Lechlade is a bustling market town on the southern edge of the Cotswolds, sitting within Gloucestershire and at the intersection of Wiltshire and Oxfordshire. Its idyllic location on the banks of the river Thames makes it both a popular tourist destination and a sought after place to live.
Many know Lechlade as the starting point for David Walliams’ swim for Sport Relief in 2012 and you may have seen the cameras sweep down the Thames from Lechlade in the opening ceremony of the Olympics.
Lechlade has been a market town since the 13th century and played an important part in the Cotswold Wool trade, positioned on the Thames with easy access to London.
The town’s chief function was as a staging post for goods and passenger traffic. By the 17th century, cheese was shipped down the river from Lechlade and when the Thames and Severn canal was opened, the inhabitants traded in coal. Late 19th century visitors found it attractive for fishing and boating.
Today Lechlade boasts a thriving community of 3000 residents, is home to a number of prominent Cotswolds businesses and is famous for its trout fishing and Christmas Shop.
The Lechlade Festival was born out of a discussion in the Crown Inn between a number of enthusiastic and like minded locals who had a love of music and of Lechlade.
When the Cotswold Water Park Society took over the management of Riverside Park in 2009 they identified the area as an ideal event location.
Local resident and businessowner and event professional Jennie Turner-Maskell (was Rainsford) and local resident and experienced event manager Fiona Marsh presented the Water Park Society with a proposal to hold a two day music festival on the land, promoting up and comingl talent and offering a great family day out.
The intention was to develop Lechlade Festival into a vibrant, family focused, affordable and fun weekend for all. A further aim is to create a scholarship fund to enable a local young person to benefit from music education. Lechlade Festival is a not-for-profit organisation, supported by local businesses, sponsorshop and a huge amount of help from amazing volunteeers!
2011 saw the delivery of the first event which was enthusiastically welcomed and supported by the local community. Despite a touch of windy May weather, the Festival was a great success and over 1600 people enjoyed a weekend of unbeatable live music and family entertainment.
2012 was a scorcher with one of the hottest (rare) weekends of the year! New attractions included onsite camping, a Burlesque revue, a bigger funfair, additional bar outlet and belly dancing workshop. A great time was had by all!
New for 2013 were free workshops, a mini food village and more of the same fantastic live music, starting on Friday 24th May. Kids 16 & under went free and enjoyed a programme of free workshops all weekend. The popular Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue was a hit yet again and packed out the Halfpenny Tent. The wind and rain rattled a few tents on Friday afternoon but soon calmed and we were treated to another glorious weekend of sunshine.
2014 saw the introduction of a 3rd stage in the impressive Tipi tents. We enjoyed music from over 90 bands and also from DJs in the new Dance tent. Wychwood Brewery hosted the real ale bar and we welcomed back the popular Hogan’s Cider. Missy Malone brought her fabulous Burlesque Revue back for a 3rd year and wowed the crowds with a mixture of burlesque and cabaret. The torrential rain presented a few challenges but the true festival troopers didn’t let it spoil the fun!
2015 What a year! The legendary Status Quo headlined, along with the dynamic Dr and the Medics who whooped the crowd into a partying frenzy. Friday night tribute acts Bon Giovi and Whole Lotta Led followed the incredible Inflatables who got the party started. Once again over 60 bands and performers took to 3 stages for an incredible festival. We’ve been overwhelmed by fantastic feedback – see you all in 2016!
2016 Well we thought we couldn’t top last year but 2016 turned into the best year yet! The sun shone, the river sparkled, the line up was outstanding and the festival-goers enjoyed a wonderful weekend of fun in the sun. The Proclaimers headlined on Saturday night and the field rocked out to Doctor and the Medics and The Hair Rock Experience on Friday. Hellsinki-V got the place jumping on Sunday night and The Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue saw the beer tent packed out once again.
2017 What a cracker! The weather was kind to us yet again (you have no idea how much praying to the weather gods we do!) and almost 6,000 festival goers enjoyed the perfect festival weekend. Friday night kicked off with a tribute band party night with Modraphenia, ABBA Arrival and Not The Rolling Stones getting the party started. Saturday night saw the return of the ever popular Missy Malone & Friends Burlesque Revue followed by The Lambrettas. Sunday night topped off a brilliant weekend with Dr. Feelgood, The Hoosiers and That 80s Rock Show. Our new Comedy Tent went down a storm and will return in 2018.
2018 The best yet! We welcomed over 6,500 festival goers to a fabulous sunny weekend. Friday night saw tribute bands Flash – A Tribute to Queen, followed by the awesome Whole Lotta Led, setting the tone for a rocking weekend. The new box office opening times eliminated last year’s queues and our new busking stage set the atmosphere straight from the gate. New rides and activities packed out the arena whilst over 100 bands and performers entertained happy crowds. Festival favourites Doctor & The Medics returned to party on Saturday night, straight after The Missy Malone and Friends Burlesque Revue which once again packed the bar tent to the rafters. Sunday night brought the best festival yet to a close with iconic band From The Jam followed by the nicest boys in the business, Scouting for Girls.
2019 – A corker of a festival! We were once again blessed with the weather and apart from a short, sharp shower, over 7,000 festival goers basked in the sun for 3 amazing days. Friday night tribute acts Faux Fighters, Tasha Leaper as Madonna and The Marley Experience got the party started, with the much loved 80s Rock Show rocking the crowd on Saturday night. The fabulous music just kept coming with our best ever line up of emerging bands and performers – over 100 took to 5 stages. The festival closed with 90s brit boys The Feeling bringing the house down on yet another successful year. Thank you to everyone who came and enjoyed 3 amazing days!
2020 – The year that never was. The Coronavirus pandemic hit the planet and sadly took away not only our ability to meet up and spend time with friends, but also to enjoy live music at a physical event. Thank you to everyone who joined in and supported our virtual weekender. 2021 – Sadly also postponed due to the pandemic. Boy, are we ready for a party in 2022!
2022 – We were ALL glad to be back! A stupendous year with glorious weather enjoyed by record numbers. We are eternally grateful to our amazingly loyal festival goers, 60% of whom had rolled over tickets from 2020 and again from 2021 – we thank you! Friday night saw tribute acts Guns or Roses and JK as Robbie Williams take to the Renishaw Main Stage; The Boomtown Rats headlined on Sunday evening, whilst Pixie Lott stepped in at the very last moment to headline Saturday night, replacing Alexandra Burke who was heavily pregnant and baby immiment! The festival expaneded into a small 2nd arena featuring a cabaret stage, craft tent and activities. Another cracking weekend, with wonderful feedback from perfomers, festival goers, volunteers and traders – huge thanks to the fantastic festival team!