Cider In The Barn

Cider in The Barn

Cider in The Barn is a fabulous cider festival that was held at the Hitchcox Cider Store in Chalgrove, Oxford. The cider store was the perfect idyllic setting for this wonderful festival.

Although we knew we were going to have a fab time, we were a little dubious as to how it was going to go.. It was our first ever stall at a festival – the first time that we had put up the stall and filled it with our wonderful hippy wares. Not to mention that it was the first time that we had been let loose into the outside world…..EXCITED!!!!

A Bit Of Background

Just to give you a little bit of background – Cider in The Barn was born in 2015 and organised by Toby and Benji. Toby is one of the owners of the Hitchcox Cider Farm and Benji is my cousin.  Benji is an avid cider enthusiast and a member of the amazing band Eclectic. The very first festival in 2015 was just for friends and close family. It was an absolute hit which is why this year, they decided to try it out for the public. The idea is to see how it goes with a view to trying to make something new and exciting. Something that people would talk about and wanted to go to. I have to say they succeeded. It was a brilliant day The atmosphere was wonderful and friendly, the food fantastic, the bands were wickedly good and of course Mystical Mayhem Hippy Clothing was there.

The Set Up

Stall 3 & Nici

Cider In The Barn 2016 - Mystical Mayhem Hippy Clothing Stall@ Cider in The Barn

It was a long long day (22 hours awake to be precise). We awoke at 6am full of the joys of spring, excited to get to the festival and start setting up. We got out of bed what did we see?? Rain, lots of bloody rain.. The forecast stated that it was going to rain pretty much all day up until 16.00. Shit!!, This was going to make setting up very difficult and very wet. We was not looking forward to – not a great start to the day.

The drive was pleasant and thankfully when we arrived at Hitchcox Cider Farm the rain subsided for a small time. We were greeted by one of the organisers of the festival and owners of the farm, Toby. I have to say that Toby is an awesome guy who was super nice. He directed us to our pitch and off we went..
We managed to get the shell up and most of the covers before the rain began again. Phew! Once it was set up we then had to unload the van and make the stall look bright, colourful and inviting. We smashed it! Even if I do say so myself.

Cider In The Barn Begins

Cider In The Barn 2016 - Simon Rainbow Parasol


Stall 2

We got the stall up and hippyfied in good time and were ready for when the festival started at 12.00.

Because of the rain, it took a while for folks to start arriving but when they did, there were a fair few of them. Boy did it rain though, it was raining so hard that we had water pooling on top of the stall. What could we do, we had to keep tipping it off. Poor Sy got a soaking – good job we took a change of clothes.

We really needed to come up with an idea to stop the water as it would cascade over the top sporadically. I didn’t think it was a good idea to allow it to soak the poor general public (ok so maybe a little part of me thought that might be funny?!). Then, we had a eureka moment, I came up with the idea and Sy came up with the props, it didn’t look pretty but it did the job – water bottles. It really did work!

The festy folk didn’t know how close they were to a good soaking..

Things To Do

Cider In The Barn 2016 - Food Stall

So, the rain finally buggered off and the people started pouring in. And why wouldn’t they, there was so much for people to do and see. There was wonderful food headed up by Sharon Garrod, a

face painting stand for kids (and adults) in aid for McMillan Cancer Research, a coconut shy and splat the rat. This was alongside the great drinks and bands. Sounds like a perfect day to me!

I am going to have to mention the food stall again as it was soooo good!  Of course as we were there all day we had to sample a few different things.  The slow roasted lamb in cider was to die for delicious and by far my favourite dish of the day. We also sampled a burger which was yummy and Sy had the sausages which he enjoyed. The food was well received by everyone. So much so that by the end of the night they had run out of everything except burgers and sausages.. Mmmm fantastic job well done by Sharon and her lovely team! Thank you for the lovely grub!

Next for the Cider, it was a Cider Festival after all. Not being a cider drinker I cannot understand all of the different flavours etc but I knew plenty of people there who said they were stunning. They had so many different flavours to choose from – raspberry, plums, blackcurrant and there was of course the standard dry and medium ciders too. I have to say, they went down a storm.
They did have a choice of ales for those who were not Cider drinkers and they went down well too, especially with Simon.. I was the designated driver..

