festival fans. To avoid booking charges, do like the locals and buy non-camping tickets from Chipping Norton Theatre’s box office – book in person or over the phone: 01608 642350.

WIN! For your chance to win a pair of weekend tickets with camping, name a 2016 Cornbury headliner. Answers to Tim Hughes, The Oxford Times, Newspaper House, Osney Mead, Oxford, OX2 0EJ or email tim.hughes@nqo.com.

Answers must be received by May 13. Usual Newsquest rules apply. The editor’s decision final.