CALIFORNIA came to Oxfordshire as surf-rock legends The Beach Boys brought this year’s Cornbury Festival to a rousing finale.

Festival director Hugh Phillimore, who is already planning next year’s festival, described it as the perfect end to “the nicest Cornbury yet”.

The band, known for their trademark West Coast sound with hit songs about surfing, cars and young love, are one of the most important acts of all time. Their advanced production techniques placed them ahead of their time in the 1960s, and they were a huge influence on The Beatles.

The group were fronted by co-founder Mike Love and featuring long-serving touring member Bruce Johnston. They delighted a crowd of about 11,000 people on Sunday to such hits as Good Vibrations, Sloop John B, Wouldn’t It Be Nice, Kokomo and I Get Around – leading a mass sing-along by displaying lyrics on a screen above the stage. Beach balls were thrown into the crowd to add to the party atmosphere as the sun went down on Great Tew Park.

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An emotional rendition of anthem God Only Knows brought some of the audience to tears.

Co-founder and sonic pioneer Brian Wilson was too unwell to join the band at the festival. He has long battled with mental health problems. His brothers, and original members, Dennis and Carl died in 1983 and 1998 respectively.

Mr Phillimore said seeing The Beach Boys on stage was the realisation of many years of hard work and negotiations. He said:”I have been trying to get them for years and was so excited to see them play as I had never actually caught them before. They really were the perfect headliner for this year’s gloriously sunny festival – which was one of the nicest yet with certainly the best line-up.”

This year’s 16th instalment came two years after what should have been the final event. Mr Phillimore bowed to pressure to continue last year after being inundated with requests from festival fans.

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