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Blur - Kingham, Oxfordshire, 31/8/2013...1/9/2013

  by Nick Dent-Robinson

published: 31 / 8 / 2013

Blur - Kingham, Oxfordshire, 31/8/2013...1/9/2013


Nick Dent-Robinson is impressed by the Big Feastival, the annual food and music event staged by Jamie Oliver and Blur bassist Alex James at James's farm in Oxfordshire and which this year saw sets by Basement Jaxx, the Feeling, Rizzle Kicks, Dodgy and KT Tunstall

This year's Big Feastival – the annual food and music event staged by Jamie Oliver and Blur bassist Alex James at Alex's scenic Cotswolds farm near the village of Kingham, Oxfordshire – was bigger and better than ever. It aims to present the best in British cooking and music. The 20,000 visitors were treated to an array of cookery demos – you could even buy your own fresh trout and cook it in a barbecue pit! - as well as funfair rides, beer tents, posh frock stalls for mums and an imaginative special kids zone where Cbeebies star Mr Tumble - Justin Fletcher (son of song-writing legend Guy Fletcher) - did his own inimitable set to rapturous applause. But all this al fresco fun for families is cleverly combined with top music from a variety of bands. This year there were Basement Jaxx, the Feeling, Rizzle Kicks, 90's band Dodgy, KT Tunstall, Take That's Mark Owen, rhythm and blues rockers the Milk as well as Jordan Stephens and Harley Alexander playing a lively set from their first album 'Stereo Typical'. For me KT Tunstall and the Feeling were probably the highlights, both achieving memorable performances. The Big Feastival is growing fast yet so far it still retains an intimate atmosphere. Alex James is keen that the event should not become too big or corporate. “I love filling this place with wonderful food, music and family stuff for the kids,” Alex says. “I aim to create a perfect weekend and we have been very lucky with the weather. It is a gentle festival and all the local people are on side with it, too - which means a lot to me. I have worked harder at arranging this event than I ever have at anything - but when you see how much people here enjoy themselves, it is definitely worth it.” Alex's reunion back in 2008 with 90's band Blur after a five year separation, saw them hit the big time again with successful performances in Hyde Park, at Glastonbury and at the closing of the London Olympics. The band were at Berlin's biggest music festival this year, the week after the Big Feastival. “I still enjoy performing with Blur,” says Alex. “But after so many years of tearing all over the world with the band, my happiest times now are here with Claire (Alex's wife, film producer Claire Neate) and our five children Geronimo, Artemis, Galileo, Sable and Beatrix. It has been a challenge making my farm a commercial success and hosting the festival is the icing on the cake, really.”

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Blur - Kingham, Oxfordshire, 31/8/2013...1/9/2013

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