GIRL power was much in evidence at the sixth Cornbury Music Festival, held at Cornbury Park, near Charlbury, at the weekend.

Female artistes came to the fore as former Texas lead singer Sharleen Spiteri, with her new backing band, and Chrissie Hynde, leading The Pretenders, rolled back the years to perform two storming sets that had the 10,000-strong crowd rocking to a string of unforgettable hits.

Lesser known artistes Imelda May and Eddi Reader both won a new crop of fans while the two-day event climaxed with a highly polished performance by The Sugababes, who performed in front of a sea of young girls swaying to the music on their fathers’ shoulders.

In between all that, a number of bands that had appeared to have been lost in the mists of time – such as the Magic Numbers, Dodgy and The Lightning Seeds – showed they were still very much alive and kicking.

Cornbury really is the ultimate family festival. There were children running around all over the place, many with painted faces and in fairy costumes, and the lack of policemen is a reflection on just how secure and trouble-free the festival is. Like all good festivals, we had to endure the Saturday night downpour that made headliners Scouting for Girls play a terrific set to a drenched audience, but by Sunday the sun was shining again and all was well with the world.

If you’ve never been to Cornbury before, you really should give it a try. Nowhere else will you find such high-quality rock and pop music so close to home.

David Wood