Interview: Cheltenham celebrates 11 years of Wychwood Festival

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Liftshare ran a piece last week on the wonderful Wychwood Festival at Cheltenham racecourse in Gloucestershire, and we thought we’d get in touch with organisers to get the inside story of its decade-long history.

This year’s event takes place 28-31 May, and promises a great list of headliners and acts including UB40, Ladysmith Black Mambazo, The proclaimers, Dick and Dom, Craig Charles and Ghostpoet, to name a few.

But it’s not just music, as there are also comedy acts, a vast selection of food and drink, a kid’s literature festival and much more. Check out the festival’s what’s on guide for all the information you need.

The festival is now in its 11th year, and Wychwood’s Stefan Edwards was more than happy to give us some insight into how it all began, where it’s going, and why you should absolutely car share your way there this year.

Take it away Stefan!

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Liftshare: Can you give us some insight into how the Wychwood festival began?

Stefan: This year will be our 11th Wychwood. It’s taken a lot of hard work to make it happen, but we’re really proud to have put on a decade of festival weekends. The challenge in the first year was getting the word out about our new festival. We spent a lot of time and money on marketing! Every one who came had a great time and as the years went on we started to gather a loyal fan base and rely more on word of mouth to spread the message about the festival.

Liftshare: What do you think have been the keys to your success over those 11 years?

Stefan: The key has been to create a festival which people love and want to keep coming back to. Our loyal customers are happy to buy a ticket before we announce any bands as they are confident that we are going to put together a festival they’re going to love. Our music programming has changed a little through the years as we aim to strike a balance between folk, world, indie and other genres. As well as the big names we programme two whole stages with bands from Gloucestershire and nearby counties.

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Liftshare: We like that Wychwood Festival isn’t just about music. How important is it to bring diversity to the table, and can you tell us more about your charity work?

Stefan: We believe that the music is only one part of peoples’ festival experience. We have a programme of over 100 workshops, comedy, poetry, authors, artists & makers, healers & therapists, a Headphone Disco, great food traders and a real ale festival, so there are plenty of new things to try! Our charity partnerships are very important to us as. By supporting these charities we are able to help good causes and the charities can raise awareness at the festival through innovative and fun activities.

Liftshare: You also encourage eco-conscious behaviour at Wychwood, which is great to see as we’re all about green. How do you look to keep waste down each year?

Stefan: We encourage our festival goers to be as green as possible. We have recycling bins on site and encourage people to get to the festival via public transport or car sharing. We also work with Love Your Tent to recycle any tents which are left at the site. Where possible we encourage external suppliers to be as green as possible – for example we insist that caterers use biodegradable packaging.

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Liftshare: Lastly, can you give us some insight into the truly stand-out acts across Wychwood Festival – those who pulled off a show-stopping performance or were a pleasure to work with?

Stefan: My personal all-time favourite were Caravan Palace who we had on the main stage a couple of years ago. I really love their blend of modern electro music and old fashioned swing. We’ve got Electric Swing Circus playing this year who have a similar vibe, so I can’t wait to see them. We are delighted to have The Proclaimers back this year. They played for us a few years ago and were amazing, so we had no hesitation inviting them back this Summer.

Many thanks to Stefan for his great insights into Wychwood Festival, and if you’re heading out to Cheltenham in May, make sure you check out all the cheap lifts being offered there by Liftshare members. Download our new iOS and Android apps to make finding the perfect lift even easier. 

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