Family Festivals Are All The Rage 2009: Accessibility Links

Family festivals are all the rage

Accessibility links In the past five years, Britain has gained a reputation as a country that really knows how to throw a good party.
From the moment the first bluebells appear in the spring, to the golden days of autumn in September, hundreds of festivals are put on each year. But, while most of these events peddle a free-living, free-loving ethos, some of them lack heart. It’s rare, then, to find a true family-run event, and rarer still to find one that genuinely works in harmony with its setting. This is what makes the Bennett family and their festivals so unusual. The eldest son of a family of four siblings, Robin Bennett looks and sounds like a Seventies bluegrass musician, but he’s also got an entrepreneurial spirit. He likes a challenge and has been astute in pre-empting a growing dissatisfaction with huge, corporate festivals. Since 1998, he and his family, including all his siblings and both his parents, a teacher and bookseller, have helped to run the independent music festival Truck near their family home in Steventon, a village near Abingdon in Oxfordshire. In 2007, summer flooding meant that he was forced to postpone the event. Truck fans loyally returned for the rescheduled event later that autumn, but it didn’t pass without drama. Robin’s son, Brynmor, was born six weeks early that very weekend. Inspired by the drama of it all, Robin realised that he wanted to start another festival, in addition to Truck, that would involve his growing young children. Last year, he and his brother Joe put on Wood, a family-orientated festival at Braziers Park in the Chilterns. “I liked Glastonbury, but it’s the New York City of festivals and the size detracts from the experience,” says Robin. “I’d watched the movie Woodstock as a child and wanted to organise something like that, with a few thousand people listening to great music in a field.” Part of the appeal of Truck, and now Wood, is that while Robin and Joe are respected musicians with the pulling power to attract major international music stars, they manage to maintain a village-fete feel to their events. “We wanted great music, but with the friendliness and neighbourliness that’s missing in normal life,” he admits. “The first Truck festival was only a few hundred people. I asked local farmer Alan Binning if I could use a field for a party.” It’s now an important annual event involving the whole village. Alan brought in friends from the local Rotary Club to run a food stall 12 years later, it’s evolved into the Rotary Club’s major fund-raising event of the year, raising more than &pound40,000 for local charities.
“Steventon is a good-sized village with a strong local community and the festival has flourished,” Robin says. “The local brigadier, Nick Thompson, sells sandwiches and the vicar, Rev Colin Patching, runs the tea stall. Our mother helped in the first year, and now runs a 300-strong team of stewards. Chris does the IT stuff, because he’s the youngest and understands computers, and my sister Kate’s a great musician and has played herself.”

Event Location:
Event Date and Time:
Starts at: