Festival fun returns to Bicester

The second annual Bicester Festival is just a month away, embracing the theme Earth – gaining ground.

Published: Friday, 23rd August 2019

Cherwell District Council has joined with community volunteers to organise the event, taking place at various locations across the town between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 September.

Everyone is invited to get involved, whether it’s exhibiting artwork in the showcase at OYAP’s Studi02, taking to the stage in the Market Square or joining in the ticketed events at Garth Park on Friday and Saturday evening.

Graham Perryman, owner of Dragonfly Framing in Bicester is just one of the volunteers who gave up his time to help organise the three-day event. Graham said: “It’s been months of hard work but I’m really looking forward to seeing it all come together. We have some fantastic acts lined up and some brilliant artists taking part. There really is something for everyone at this year’s Bicester Festival.”

Cherwell District Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Andrew McHugh said: “Bicester has an extremely strong sense of community and events like the Bicester Festival are an important part of what makes the town so special.

“I encourage as many residents as possible to get involved, whether it’s taking part in performances or watching the wide variety of talent on offer. It should also be a bumper weekend for traders in the Market Square and Sheep Street as the town welcomes visitors from near and far.”

The arts festival officially kicks off on the evening of Friday 20 September, but fringe events are planned for Thursday 19 September. These include an age-friendly pop up event at Bicester Library and a preview of an exhibition displaying work by local artists, being held at OYAP throughout the festival run.

The main launch of the Bicester Festival will take place on Friday 20 September, when Garth Park is transformed into an open air cinema. The audience will be encouraged to join in with a special sing-along version of The Greatest Showman (tickets cost £5 per person or £10 per family of four).

On Saturday 21 September, the Market Square will be alive with performances from local artists, set to draw in the crowds on Bicester’s Best stage. The Market Square will also be the culmination of a parade through the town centre on Saturday afternoon involving community groups and arts organisation Festive Road, with a procession of magical, moving, giant puppets.

For the younger audiences, there’s an invitation to join Commotion Dance on Saturday for two free shows at Garth Park. They will introduce youngsters to two very different characters on a messy movement adventure to discover why it’s important to help things grow.

Also on Saturday afternoon, the team behind Bicester’s Big Lunch, One Bicester, are hosting an artisan food and craft market on Sheep Street, while historians at St Edburg’s Church are presenting a ‘Then and Now’ exhibition, with guided walks introducing visitors to Bicester’s undiscovered heritage.

As the sun sets, Garth Park will again be the venue for another ticketed event on Saturday evening. “Roots, Rock and a whole lot of Brass” features Oxfordshire’s Bluegrass duo Barney Newman and Tim Sole, supporting the nine-strong Riot Jazz brass band. (Tickets cost £10 per person or £25 per family of four).

On Sunday, the attention turns to OYAP’s Studi02 to celebrate Earth Day and the closing of the festival. Guests are invited to ‘have-a-go’ workshops with local artists and watch street theatre group Electric Cabaret.

For tickets, information about the Bicester Festival and for details about how to get involved follow @BicesterFestival on social media.

Tickets can also be purchased at Coles Bookshop on Crown Walk in Bicester. Cherwell District Council has joined with community volunteers to organise the event, taking place at various locations across the town between Friday 20 and Sunday 22 September.