Cornbury Festival packs a comedy tent full of talent

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The Independent Culture

Dubbed one of the UK's 'cleanest, cosiest' boutique festivals, The Cornbury Festival will kick off its eighth year next month in its new Oxfordshire location in Tew. The eclectic, family-oriented, line-up features James Blunt, Cyndi Lauper, Status Quo, Eliza Doolittle and the recently reformed Faces, with original members Ronnie Wood, Kenney Jones and Ian McLagan, and guest vocalist Mick Hucknall.

But where there are festival tunes to be heard there are now as many laughs to be had, and Cornbury is no exception in packing a comedy tent full of talent that this year will include Isy Suttie (Dobbie from Peep Show) and former Edinburgh Comedy Award winner Brendon Burns (when it was called the if.comedy award). Appropriately for a young festival, much of the comedy talent on offer will come from a generation of rising stars who have just got to grips with the outdoor experience.

New boy Romesh Ranganathan is sweating in advance over that great secret of comedy – timing. "Mates of mine that have done festivals tell me that you have to adjust your timing. The laughs in a club with a couple of hundred people hit you immediately but at a festival you do a gag and wait while the laugh slowly makes its way across the crowd. That's what I've been told – I could be the victim of a massive stitch up."

Meanwhile, Rob Beckett, who has a wodge of new-act competition wins and final placings under his belt from the last two years, has learnt that with outdoor crowds you can't be too prescriptive about how to approach the event: "I find it's best to not plan anything in particular as you can go on stage armed with jokes and then all of a sudden a drunk lunatic will stumble into the comedy tent dressed as a lion, eating Hobnobs and I know I will want to talk to him instantly."

The Absolute Radio Comedy Tent is at Cornbury Festival, media partner The Independent, from 1-3 July ( www.cornburyfestival.com)

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