Thousands join to celebrate the arts at the Bicester Festival

The second annual Bicester Festival has drawn in the crowds, celebrating the arts, creativity and culture.

Published: Friday, 27th September 2019

Fringe activities began earlier in the week, including an age-friendly creative pop-up at Bicester library, with the showcase events starting on Friday (20 September) and running through until Sunday (22 September).

Friday night (20 September) saw a sell-out presentation of The Greatest Showman, under the stars in Garth Park. A thousand people laid out their picnic blankets and set up their camp chairs to sing along to the hit movie.

Cherwell District Council’s lead member for health and wellbeing, Cllr Andrew McHugh said: “It’s so pleasing to see so many people enjoying the Bicester Festival. These events are extremely important as they bring communities together and gives them a chance to celebrate what makes the town so special!”

On Saturday, the festival spread to venues across the town with the Best of Bicester stage presenting local talent in the Market Square and a food and craft market on Sheep Street offering a variety of things to buy. The festival parade meandered through the town centre on Saturday morning, featuring a giant flapping bee, created by 20 local youngsters at OYAP’s Studi02 the day before.

The heritage zone offered visitors the chance to learn more about Bicester’s history with the opening of the Dovecote in Old Place Yard and a Then and Now exhibition at St Edburg’s Church. The launch of Bicester’s historic town guide was also celebrated with two walks led by enthusiasts from the local history society, highlighting the most significant buildings in the area.

Garth Park was again the venue for Saturday evening’s celebrations. The Roots, Rock and a whole lotta Brass event created a party atmosphere, introducing top local acts and headliners Riot Jazz.

The festival finale brought families together for Earth Day at OYAP’s Studi02 on Sunday (22 September). Inside, youngsters were offered a free introduction to yoga, inspired by imaginative storytelling and given a hands-on Chinese craft workshop.

For those who braved the rain, festival goers could get green fingered with Bicester Community Garden and forest school specialist Muddy Feet Training, while Healthy Bicester provided the fruit kebabs! OYAP’s Studi02 was also the venue for the exhibition of local artists which ran throughout the festival.

Bicester Festival Organiser, Tara Murtagh-Stewart said: “It takes months to plan a large scale event like this and I’d like to thank those people who volunteered their time to make the Bicester Festival such a huge success.

“This is only the second year of the arts festival and we’d like next year to be even bigger and better! If you’d like to become a part of a special community event, message the organising team @BicesterFestival on Facebook. We’d love to hear from you!”