The Bands

Then the bands, wow they made some grand choices with the line up. There was a great mix of musical genres and we think that they made a great choice. We of course couldn’t catch everyone as we had the stall to look after but we did catch quite a few. Here are some of the awesome guys that we did manage to watch – take a look at some of the pics and you will see that many of the bands are also lovers of our clothing and visited our hippie clothing stall for purchases of their own..

A Boy Called Man

A Boy Called Man

A Boy Called Man is made up of 4 band members –
Christian Wilkins
Jason Pratt
Ken Kerslake
James Fidge

A Boy Called Man class themselves as an Indie Folk band and describe themselves as somewhere between Indie & Folk. Add in a fiddle and dark melodic vocals you have a real treat.

Click here to check out their Facebook page

Ctrl Alt IndieCtrl Ant Indie

As you may be able to see, all of the guys in this great band are wearing hats from Mystical Mayhem Hippy Clothing, yay! You may also see one of our tie dye t-shits in there.
These guys came over to our stall to take a look at our hats just before their set and they were such lovely fellows, we really enjoyed talking to them.
Ctrl Alt Indie are a covers band and covered some awesome songs. At the end of their set they even gave a shout out to Mystical Mayhem. That was a first and was awesome. Thanks guys, we hope to see you again soon.



Cider In The Barn 2016 - Eclectic

Sorry Barry it seems the speaker is hiding you!
Now, Eclectic are a pretty awesome band. At present they are a covers band however, they are currently working on their own material which I cannot wait to hear. Eclectic cover an array of genres which just seem to fit them perfectly;
Funk, Soul, Rock, Blues and folk plus pretty much everything else – you name it and they can do it, well!
Eclectic has 5 wonderful band members;
Marion Nicolosi
Claire Keep
Barry Light
Massimo Nicolosi
Benji Keep
Was a wkd set guys!

Click here to check out their Facebook page


The Oubliettes are a great 4 piece band playing a mixture of covers and their own works. The band is made up of;
Eleanor Hawley
James Kell
Ben Watkins
James Shore
From what we heard we thought that they were a great band and really enjoyed their music.

Click here to check out their Facebook page

Echo Town

Cider In The Barn 2016 - Echo TownSorry for the poor quality picture folks
These guys were (insert swear word of your choice here) awesome! Although we enjoyed all of the bands we enjoyed Echo Town the most.  Echo Town was born from 2 brothers Ric and Rob originally from Leeds who now hail from Cornwall.
Between the 2 of them they can play a huge range of instruments. The sounds that these guys can make just from a few instruments is phenomenal!

Playing their own tunes which they class as reggae folk, they most certainly had the crowd captivated and had their full attention. There was even a conga line at one point, we didn’t join in however disappointed I am to say 🙂
Ric who does the lead vocals at times reminded me of Country Joe McDonald from Country Joe and The Fish, another great band!
If you haven’t heard of these guys before or heard their music then you are missing out. You should go and see them for sure. You will be so pleased that you did!

Click here to check out their Facebook page


And So It Came To A Close

So, Echo Town closed the 2016 Cider In The Barn and the crowd started to trickle away. Some were heading home and others were heading back to the camping area to carry on the party. We were a little sad to start packing up as it had been such a good day but, we were absolutely shattered and were looking forward to getting home to bed.

We managed to get the stall packed up, said goodnight and then took the van home. By the time we had got back, unloaded the van at the warehouse, got home and crawled (yes crawled, it was about all we could manage at this time) into bed it was 4am. After a 6am start we were pooped. It was all worth it though!

It seems that everyone had a great night so a massive well done to Toby and Benji – outstanding!
Cider in The Barn 2017 is already in the making and plans are being made. I imagine dates will be released soon and preparations will be made to make it bigger and better than this year! From what I understand there is already talk of moving the festival into the orchards to make room for more people which I am sure after hearing about this year will be there with bells on.
Toby has invited Mystical Mayhem back for 2017 and we will be there without a doubt. No need to think about it at all…

For those of you we met at this year’s Cider in The Barn we hope to see you again in 2017 and for those of you who did not make it then double the effort for 2017.  Because trust me, you will not want to miss out. It is going to be epic!