First Night: Wychwood Festival, Witney, Oxfordshire

Wychwood kicks off in breezy style
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The Independent Culture

Now in its seventh year, the Wychwood Festival is the ideal opener to Britain's crowded festival season.

Held at the Cheltenham Racecourse, with the green Gloucestershire hills rolling in the distance, the three-day event kicked off in style last night with two of Britain's best-loved groups of the nineties, Cornershop and the Charlatans, reprising their indie disco hits – Brimful of Asha, as infectious as ever, and Weirdo, as psyched out as ever, respectively.

Opening the bijou bill on The Independent stage, the very appropriately named Travelling Band, from Manchester, quickly showed why they are the closest equivalent to the legendary Band the UK has today, and I don't just mean visually (although the beards and checked shirts do help). It's all there in their rich, heady mix: Americana-tinged melodies, keening harmonies, haunting harmonica, and the winning partnership of the two frontmen, Jo Dudderidge and Adam Gorman.

The Travelling Band has played Wychwood before and it's heartening to see them graduate to the main stage, especially on the week their excellent second album, Screaming Is Something, is released via a deal with Cooking Vinyl. They catch the breezy, upbeat mood with One Dime Blues and the album and set closer On The Rails.

With headliners of the calibre of The Waterboys, the Bluetones, Eddi Reader, Ian Anderson of Jethro Tull and Transglobal Underground to look forward to over the weekend, Wychwood deserves its prime spot in the calendar of the UK's outdoor events.

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