Virtual Festival Keeps the Creative Flame Alive!

Creativity, performance and dance will take centre stage this weekend as Bicester’s annual arts festival returns for an online edition with the theme ‘fire – keeping the flame alive’.

Published: Tuesday, 15th September 2020

Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, Bicester Festival organisers have worked hard to ensure the show must go on, with live and pre-recorded content scheduled throughout this weekend (Friday 18 to Sunday 20 September) streamed via the new website

The curtain will be raised at 6pm on Friday with a mix of live and pre-recorded music to kick-start the weekend. Among the headliners are a cappella trio The Sceptics and the ever-popular Steve Winch and The Inception, bringing a high-octane vibe inspired by the likes of The Jam, The Stranglers and Elvis Costello.

Saturday showcases an eclectic mix of performances, including an interactive virtual Flash Dance led by Dance Creative, the vocal talents of local singer Yasmin Saint as well as a DJ set to entertain the audience as the sun goes down.

Sunday’s line-up starts with some morning yoga, followed by an interactive play for little ones called “Swish”. Produced by Moulded Theatre - experts in creating innovative and accessible children's shows - Swish follows the adventures of Olive the tiny turtle as she tries to pick up all the plastic pollution in the sea.

The Bicester Festival is organised by a team of volunteers and supported by Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council.

Emma Doupé runs Evolve Vocal Studio in Bicester and has been working with the Bicester Festival Organising Committee to arrange this year’s event. Emma said: “programming this year’s virtual Bicester Festival has been a fun and creative challenge. We are teaming up with amazing creatives in our community, to provide an inclusive, interactive, safe, yet intriguing and stimulating festival.

“The Bicester community has come together to showcase and highlight the amazing work that has come out of a challenging time. We are very excited to share how we, as a community, are keeping the flame alive!”

Cllr Andrew McHugh, Cherwell’s lead member for health and wellbeing said: “COVID-19 has proved a difficult time for artists, performers and audiences alike, with many traditional venues staying closed throughout the pandemic.

“This year’s online Bicester Festival provides a safe and accessible stage to celebrate the arts, enabling those taking part to showcase their talent whilst providing some great entertainment for the people watching at home.” 

To ensure the live performances are COVID-secure, the Bicester Festival has worked with TAD studios, a professional recording facility in Chesterton, as well as Distinct Solutions who provide live events assistance from their base in Bucknell.

After this weekend’s celebrations, the Bicester Festival webpage will become the home of Bicester arts, showcasing the best of the town’s creative talents all year round.