A GROUP set up to organise music events at an intimate Abingdon venue will cap a successful first year with an appearance by one of the country’s leading folk artists.

Although concerts had been held at the Unicorn Theatre in the past, there was a new impetus with the forming of Music at the Unicorn as a community organisation in January, comprising a dedicated team of volunteers to run events.

The year started and will end with two musical greats.

It began with a bang with a gig by Gordon Giltrap, widely regarded as one of the best acoustic guitar players in the world, and comes to a close when Steve Tilston, one of Britain’s most celebrated song-smiths, plays at the Unicorn on Friday, December 4.

Other highlights of the past year have included Dan Walsh making extraordinary sounds from a banjo while playing Indian folk music and the sublime vocal harmonies of female folk trio Lady Maisery floating through the Abbey Buildings.

Mike Ward, chairman of Music at the Unicorn (MATU), said: “The first year for Music at the Unicorn has been very successful, with full houses and great performances.

“The feel and atmosphere of the Unicorn brings out the best in the musicians. They all fall in love with the Unicorn, first with the building and then with the audience.”

Created in 1953 inside part of the medieval Abbey Buildings, the theatre is considered an ideal venue for intimate and atmospheric concerts and regularly stages plays and gigs.

MATU believes the superb acoustics and unique character of the buildings make every event special.

“The Unicorn is a very special venue. It has a unique atmosphere and character,” said Mr Ward.

“Our job with Music at the Unicorn is to get as many people as possible into the buildings to experience amazing music in an amazing setting.

“The Unicorn is a small and intimate venue and being so close to such talented musicians is always breathtaking.”

The 2016 line-up of established artists – a mixture of traditional and modern acoustic musicians – is: Lucy Kitt, Charlie Dore, The Willows, Megan Henwood, Reg Meuross, Jess Vincent, Ninebarrow, Charlotte Campbell and Martha Tilston.

They will be supported by local acts and MATU sees helping up-and-coming talent from the area as an important part of its work.

Mr Ward said: “As we move into our second year, we would love to hear from bands and musicians from the local area who would like to have the chance to perform at the Unicorn.”

The Steve Tilston concert will be at the Unicorn Theatre in Checker Walk, Abingdon, on Friday, December 4, at 7pm.

Tickets are £10 and available from the theatre, Remade Guitars in Stratton Way or musicattheunicorn.org.uk