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Get the low down on Bath’s secret music festival

By Nancy Connolly, July 14, 2016 – Read the full article

There is nothing 'cock and bull' about the fact a festival of live music and amazing street food will be taking place at a secret location near Bath this month.It is not a rave, it is a family three day event, it has the world's biggest egg throwing competition, it is called the Cock and Bull festival and it is coming to a field near you. Nancy Connolly gets to the bottom of the story.

A very special festival will be taking place at a secret location not far from Bath on the weekend of July 22-24.The Cock and Bull Festival, now in its sixth year, is a weekend of delicious home cooked local food, smashing music (over 40 bands and DJs across four stages), interesting debates, talks and workshops, scrumptious local ales and ciders, plus the Farmers Olympics including the largest egg throwing competition any festival has seen.

The festival is run by local charity Jamie's Farm, which invites young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to spend a week at their beautiful working farm near Box. The festival is really popular, especially among families, most of whom camp nearby and make it a real weekend's enjoyment.

What kind of music will there be at the Cock and Bull festival?

The festival will feature music from top favourites including the ever popular Beans on Toast, with his wonderfully irreverent take on modern life, a New Orleans brass band, an all female choir from London and lots of funk, soul and jazz music. Bands featured include:

Sheelanagig: One of the most popular festival bands, the Balkan gypsy folk band returns to the Cock and Bull by popular demand.

Holly Holden y Su Banda: Tropical soul sound inspired by Cuba & the Caribbean. Soulful melodies, tropical beats.

Gecko: Charming and playful singer-songwriter tackling the big issues such as Grant Mitchell, libraries and guanabara juice.Tell Tale TuskWith their signature three-part vocal harmony, guitars and fiddle, Tell Tale Tusk brings you a beguiling array of folk songs old and new.

Slap Ya Mama Big Band: Bristol favourites led by Screamin Miss Jackson, a UK take on the New Orleans street sound with a mix of country, skiffle, jazz and swing.

What kind of food is on offer?

Cock and Bull is all about the amazing food, most of it sourced from either Jamie's Farm or other local farms in the Bath area.The burger stand is no ordinary burger stand. Made with meats from local farms, there will be all sorts of flavours and varieties.There will also be a falafel stand, and all sorts of delicious street food including rump steak and black eyed beans burritos, Mexican food and a dedicated curry stand should prove popular with regulars. A bar serving local beers and ciders as well as wine and other drinks should also prove popular among thirsty revellers.

Fancy Dress?

The theme this year is Lettuce Turnip The Beat (get it?)Festival goers are being encouraged to dress up as their favourite vegetable, or veggie inspired costumes, especially as events will be taking place on a farm. Nothing is too outrageous, fun is the order of the day and children are being encouraged to get creative and think of all things veggie. Weather permitting it should be a fantastic weekend, just a few miles from Bath.

Operations manager Robert Duffy said: "The Cock and Bull festival is always popular with families, it is great for kids and adults alike."There will be something for everyone, we like to keep it a real family, friendly event."

What is Jamie's Farm?

Jamie's Farm was set up in 2009 by Jamie Feilden and his mum Tish from Bathford near Bath.Jamie, a former teacher, realised the beneficial effects of animals, particularly farm animals, on challenging, inner city and disadvantaged pupils.

As a young trainee teacher he brought some sheep into his school in Croydon, London and realised what a positive effect the experience had on the children. From then on his mission in life became clear, he wanted to create a farm where children from difficult backgrounds could come and look after the animals, a chance to give them some fresh air and a real positive, valued experience.

He found that special farm in Ditteridge, Box and, along with the help of his mum and many, many volunteers, runs his charity which is expanding every year. The benefits to children from difficult backgrounds is well documented, and now Jamie's Farm is opening up in other parts of the country.The farm in Box welcomes children from all over the country to spend a week working with the animals, cooking, cleaning and doing jobs on the farm.

Mr Duffy said: "Some of the children have been excluded from school, some of them come from very difficult backgrounds."They come here, they are given real jobs to do, looking after the animals, cutting logs, we give them real responsibilities."It is a week spent in the fresh air in the beautiful countryside around Box, for some of them it is the first time outside the city, and we don't allow mobile phones or other electrical devices.

"It has a real positive effect on the children, we get great feedback and our office is full of letters and cards thanking us."We like to make the children feel like they are valued, that we care for them and believe in them," said Mr Duffy.

The location for this year's Cock and Bull festival, which will be a few miles from Bath, is kept secret except for ticket holders.Tickets, at £90 for adults and £30 for children over five for the whole weekend can be booked at organisers are keenly looking for help from volunteers over 18 years.

Mr Duffy said: "We need enthusiastic people of any age to volunteer at the festival, that's one shift per day of 4-5 hours and their entrance is free, with a meal provided per shift."For more information visit the website above.There is nothing cock and bull about the Cock and Bull festival, it looks great, it sounds great and if the weather is good it promises to be a real stormer.