Festival fortnight brings a celebration of arts and creativity to Bicester

The curtain is about to go up on the fourth annual Bicester Festival, with two weeks of artistic and creative flair planned for the town from Saturday 11 to Sunday 26 September.

Published: Thursday, 9th September 2021

Taking place at venues across Bicester, there will be something for everyone, from live performances and workshops to exhibitions and parades. The action has been extended to run over a fortnight this year, allowing for a bigger programme of events while offering ample space for both performers and audience members.

The show will kick off this Saturday (11 September) with the launch of Bicester’s street piano, giving musicians the chance to entertain shoppers as they walk through Pioneer Square. Housed safely under the shelter outside Bicester’s Ex Services Club, the tinkling of the ivory will bring a festive feeling to the area from 9am.

David Thompson is a volunteer with the Bicester Festival Organising Committee and came up with the idea of a street piano. David said: “After finding the piano for free online, we’ve given her a service, bringing her back to life for the benefit of anyone who wants to play her. We’ve named her Lisa and she now looks fantastic thanks to our talented local artist, Casimira Mostyn, spending around 50 hours painting a design fit for the festival. We hope to get a variety of talented musicians along on Saturday, as well as BBC Road Trip’s Charlie Ross, to introduce her to the Bicester public.”

The Bicester Festival is organised by a team of volunteers and supported by Cherwell District Council and Bicester Town Council. This year’s theme is water: sea change, encouraging participants to think about environmental issues which affect our streams, rivers and seas, as well as moments of clarity where people have experienced life changing times in their lives.

This second interpretation of the theme is represented in Charmaine Child’s Strong Enough performance, a circus strong lady telling stories of strength that are far more exciting than just lifting heavy things! Charmaine will be performing on Sheep Street on Sunday 12 September from 11am.

Charmaine has also been speaking to people who live in Bicester, recording their personal stories of strength and change. Inspirational memoirs from people including Jamie Jessett, founder member of community group Bicester Litter Pickers, and popular Bicester photographer Eddy Gong Xi are available to hear now @BicesterFestival on Facebook.

A new venue has been added to the line-up this year, with intimate performances being held at the studio and event space at Imagex camera shop in Bicester. Limited tickets will be available for the live music sessions from www.BicesterFestival.org, for the gigs on Wednesday and Thursday evenings during the festival. They will also be live streamed @BicesterFestival on Facebook.

Our younger audience members are invited to come to the band stand at Garth Park on Sunday 19 September at 11am and 2pm to join Ebb and Flo on a bubbly bath time adventure with magic, mischief and music. Presented by Tiny Light Theatre, this bookable performance will be a gently interactive introduction to theatre for preschool children and their families. Tickets are available at www.BicesterFestival.org.

The ever-popular festival parade will be back on the final Sunday (26 September), meandering its way through the streets of Bicester. The 17-man, sea shanty band Old Time Sailors will accompany creations from outdoor arts specialist Festive Road, bringing a celebration of water to the party.

They’ll arrive in the Market Square where the main stage will be hosting a variety of artists including Steve Winch and The Inception, The Flaming Keys, Bicester Concert Band and OYAPs Rock Bands.

For all the details about what’s on and to book tickets, head to www.BicesterFestival.org and follow us @BicesterFestival on Facebook.

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