Camp Soul Festival

Venue: Grove Farms, South Oxfordshire

Date: 26th/ 27th August 2017

By Mark Devlin | 28 August 2017

Music-heads have no shortage of event options over the August Bank Holiday. But while Notting Hill Carnival, Reading and Leeds and Creamfields cater for the reggae, urban, indie, rock and EDM crowds respectively, it’s good to see quality soul, funk and disco getting some strong representation from the Camp Soul Weekender.

Taking place in a charming rural setting 20 miles or so south of Oxford, this shindig brings together punters of a certain generation (and their families,) to get down to two days and nights of DJ and live music action. (And the Camp bit doesn’t mean camp of the Alan Carr variety, I’m happy to confirm; this doubles as a camping event, with many attendees combining their partying with a long weekend of getting back to nature. Staggering back to a tent is so much easier after a heavy night than a taxi back to a hotel.)

In traditional Weekender style, the proceedings took place across three arenas. Besides the Main Stage, which hosted performances from this year’s live acts - The Brit Funk Association, B-Funkt and Kenni Stevens - DJs demonstrated their connoisseur credentials in the cosy A-Frame shack, and in the Marquee. On the bill across all three was an eclectic array of spinners, all known for their heritage in the soulful groove scene. Lesser-known names rubbed shoulders with lauded veterans such as Sean French, Chris Brown, Andy Coles, Ginger Tony, Paul Mac and Paul Morrissey.

Sunday night’s main stage saw a late set from Jeff Young, fondly-remembered as the host of Radio 1’s Big Beat dance show back in the late 80s, (and still sounding exactly the same on the mic,) but a soulful connoisseur even before that, while final curtain-call duties went to Tony Fernandez who had the A-Frame all to himself for his 12-1am set, following the closure of the other two arenas.

Booking will soon be open for the August 2018 event. All information at www.campsoulfestival.com

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