The Charlbury Riverside Festival is amongst the UK’s largest free festivals (yes, that’s right – free!), hosting around 5,000 festival goers over its two days. It is held on the picturesque banks of the river Evenlode, and has a relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere. As well as two stages of music, there is a designated “kid’s zone”, with fun crafts and face painting, numerous stalls selling world foods and other nick-knacks and not to forget those all important beer tents. The festival is run exculsively by volunteers, so if you’re the community minded sort, you can contact the organisers via the festival’s website to get involved.

Charlbury Riverside will be open for its sixteenth year of running on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th June 2011, with the fun kicking off at noon. The line-up for this year’s event is as yet unannounced, but the festival tends to put on mostly local bands, ranging from acoustic and folk music through to heavier rock bands. Last year’s festival played host to some such local favourites as Borderville, The Prohibition Smokers’ Club, Beard of Zeuss, Undersmile, Von Braun and Huck and the Handsome Fee. As a rule, the main stage tends to be more family oriented, whereas the second stage showcases the heavier bands of the weekend. This fact is unsurprising to some as Tommy Longfellow, of now defunct local sludge legends, Sextodecimo, organises the bands for the second stage.

The village of Charlbury is about 30 minutes outside of Oxford, and is easily accessible by train, with the local station mere moments from the festival site, so you’ve no excuse not to attend! Did I mention, it’s free?