A dazzling line-up of bands and artists helped celebrate the 16th birthday of Oxfordshire’s first big music festival of the summer.

Ska band The Specials, 60s icons The Beach Boys, Oxford singer-songwriter Gaz Coombes and pop act Keane were joined by up to 11,000 people a day for Cornbury Music Festival.

Festival director Hugh Phillimore said he was delighted with the three-day event, which will come to a close at Great Tew Park, near Chipping Norton, tonight with sets by The Beach Boys and folk-rockers Steeleye Span.

He said the line-up, which also featured indie-rockers Echo & The Bunnymen, KT Tunstall, veteran singer Elkie Brooks, The Trevor Horn Band and West End star Alfie Boe, was the best yet.

He said: “It’s been lovely and one of the nicest ones ever.

"We’ve had some absolute legends and a weekend of great music – with no celebrities!"

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“I’m an emotional man, and it doesn’t take much to make me cry, and I wept three times yesterday, to Elkie Brooks, Billy Lockett and Keane – who were wonderful.

“I was really pleased with the line-up. Gaz was absolutely rocking, The Keane boys are just great and The Specials put on an amazing show.”

He admitted it had been a busy weekend, and was looking forward to a rest, joking: “My favourite part is always Monday morning... when it’s all over!”

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Mr Phillimore said numbers were up on last year, with up to 11,000 people a day joining the festival, which largely basked in warm weather – despite a rain shower on Saturday.

Cornbury attracts a loyal army of fans who come every year. In the past it has played host to Paul Simon, Tom Jones, Bryan Adams, Amy Winehouse and Van Morrison.

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This year’s 16th instalment comes two years after what should have been the final event. Mr Phillimore decided to call time on the gathering, which has often struggled to break even. However, he bowed to pressure to continue after being inundated with requests from festival fans.

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Among the regular Cornbury goers was Lucy Silver from Summertown, Oxford. She said: “I absolutely love Cornbury. It’s a small festival but for its size it always has an amazing line-up. This year’s was brilliant – with Gaz and The Specials being the highlights.”

With the dust still settling on the site, planning is already underway for next year’s festival, with Mr Phillimore already eyeing up headliners.

He said his wishlist included Lionel Richie, Snow Patrol, Paolo Nutini and Kylie Minogue – who had been lined up for this year, but instead played Blenheim Palace before her ‘legends’ slot at Glastonbury last weekend.