A summer festival which promotes and encourages people to engage with the arts will return after two years of restricted gatherings due to Covid.

Bicester Festival is set to take place on Saturday, July 16, with a host of artists, musicians, singers and entertainers gracing the town.

The festival, in its fifth year, will kick off with a parade leaving from the OYAP Trust building at 10:30am.

At approximately 12pm the procession will reach Garth Park, where attendees can enjoy live singing and performances from a music stage and get involved with participatory arts workshops.

Donna Waterer, lead organiser of the festival, said: “After two years where the impact of the pandemic meant virtual events and smaller gatherings, we hope to bring the community together in 2022.

“The day will have a real festival vibe. There will be lots of opportunities to get creative, including arts and crafts, dance, theatre and music making.”

The event is being delivered by two professional entertainment companies, Festive Road and Just More Productions, along with local performers and artists from Bicester.

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Festive Road’s Gwynhaff, a pedal-powered dragon, will lead the parade and pose for photos, and Just More Production’s comedy circus outdoor show, Do What Yah Mamma Told Yah, will take place in Garth Park.

The day will be compered by children’s entertainer Aaron Williams, and will also feature Elite Dance Bicester, Mini Professionals Dance Academy, Bicester Concert Band and Russian singer Maria Merinova, who will be performing her songs in Ukrainian to show solidarity with local Ukrainians.

In addition, there will be singing from Torrin, the 2021 winner of ITV’s The Voice Kids.

Miss Waterer said: “We wanted one of Festive Road’s puppets to lead the parade. All our volunteers voted for the dragon.

“As such we have given the festival a loose theme of ‘mythical creatures’.

“Some of the arts and crafts workshops are based on this, with one offering kids the chance to make mythical creature masks.”

The festival is organised by local arts organisation OYAP, in partnership with The Mill Arts Centre and a team of local volunteers.

And with the support of Cherwell District Council, Bicester Town Council, Oxfordshire County Councillor’s Priority Fund and local business sponsorship.

Miss Waterer added: “It’s an opportunity to see spectacular events that people wouldn’t usually get to see in the town.

“We wanted to combine the two professional festival companies with the local acts to create a range of different experiences.    

“It’s going to be a feel-good artistic day to showcase the talent of the town.”


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This story was written by Matthew Norman, he joined the team in 2022 as a Facebook community reporter.

Matthew covers Bicester and focuses on finding stories from diverse communities.

Get in touch with him by emailing: Matthew.norman@newsquest.co.uk

Follow him on Twitter: @OxMailMattN1

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