IT WAS one of the most emotional farewells of the summer.

After 14 years, and appearances by some of the world’s biggest stars, Cornbury Music Festival bowed out in July – going out with a bang, with a spectacular firework display lighting up the site at Great Tew, near Chipping Norton.

Now, barely three months after putting the brakes on the event, its director Hugh Phillimore has said it will be back – returning next summer for more of the same.

Mr Phillimore has revealed that he has bowed to pressure from well-wishers and fans of the festival and decided to continue after all – returning for the 15th instalment from July 13-15, 2018.

He said: “It was lovely, the sun shone and everyone had a great time and I thought that was that.

“But many people have sent messages since July. Our audience love the event and want it to keep going. Literally hundreds of our supporters, together with bands, agents, managers, sponsors and media partners have told me I couldn’t let such a jewel in the festival calender end. Even my partners said I was making a mistake."

He added: “The message that finally convinced me, simply pointed out that the festival was not mine but belonged to the audience who have supported the event over the years.

“I’ve been truly taken aback by the depth of feeling for this event and I feel that I should keep Cornbury going as a worthwhile community event because it seems to spread quite a lot of joy.”

He insisted there was no financial or accounting motivation in ending the event only to restart it, saying: "There has been no creative accounting going on. The last festival was profitable and I have paid off a lot of the debt, though it has cost me my life savings. But it is a lovely thing.

"The truth is, it had been a scary ride. I had been losing a lot of money and I had genuinely had enough. I used to wake up and be physically sick from May onwards. But people said it was the highlight of their year and said I can't give up on it. Then I wondered if I had made a big mistake.

"It doesn't matter if it doesn't make much money. As long it makes a small profit – even if just a fiver – I'll be happy.

"It is a little embarrassing, but I was not making the whole thing up. It was over. I closed the office and made the staff redundant. Now I am like a lemming going back into it."

Cornbury Festival’s Fabulous Finale was a huge success with sell-out crowds enjoying a superb sunny weekend in the company of Bryan Adams, Jools Holland and the Kaiser Chiefs.

The festival has previously hosted such stars as Paul Simon, Van Morrison, Robert Plant, Blondie, Bryan Ferry, Tom Jones, Elvis Costello and Martha Reeves. It has also seen sets by a number of musical legends no longer with us, such as Amy Winehouse, Joe Cocker and Humphrey Lyttleton.

The festival, which began life at Cornbury Park, near Charlbury, has repeatedly struggled to turn a profit. In its second year it lost £500,000, and Mr Phillimore had to put his house up for sale. He has regularly recorded a thumping losses after the event, the festival only going into the black on its 10th anniversary in 2013 and this year’s finale.

In 2010 festival management company Cornbury Music Festival Ltd, went into liquidation, owing debts to entertainers (Paul Simon was owed a reported £33,000). It subsequently moved from Cornbury to Great Tew.

Local schools and charities have benefitted from fundraising at Cornbury. They include Banbury-based Dogs For Good.

It’s director Lucy Vincent said: “We’ve had an amazing response from the many festival-goers at Cornbury and are very excited that we can do it all again 2018.”

Mr Phillimore said more details of next year’s event would follow shortly.