FOUR days ago he was playing to 80,000 cheering fans at the Olympic closing ceremony celebration. Now he is embarking on something he insists is even more exciting – hosting his own festival.

His band Blur may have played their last gig, but for Alex James there is no time to rest.

The bass player-turned-gentleman-farmer-and-cheesemaker is hard at work preparing to once again open up his West Oxfordshire farm to thousands of festival-goers for a weekend-long celebration of music and food.

And he can’t wait for it to happen. “Hyde Park was the perfect celebration of a glorious British summer,” he says.

“To play music with my friends in front of an 80,000-strong London crowd was just amazing. But this is what I’m thinking about now.

So was Alex’s Olympian Blur gig the band’s last, as singer Damon Albarn has claimed? Alex is happier to leave the door open, saying: “People are saying it must have been brilliant to be back with Blur, but I can do that any time.”

Up to 20,000 people are expected at his farm near Kingham, on September 1 and 2 for his Big Feastival, which will be presented by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver.

And while bandmates Damon, Graham Coxon and Dave Rowntree are unlikely to make an appearance, the farm will play host to some pretty big names, with Paloma Faith, Razorlight, Texas, Gaz Coombes and Guillemots, Noisettes, Sister Sledge, Producers and The Cuban Brothers all lined up to play.

But music is only a part of what The Big Feastival is about, he says.

“This is all about good food too,” he tells me over bottles of beer and chunks of his own chilli cheese, on the 200 acre-dairy farm he shares with his wife Claire, and their five children Geronimo, Artemis, Galileo, Sable and Beatrix.

So there will also be cooking demos from Jamie Oliver, Theo Randall, Simon Rogan, Bruno Loubet, Valentine Warner and Gennaro Contaldo – who is credited with teaching festival host Jamie Oliver everything he knows about Italian cooking. Joining them will be Emily Watkins, executive chef at Alex’s local, The Kingham Plough – holder of the Good Pub Guide’s County Dining Pub of the Year award.

Even the host, now as well known as a celebrity fromagier as a bassist, will be showing off his culinary skills.

For a foodie and musician like Alex, it’s a stellar line-up.

“It’s great,” he says. “I’ve known Gaz for years and is a good old Oxford boy. Sister Sledge are familiar faces and the Noisettes are brilliant. But I’m also keen to have new musicians involved. There is so much new music in Britain.

“There are a lot of festivals but a lot are a bit meaningless; I want this to be special.”

The Big Feastival is not the first celebration of food and music to be hosted by Alex. Last year, the star opened his gates to Harvest, which saw the likes of KT Tunstall, The Kooks, Athlete and The Futureheads playing to thousands. Unfortunately, the company organising the event, Big Wheel Promotions, collapsed owing debts of £1m, including more than £57,000 to local firms. Commotion, which raises money for Kingham Primary School helped out at the festival, and was also owed money which left it unable to pay for its music teacher.

A rescue concert headlined by Oxford jazz-swing group The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band was supported by Alex, who introduced the acts and personally matched all money raised.

This summer’s event, which will raise funds and awareness for The Jamie Oliver Foundation, is being organised by a different company, Brand Events, which has a proven track record of staging successful food events around the world.

“This is a completely different thing,” says Alex.

“Harvest made me realise it’s something that could be amazing. It had a lovely atmosphere and I enjoyed it. And we realised the way forward was to come back with this. And this time the organisers really know what they are doing.

“The only thing you can do is move on and be brilliant!”

“We’ve learned a lot from last year and I am so thankful that we’ve managed to persuade Jamie to get involved.”

“He did the Big Feastival in London last year, but also wanted to do it in the countryside and this is an amazing site.”

He is looking forward to getting back together with Jamie, who also happens to be a keen drummer. He said the pair shared the same three passions of food, music and family.

“We felt we had the same audience as musicians and food producers and writers,” he adds. “We’ve got a lot in common, We’ve played together, we’ve both got kids; he’s got four and I’ve got five.

“Together we thought we could pull off a pretty spectacular food and music weekend.”

And there will also be a some surprises. “There could be a few things happening,” he says enigmatically. “And we want to get a new band together. We don’t have a name yet – but we could call it the Farm Loving Criminals – the world’s first ‘supper’ group!”

Alex, who was born in Dorset, but made his name as a London musician at the height of Britpop. He describes himself as “the second-drunkest member of the world’s drunkest band”, and says that moving to Oxfordshire “saved his life”. Now at home in the countryside he is determined to make the Big Feastival a success which will benefit the whole neighbourhood.

“I love living here and am a part of this community,” he says. “This is my home and I don’t enter into something like this lightly.”

And, as you might expect from a notorious hedonist-turned devoted family man, his bash will be child-friendly. A dedicated Little Dudes Den, will feature entertainment from kids' cartoon favourite Peppa Pig, demonstrations by the Bushcraft Company, magic shows, storytelling, face painting, puppet-making, and circus skills classes.

There will also be an artisan food market, fun fair, big top, fete games, dressing-up tent, gardening area, dance competitions, kids’ cocktail bar, pottery and theatre workshops.

The time is ripe for a new kind of festival, offering more than just bands, beers and burgers, says Alex.

“When Blur started doing festivals the emphasis was on getting them technically right. But we now know how to put on events like that. And if you’ve got 10,000 people in a field they’ll think ‘what can I do now?’.

“A lot of festivals are better organised now and can handle that extra layer of sophistication, so it’s good to offer something different “There are a lot of moving parts – and you’ve really got to care about it to make it work – especially when they are in your back garden.

“Fortunately festivals don’t make as much mess as cows!”