Music Line Up Announced for Oxford Canal Festival

The music stage at Oxford Canal Festival will be rocking to sounds from local, national and international bands on Saturday 8 September – and the party continues before and after the main event with wraparound music specials.

Ugandan multi-instrumentalist Seby Ntege and his band head the line-up, after appearing at WOMAD and Latitude Festivals earlier this summer, as well as Cowley Road Carnival on July 1. Ntege, who hails originally from Uganda, and has lived in Oxford, fronts a band which plays an exuberant blend of Ugandan sounds, afro-beat, samba and British pop, played on a wide range of instruments including, more recently, the kora.

Bristol band The Hawkmen draw from an array of fifties and early sixties musical influences such as original r’n’b, doo-wop, and rockabilly, brought together in a classic, rootsy mix, delivered in style by singer Scarlett Fagan. The Hawkmen have recently attracted attention from BBC Radio DJ Craig Charles.

Local artists taking to the stage include local groups the John Fletcher Trio and The Idle Women, who take their name from the WW2 land girls of the waterways (IW also stood for Inland Waterways).

Popular community choir The Jericho Singers will be performing canal-themed songs under the moniker The Lock Keeper’s Chorus. The choir is passionate about the canal and its concerts raise money for the Jericho Boatyard and Wharf project.

On Sunday evening, September 9, musician Steph Pirrie, who heads the Jericho Choir and also fronts a hoolie band, has assembled a special band of canal musicians for a Big Canal Ceilidh in St Barnabas Church, with food, drink and much conviviality to end the Festival weekend.

On Friday September 7, a special launch evening will take place with a jam session in The White Hart, Wolvercote led by local musician Ben Avison.