MATT OLIVER discovers there’s more than enough to keep the young ones occupied at this year’s Cornbury Festival

This year’s Cornbury Festival has got so much going on in the Children’s Zone, it’s threatening to overshadow the music, with a round-the-clock programme to keep your little ones happy for the whole weekend.

“The Children’s Zone is bigger and better than ever this year,” said Jem Maynard Watts, who is coordinating Cornbury’s kids effort.

“There’s circus skills with professional and international performers, the craft tent which is all about being creative and making a mess, and the performance tent where we’ve got bhangra and Bollywood dancing, all organised into three dedicated areas and a round-the-clock programme.

“We’ve even got glamba dancing, which is like samba but more glamorous, obviously!”

Cornbury has a sterling range of family friendly activities to boot, with fun workshops going on daily where kids can sample the arts and crafts stalls, stop in amazement to watch the roaming entertainers or even visit the fairground.

At the Circus Tent you can learn to juggle, unicycle and plate spin with Circus Kaos, or why not visit the Performance Venue and watch the return of Captain Barnacle in a pirate pantomime?

For those who feel like crafting something, visit the Making Venue and create funky puppets with Puppet Spew who are down from Scotland; make your own imaginative festival hats; or try your hand at an exciting pop-up circus.

The performance tent will also feature a welcome return from Sohan Kailey, bhangra and Bollywood dancer extraordinaire, who will be teaching visitors how to dance to infectious Indian beats.

“Sohan did a show for us two years ago,” Jem said. “He is now back by popular demand, after people kept asking us where he was last year. His workshops are brilliant, fun and engaging.”

The action also continues outdoors, with children invited to make their favourite foods out of clay at the Mad Hatter’s tea party, have their face painted as a lion, tiger, butterfly or superhero, or to join Punch and Judy for some lashings of slapstick puppetry fun.

Festival-goers should keep an eye out for Floggit and Skarper as well, two-down- and-out Victorian characters, as they wheel around their Cabinet of Curiosities, brimming with strange and wonderful objects.

“We’ve also got award-winning street performers Electric Cabaret, from Birmingham, who are great,” says Jem. “And a Creature Encounter, with talking penguins and Georgia the Giraffe, who you can see parading around the festival as well.”

In short, Cornbury Festival is choc-a-bloc with things to do this year, so you can relax and enjoy your weekend, knowing that your little ones are having as good a time as you are.

Cornbury Festival takes place at Great Tew Park from July 5-7.
For information, or to buy tickets, visit or call 0844 5810777.