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Feastival has Samba-feel as crowds pack star’s farm
Buy this photo » Jamie Oliver and Alex James on stage with the Cuban Brothers
THE self-styled Cotswolds Supergroup helped to round off Oxfordshire’s festival season in Samba-style at Alex James and Jamie Oliver’s Big Feastival.
The Blur bassist and the celebrity chef – and part-time drummer – joined the eccentric Latin group the Cuban Brothers on stage yesterday at the food and music festival on Mr James’ farm in Kingham.
The festival, in its second year under the current promotions team, enjoyed glorious weather and packed crowds for its mix of bands, singers, cooking demonstrations, childrens’ activities and crafts.
Take That star Mark Owen, hip hop group Rizzle Kicks, soul singer Lianne La Havas, dance duo Basement Jaxx, singer-songwriter KT Tunstall and DJ Norman Jay provided the musical highlights during the festival, which opened on Friday and closed last night by The Feeling.
On the cooking front, TV chefs Rachel Khoo of The Little Paris Kitchen and Valentine Warner were joined by Michelin-starred Tom Kitchin and Jamie’s mentor Gennaro Contaldo and others to share a few recipe tips, while children’s entertainer Justin Fletcher of CBeebies got things underway on the main stage yesterday.
Mr Oliver said: “It’s all about family, music and food. It’s an eccentric festival and quite geeky, but it’s about looking after the parents and the kids.”
Father-of-five Mr James added: “It’s one of my highlights of the year. My kids go absolutely crackers for it.
“It’s a hell of a lot of work but it’s a dream come true, really. Jamie and I went down on Friday night and saw all the lights and the dads dancing with their children on their shoulders and it almost moved me to tears.”
Mark Owen, who played a set mixed with Take That and solo material, said: “It’s great because I’ve known Jamie and Alex for a few years – well, I’ve eaten in plenty of Jamie’s restaurants and watched Alex’s band a few times.”
Asked if he could return to a future Feastival with the rest of Take That, he said: “You never know. They’re all fans of good food, so why not?”
Giles Hill, 40, from Finstock, enjoyed a roaring trade over the weekend with his Paelleria, serving up about 2,000 portions of the Spanish dish.
He said: “We were here last year and I would say it seems about 25 per cent bigger this time.”
Also doing a good trade was Oxford’s Big Bang. The restaurant was selling its speciality sausages for foodies to cook on the barbecues provided on site or to take home.
Stall worker Ben Ashton, 15, said: “We’ve had a pretty good response. We’ve sold out of guinea fowl and ginger.”
Lara, 33, and Tony Reynolds, 39, brought their children Ewan, six, and Amalie, three, from Basingstoke for the weekend.
Mrs Reynolds said: “Basement Jaxx and Norman Jay were great.”
Saturday was a sell-out, while figures for Sunday were unavailable at the time of going to press, but organisers had expected to attract about 20,000 visitors.
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