Towersey festival forced to ‘bow out’ after 60 years

Organisers of a music festival that has been running for the past 60 years have announced that this year’s event will be their last.

The family behind Towersey Festival, which started in Oxfordshire, said they have to “bow out after this year”.

They cited “economic challenges” caused by the Covid-19 pandemic as one of the reasons for their decision.

The independent event founded by Denis Manners MBE in 1965, five years before Glastonbury, has championed roots and folk music.

The festival was first held in the village of Towersey but moved to nearby Thame in 2015 and finally settled at the Claydon Estate in Buckinghamshire in 2020.

Organisers have promised that the 60th anniversary of the four-day festival, set to take place from the 23 August, will still go ahead.

Festival co-director’s Mary Hodson and Joe Heap, two of Mr Manners’ grandchildren, announced the festival’s end with the “heaviest of hearts”.

They said: “We have worked incredibly hard over the last few years to try to bring Towersey back to financial stability.

“The pandemic wiped all our back up and changed the face of festivals across the industry.

“Coming back from this and the economic challenges we’ve all felt since then has been all but impossible.

“Without investment partnerships or a fundamental change to the character of the festival, we have concluded that we will have to bow out after this year.”

This year’s event will look back at the festival’s history with a 1965 dance party and and an “in conversation” gathering with some of those festival-goers that were there at the beginning.

The pair added: “We believe festivals like Towersey are crucial for creating better communities and societies and for finding hope and humanity in an otherwise challenging world.

“We will continue to fight, and endeavour to find a way of continuing to realise the hopes and dreams of our grandparents and founders, but it will not be through Towersey Festival anymore.”

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