Nature centre hosts its first eco-friendly music festival

From left, festival organisers Joe Jennings, Lauren Dean, Rachel Ruscombe-King and Nicholas O’Brien

From left, festival organisers Joe Jennings, Lauren Dean, Rachel Ruscombe-King and Nicholas O’Brien Buy this photo

First published in News thisisoxfordshire: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering North Oxford, Jericho and Summertown. Call me on 01865 425498

A POPULAR nature centre near Oxford will be hosting a music festival this summer.

The Hill End Centre, off Eynsham Road between Botley and Farmoor, will host its first Green-themed Tandem Festival from June 20 to 22.

Organisers said it will combine acoustic performances from European folk, jazz and afro beat musicians with green workshops and talks.

The event will mark the end of Low Carbon Oxford Week, starting on June 14, and is partnered with grow-your-own food group Abundance Oxford and vegetable co-op Cultivate Oxford.

Nicholas O’Brien, who is one of the festival organisers, said he wanted visitors to “rediscover acoustic music”.

He said: “I have always wanted to organise a music festival and I grew up between the UK, France and Italy, so that is where my European influences come from. At Tandem, the acoustic sets will bring people closer to the performers.

“It encourages you to listen more, whereas at a lot of bigger concerts everything is so loud that you can’t connect with the artists.”

The festival will, however, have one amplified set, “to bring people together”, he said.

That show will take place from 6pm to midnight on the Friday; 8pm to 2am on the Saturday and from 11am to midnight on the Sunday.

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Few acts are confirmed at this stage but Mr O’Brien said there would be bands from the UK, France and the Netherlands taking part and Dutch company Nightscapes Productions will be building stages.

Funding for the festival is coming from ticket sales, green grants and “private investors”.

The festival is currently seeking the support of eco-friendly cosmetics producer Lush.

Mr O’Brien organised a crowdfunding campaign – where cash is sought from donors across the internet – which raised £5,000 of the £35,000 needed.

He said the event is costing a lot less than most music festivals – mainly thanks to the lack of amplified performances.

But he added: “The main problem with an eco-festival is how do you get people to it in a way that is environmentally friendly?”

The answer, he said, is to encourage festival-goers to arrive at Hill End by bicycle, even from locations on the European mainland like Paris.

He added: “We will have bike rides from various locations to come and join us at the festival.

“That includes from Cambridge, London, Amsterdam and Paris.”

He said: “Music is a great way to bring people together and we want this festival to span the generations.

“That’s what we’re aiming for with Tandem.”

Three-day tickets cost £45. See tandemfestival.com

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