CELEBRITIES, musicians, chefs and 20,000 revellers descended on a West Oxfordshire farm for three days of fun, food and music at The Big Feastival.

The festival, held on Blur rock star Alex James’s farm in Kingham, near Chipping Norton, was only the second big event of its kind to take place in the county since the start of the pandemic – and one of only a few music festivals to have gone ahead in the country.

It featured headline sets by disco icon Nile Rodgers and Chic, DJ Sigala and singer-songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man – who brought the festival to a glorious close last night.

There were also shows by Reef, Norman Jay, The Cuban Brothers, Max & Harvey, Zara Larsson, Tom Walker, All Saints, Maisie Peters and Emily Burns, and Kawala.

Among the famous faces enjoying the fun were Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead star Simon Pegg, model and activist Katie Piper, Eastenders star Tamzin Outhwaite model and presenter Alexa Chung, fitness guru Joe Wicks, and Kaleb Cooper, the Chipping Norton farmer who shot to fame through appearing on Jeremy Clarkson’s show Clarkson’s Farm.

Witney Gazette: The Big Feastival 2021!
Picture by Ed Nix

Right at the front of the stage for All Saints' show yesterday was former Hear’Say singer and TV presenter Myleene Klass, who also took time out to read stories to children in the kids area. She said: “It’s a great festival and we’ve had a lovely time.”

The Feastival is as much about food as music, and the culinary line-up was equally impressive, with demonstrations from chefs Nathan Outlaw, Tom Brown, Mark Hix, Ching He Huang, Saturday Kitchen’s Matt Tebbutt, James Knappett, Steven Lamb and Romy Gill.

Unusual spectacles included a rousing DJ set by children's TV stars Dick and Dom, and a kebab-making session by rapper Professor Green and TV chef Gizzi Erksine whop teamed up for an unlikely double act called the Giz ‘n’ Greens show.

In another perfect cross-over between food and music, Chic's drummer Ralph Rolle took to the Big Kitchen stage to share his top food tips and his experiences as chef-patron of the Southern-influenced New York Soul Snacks Café.

Witney Gazette: The Big Feastival 2021!
Picture by Ed Nix

Host Alex James, who since moving to Oxfordshire has established a gastronomic reputation as a celebrity cheesemaker, joined the fun and presented his own club venue called The Cheese Hub, serving up classic pop and rock and dairy delights. He was particularly excited with his latest development – the ‘steakation’ sandwich, a combination of steak and his Blue Monday cheese. He said: “It has been the best weekend ever – and Chic were absolutely amazing. In fact they were so good I couldn’t sleep last night after their set. I think that was the best show I’ve ever seen.”

He added: This was our 10th birthday party, so there were lots of reasons to celebrate. And it’s the end of summer with everything going back to normal - so was a great last chance to party.”

The Covid-secure event saw revellers only allowed in with proof of a double jab or negative test result.

Witney Gazette: Big Feastival. Tim Hughes

Reef frontman Gary Stringer said it was a relief to see festivals return after two years of cancellations.

“People have been cooped up and want to get out and want to let their hair down,” he said. “And as long as they don’t lick each other’s faces, they’re going to be safe and have a good time!”