PONCHO-clad crowds clutched umbrellas beneath the clouds as traditional British rain made a poorly-timed comeback.

Downpours were not enough to deter festival-goers at the weekend’s many events in Oxfordshire, however, with revellers dancing in the rain as the heavens opened.

After weeks of unrelenting heat the storm clouds gathered on Saturday, threatening to thwart high spirits at outdoor celebrations, which included Charlbury’s free Riverside Festival.

But festival director Andy Pickard said the first of the event’s two days still brought 4,500 people to Mill Field, where they enjoyed a packed music line-up including Oxford pop collective Candy Says and alternative rock band Zurich.

He said: “We’re hardy festival-goers in Charlbury, we don’t mind a bit of rain.

“On Saturday we had a lot of people in considering the trains were cancelled, as many as last year - it was packed with families.

“We have so many who come back every year, and that’s because of the overall vibe, not because it’s free.

“There are kids running around and parents having picnics and relaxing, surrounded by the river in the lovely countryside. People are happy to just chill.”

He said the wide variety of music was an ‘eye-opener’ for many people, who end up enjoying acts they would have ‘never dreamed of watching’ otherwise.

As well as their pick of more than 40 music acts, people enjoyed crafts, storytelling, pop-up bars and even circus-themed workshops, including unicycle riding and diabolo training.

Mr Pickard said Oxfordshire has a strong festival scene but people appreciate the less commercial, community feel at Riverside.

He added: “This is a grassroots festival and it brings out the hippy in everybody.”

Though he said the weather had seemed to deter some crowds during Sunday daytime, crowds were beginning to ‘pour in’ at about 3pm as the rain relented slightly.

Lashings of rain also failed to foil plans at East Oxford pub the Rusty Bicycle, which was packed on Saturday for its annual summer street party.

A throng of people splashed in puddles as they spilled into Hurst Street and jumped to the beat of live bands, such as London rock ska group Imperial Leisure, who were the secret headliners.

Other events were scuppered by weather, however, including a family fun day in Thame organised by all three emergency services.

Announcing yesterday’s cancellation on social media, Thames Valley Police said the site, Southern Road recreation ground, had become ‘unsafe’ due to the ‘appalling weather conditions’.

Eynshamfest at Eynsham Playing Fields also had to be cancelled yesterday due to weather, according to a tweet by Oxford music act the Social Jam Band.

Indoor events offered warm shelter from the wet and windy weather, such as Cogges Beer and Cider Festival, which took place all weekend inside barns at Cogges Manor Farm near Witney.