While simply everyone is banging on about Glastonbury, with its superstar line-up and acres of glittering, albeit possibly muddy, delights, it is important to remember that festival-going does not have to be big and brash.

We have already had the charming eco-friendly Wood festival in the Chilterns, and now, as we race headlong into the first weeks of the real festival season, we have Tandem.

The absolute opposite of massive events like Glastonbury or Reading, Tandem Festival is a gentle-paced gathering of like-minded souls with the emphasis on creativity, wellbeing and inspiring change.... as well as being beautiful.

The gathering, held in remote Lower Farm at Ramsden, near Charlbury, this weekend, bills itself as “a three-day festival bringing ​different worlds​ of music, art, dance, workshops, food and eco-friendliness.”

Oxford Mail:

Run by volunteers, it celebrates  culture and environmental issues while offering punters a diverse bill with bands playing everything from funk to a  full size orchestra, Balkan beats to late night DJs, and musicians from around the globe sharing the sounds of their cultures.

Family activities include storytelling, poetry, nature exploring, painting and un-amplified stages.

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The festival proves its eco-credentials by being powered entirely by green energy, encouraging cycling and low-carbon transport to the festival, avoiding non-recyclable waste, upcycling and only serving vegetarian and vegan food  sourced from Oxford Food Bank’s surplus and local suppliers.

Oxford Mail:

“Tandem is a music festival that brings art together with talks and workshops on social and environmental issues,” says festival organiser Hannah Jacobs

“It also acts as a retail platform for small local businesses, is a space for community projects to collaborate, and is a celebration of international culture.

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“We are grounded in our community but we are also constantly looking at how we fit into the wider picture and how we can develop partnerships that build resilience and community with national and international artists and organisations.”

Tandem began in 2014 with an Open Meeting series, bringing local artists and musicians and Community Action Groups to work in ‘Tandem’ to collaborate and build a unique festival inspiring creative ways of thinking about environmental and social change.

Oxford Mail:

The festival has grown into the wider Tandem Collective which manages a wide range of events and collaborative projects fusing volunteering opportunities, workshops, talks and skill-sharing with creative mediums including music, art, theatre, literature, cinema and dance.

“The festival grew out of a belief that the arts have a powerful role to enact social and environmental change,” says Hannah. “Tandem brings activist and music communities in Oxford together to shape their own festival and inspire people with a creative approach to eco and ethical living.

“We challenge wasteful festival culture and show that what’s good for your ears, eyes and dancing shoes can be good for the planet too.”

She said the idea was sparked in an Oxford pub by friends Nina Brown, an author and producer from Oxford and Niko O’Brien, an sound-engineer originally from Paris. Since then, it’s attracted a diverse team of volunteers who work together to bring each unique festival to life.

And how is it different to the rest?

“It’s powered on renewable energy, works with local charities and organisations to make the festival as inclusive and eco as possible, and is community-led and volunteer-run with open planning meetings to shape the festival.

“We organise group cycle rides and special buses with Oxford Bus Company to the festival, all our food is veggie/vegan, and the site is built from reclaimed and recycle materials by festival volunteers, including our beautiful, colourful compost loos.

“We celebrate diversity, bringing different groups of people and cultures together. Our global folk music residential runs before and during the festival, so on top of our great line up, there are musicians from all corners of the globe onsite sharing their cultures.”

Just leave the sparkles at home.

“We are a pioneering glitter-free festival,” she says. “Some eco-glitter has a non-biodegradable microplastic coating or is made of mica mined using slave labour.

“We’ll be celebrating a host of other eco ways to shine for festival season and leaving no trace; the festival site is spotless afterwards and we compost recycle absolutely everything we can.”

Musical highlights include Nubiyan Twist, a 12-piece fusing jazz, soul, hip hop, African styles, Latin, dub and electronics; The Evil Usses, an experimental psych-indie four-piece from Bristol; folk icon Peggy Seeger; Tom Green Septet playing jazz brass; and Me and My Friends – a Ghanaian highlife, Jamaican and Afro-Brazilian folk band.

Also playing are cello and violin duo Fran and Flora, who improvise Eastern European folk pieces with voice and loops; Ethno England Band, which brings young folk musicians from around the globe; community orchestra Sinfonia Gaia; and Oxford bands Flights of Helios, Lucy Leave, Self Help, and Upcycled Sounds Records artists Theo, Rosie Caldecott, Limpet Space Race and Jay Sunaway.

And Hannah insists there is much more than just music, saying the festival will also be packed with over 80 workshops and activities, including 80s disco yoga, Indian classical singing, a solar panel workshop, panel discussion on effective activism, talks, r&b pilates and screen printing.

Hannah adds: “The site is stunning with huge barns, woodlands and green fields. It’s nice and big so we have space for loads of different, uniquely decorated spaces: a main stage area, Stonebarn stage, woodland stage, quarry activity area, gallery, kids area, arts space, wellbeing area, marketplace, Tandem Social Bar, DIY tent, lounge and camping and campervan fields.

“Nightscapes, a theatre and production group from the Netherlands come every year to bring the most magical decor and installations from upcycled materials.

“Last year they turned the main stage into a mass of floating spirals made from books and built a post office complete with postmen in the woodlands and delivered people’s letters around the festival site.

“The best bit for us is hearing how much people love it – the friends they’ve made, cultures they’ve experienced and the skills they’re going home with. So many people tell us it’s their favourite festival of the summer.”

Tandem Festival takes place at Lower Farm, Ramsden from tomorrow to Sunday. Tickets £85 + fee from wegottickets.com. See tandemfestival.com