THE CHILTERN Hills became home to thousands of nature lovers at Oxfordshire’s most eco-friendly music festival.

Wood Festival has been crossed off as the first major date on the county’s festival calendar, after three days of fun over the weekend in Ipsden near Wallingford.

Musician Robin Bennett, who co-founded the festival with his brother Joe and their respective partners, said: “This year in particular people were extremely relaxed, there was just a real community feel.

“A lot of people come every year but there were certainly quite a few new people this year. People come and feel part of the community straight away, even if they’ve not been here before.

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Robin Bennett with his daughter

“I’ve noticed people are buying their tickets earlier and earlier and getting it on the calendar.

“We’ve been going for over 10 years now so there are lots of children who came here when they were very small, at the beginning, who are coming back as teenagers.”


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The event takes place annually in picturesque Braziers Park, and is the earliest festival of the summer season to entertain Oxfordshire music fans.

Mr Bennett said an estimated 2,000 people attended family-friendly Wood Festival this year, about half of whom were children.

Asked what his highlights were, he said: “We had a great headline set from Tunng on Saturday night, and this is the first year we’ve had an Extinction Rebellion tent, which is very topical.”

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As well as watching musicians on stage, festival-goers could also enjoy workshops on wellbeing, spirituality, arts, crafts, creativity and the natural world, and food and drink by local independent producers.

From thatch-makers creating a thatched four-poster bed to a group hula hooping masterclass, there were plenty of unusual sights to soak in.

Wood Festival prides itself on its eco-friendly credentials - with a wooden stage powered by solar energy, support for local produce, and composting loos, it leaves a smaller carbon footprint than most festivals.

Mr Bennett said: “As well as people seeing the solar panels there were also workshops about ‘are solar panels right for you?’ so it’s quite practical as well.

“Hopefully we are showing people what they can do.”


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Its focus on the environment has earned Wood Festival international acclaim.

In March it won the Circular Festival Award at the International Greener Festival Awards, which followed a national award from the same organisation last year.

Nature-themed workshops included making cord from nettles, woodland den building and making a wormery.

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Mr Bennett said the weather was pleasant throughout the weekend, with sunshine despite an ominous forecast.

He added: “We were quite blessed with the microclimate of Braziers Park - we had five or 10 minutes of rain but [otherwise] we were really lucky with the weather.”

Wood Festival was founded in 2008, and the Bennett brothers also founded Truck Festival in Steventon, though it has since been taken on by new management.