ALEX James is getting excited. The Blur bassist and celebrated hedonist is braced for what he says is his favourite event of the year.

On Friday, tens of thousands of people will descend on the rock star’s farm at Kingham, near Chipping Norton, for the start of his festival of music and food – the appropriately-titled Big Feastival.

“It comes around so quickly!” says the Brit Pop legend and celebrity fromagier, as we chat during a break in last minute preparations. “And there is so much to do. Six years ago, the plan was a single sheet of paper – this year it’s a telephone directory.

“It’s the same formula though – and it’s a winning formula, though every year we ‘up the ante’.”

At the heart of that formula, he says, is a celebration of music, food and family. And there is no skimping on any of it. Music comes courtesy of a clutch of big names designed to appeal to all ages, and covering a wide variety of styles. There’s Madness for those whose tastes were forged at school discos in the 1980s, Faithless for die-hard ravers, De La Soul for hip-hop freaks, The Cribs for indie-lovers, Dodgy for Brit-pop enthusiasts, The Skatelites for reggae listeners and Louisa Johnson and Olly Murs for the X Factor generation.

There is a Hacienda Classics set of house anthems played by a classical orchestra accompanied by New Order’s Peter Hook and Happy Mondays; Embrace, Gentlemen’s Dub Club, Norman J, The Cuban Brothers, Cecil, Frances, Betsy, Willy & The Bandits and, in a major coup, singer Ella Eyre – and much more besides.

Culinary talent, meanwhile, includes seafood doyen and one-time resident of the Oxfordshire Cotswolds, Rick Stein and his son Jack; Italian icons Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo; food writer and chef Gizzi Erskine, Melissa Helmsley of Helmsley + Helmsley Sophie Michell (the youngest female executive chef at London’s chic Belgraves Hotel); BBC Food Personality of The Year Cyrus Todiwala; Spanish chef Jose Pizarro; Olia Hercules; Mark Hix; Romy Gill; Robin Gill; Neil Rankin; Tom Hunt; Great British Bake Off winner Candice Brown; bakers Tom and Henry Herbert, DJ BQ (aka Christian Stevenson); Laura Jackson and Alice Levine; former AA Chef of the Year Nathan Outlaw and many others.

Joining them is Alex’s friend and former Big Feastival co-host Jamie Oliver – who this year takes a bit of a back seat to show off his talents and principally, to enjoy himself.

“For this weekend there will be almost as many Michelin stars on the farm as in London,” laughs Alex. “A lot of chefs base their holidays around us.

“As for Jamie, I couldn’t possibly say what he’ll be doing. He did have a good time last year though!”

Alex prides himself on offering new attractions each year – this time his project has been a big fire pit, which, in true Big Feastival style, will be used to roast meat – and to keep revellers warm after dark.

“We all love a nice warm fire,” he says, “And I don’t think any dad can help himself when it comes to a barbecue.”

He goes on: “We have more going on this year than ever – with more stages and features and a bigger area to do it all in. It’s not going to be huge though; it’s still a boutique festival.”

And it continues to appeal to all – including those who wouldn’t normally dream of going to a music festival.

“Festivals have become part of the Great British summertime,” he says. “When we started doing festivals and I told my mum I was going to Glastonbury she looked aghast. They are a proper cultural phenomenon.”

And, he says, the Feastival is a big part of his family’s calendar – particularly for his children Galileo, Geronimo, Artemis, Beatrix and Sable.

“I’ve got five children, six cheeses and seven albums, so it’s a big undertaking,” he says. “But we are filling the festival with all the things we care about – and I seem to have a phenomenal amount of energy for dragging it over the line.

“When Blur stopped touring I wondered how I’d fill the gaping hole of not playing to people every night – and doing a festival really hits the spot. Now we can’t stop its inexorable rise.”

A James family highlight will be his 13-year-old son Geronimo’s now traditional DJ set in Alex’s Cheese Hub venue.

“He’ll be throwing out bangers in the Cheese Hub again,” says Alex. “Last year I used up all my big tunes and he took over and played everything, even dropping Blur and The Beatles!”

One of the Feastival’s strengths is its accessibility. “We have a railway station at the end of the drive,” he smiles. “When we came out to look at the farm we saw the station, and asked ‘where does the train go?’When we heard it went to Oxford and London, I knew it could work. That was a big deciding factor!”

Now it’s just a case of sitting back and waiting for the crowds to arrive.

“This is about all the things I care about,” he says. “The things I am passionate about. I literally jump out of bed in the morning and think ‘Yeah!’”