Last weekend my family and I headed down to Cirencester town centre for their annual Phoenix festival. A two day music festival which is the only completely free festival based in the Cotswolds.
The Phoenix Festival is most famous for showcasing local bands and tribute acts, and this year was no different with both a ‘Rolling Stones’ and ‘Tina Turner’ tribute performing this year.
Although it’s a free festival, it is run solely by volunteers and relies on donations, which you can do so via charity buckets, buying festival merchandise (such as programmes) or using their contactless card machines. Or you can arrange to sponsor the event.
Along with the musical acts the Phoenix festival also has various stalls, charity booths and local businesses advertising their services.
One of the businesses I chatted with this year was Simply All Occassions who were showcasing two VW campervans, which are available for any kind of event from birthdays to weddings. Unfortunately I’ve already had my “big birthday” for a while, but as my mum said there’s always my 40th. 😅 They were kind enough to let me have a sit in the black one though – the seats were very comfy.
As a family event there are a few fairground rides and activities for children such as circustry. We saw many families having picnics on the grass during the day time acts, but there are also a few food stalls, and a bar tent for us adults.
The bar tent sold a range of cider, the fruity one smelled delicious, and Corinium Brewery brought along a selection of ales. My dad’s favourite was their “Ale Ceaser”.
A lot of the bands I saw performing had a rockier vibe, which I loved, and played covers of some of my favourite rock, punk and indie songs.
My favourite bands this year were The Useless Eaters,
Champagne Charlie and Pavo – The Human Jukebox . Along with both headline acts “The Rolling Clones” and “Totally Tina”.
The Useless Eaters describe themselves as a “dirty filthy punk” band who cover classics from the British and American punk era. Featuring songs from bands such as The Clash, The Ramones and The Sex Pistols, in fact they did a perfect cover of The Sex Pistols ‘Pretty Vacant’.
Champagne Charlie are a band I’ve seen a couple of times before (at one of my local pubs), but this was my first time seeing them in front of a large crowd. They played a good mix of pop, rock and party songs, along with a medley of movie theme tunes, which was probably my favourite part of their set. I was very impressed by the band, especially their drummer. He was extremely talented and treated us all to a drum solo.
Pavo (the Human Jukebox), is actually a family friend and played for us at my 30th birthday party, so I may be a little biased here! He was the warm-up act for Saturday headliners ‘The Rolling Clones’ and really got the crowd involved. Everyone was singing along and dancing.
He played a good mix of tracks including Robbie Williams’ Angels which was dedicated to the late Michael Sleggs (from the TV show ‘This Country’).
The Rolling Clones took to the stage Saturday night and entertained us all with some classic ‘Stones hits. I was surprised how many I actually knew! My family, friends and I were happily singing along and having a bit of a dance.
Although I’m not a huge fan of The Rolling Stones, this tribute act was flawless and really embodied the band.
My mum is a big Tina Turner fan so we couldn’t help ourselves but stand front and centre for Sunday’s headliner ‘Totally Tina’.
She was breathtaking. Really knew how to work a crowd and her backing dancers and band just added to the atmosphere.
Again, I was surprised by how many of her songs I actually knew(!), and quite happily sung along. I even did the twist and the mash potatoe. lol.
She finished the show with Simply the Best which was the perfect way to end the weekend.
The Phoenix Festival 2020 has already been announced for next August bank holiday weekend. I’m excited to see what bands they bring next year.
Do you enjoy local music festivals? Is this something you’d be interested in going to next year.