A DAY of glorious sunshine on Saturday was followed by more soggy offerings on Sunday, to make this Wallingford BunkFest a game of two halves.

The early sunshine did, however, make it the biggest yet, with 25,000 people calling in over weekend – a record crowd for the music, beer and dance festival, which was celebrating its 16th year.

While good, there were no big names on the bill, in contrast to the coups of previous years. There was a surprising absence of even some of the best known south Oxfordshire acts. Still, that didn’t seem to bother the music-lovers who largely sipped and jiggled around, or else (when it was dry enough) plonked themselves on the ground and took it all in, while enjoying the fag end of the summer.

Highlights included sets by Rusty Shackle, Le Vent du Nord, Nobodies Birthday and retro-rocking hometown band Carthorse – who helped get the thing under steam on Friday.

Also getting stuck in were Sam Green & the Midnight Heist and Carl Komuro on Friday; Dave Fidler & the Corvettes, The Honkin’ Hep Cats and Kenny Young and the Eggplants on Saturday; and Hope & Social, Jody Wyatt, Cecil and the Ukulele Club of Sonning Common on Sunday.

The best performances, though were by the visiting morris dancers – with Abingdon Traditional Morris turning up with their iconic bull’s head totem, and putting in high energy displays, no doubt fuelled by the fabulous local ale on offer.

Sunday saw British reggae band Talisman closing the festival’s main stage before the traditional lantern procession brought proceedings to a close.

Organisers were quick to thank punters for coming along and sticking it out when the going got bad.

But it is the organisers who really deserve our gratitude. It is hard work putting on a festival – as can be seen by the number who are either closing down or struggling.

BunkFest has grown out of a pub event – starting life in 2002 in a marquee (albeit pretty cool one) and has grown to engulf the entire town for a whole weekend.

It has done this with integrity, while ensuring it appeals to all family members and keeping it free for most events.

That is no mean feat. And that’s why we keep going back – whatever the weather. Bunk-tastic!