THOUSANDS of revellers are set to enjoy more than two weeks of events at one of Oxfordshire's leading festivals, which starts this weekend.

The 8th Dorchester Festival is aiming to raise £50,000 for the local abbey and charity Style Acre, with an impressive line up of professional performers and family entertainers.

More than 5,000 people are expected to dip into 62 events near Wallingford from Friday, May 3, until Sunday, May 19.

The biennial event, held in picturesque Dorchester Abbey, will include performances from The Tallis Scholars, John Rutter, The BBC Elstree Concert Band, Comedy with Angela Barnes, Star Wars CGI with Ben Morris and the usual mix of family and children’s entertainment.

Officially called the Dorchester-on-Thames Festival, the festival has been a South Oxfordshire attraction since 2005, bringing in thousands of serious followers of the arts to schools, families and children of all ages.

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The festival – which stretches across various genres, from food and drink, to theatre, music and history – has raised the profiles of a number of performers over the years, as well as more than £150,000 for good causes.

Festival chair Steph Forman explained: "I am really looking forward to this year’s brilliant Festival lineup, packed with family entertainment - from our 'tentertainment party' to our mad science afternoon and fantastic music such as the Tallis Scholars and our first folk night with Sam Kelly and Jackie Oates.

Herald Series:

"We are delighted to be in partnership with Wallingford charity Style Acre, who are contributing to many of our events."

The charity shares the festival proceeds and are directly involved in many of the events.

It aims to enhances the lives of people with learning disabilities and autism throughout Oxfordshire, by providing 'person-centred high quality support' and a Work Programme.

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Groups from Style Acre's day hubs are busy making decorations for the opening night bash later this week, while adults that it supports will be judging the dog show, making pedal-powered smoothies at the Food Fair, selling raffle tickets at concerts, displaying art work at the art exhibition and feeding the performers.

Meanwhile, the festival also aims to encourage people to get involved with the arts and showcase Dorchester Abbey as a venue for arts.

The Abbey, which has been in existence for nearly 1,000 years, says maintenance costs hit nearly £500 per day - making fundraising events like the Festival essential to its upkeep.

Henley MP John Howell is set to cut the ribbon with the CEO of Style Acre at a formal opening festival on Saturday.

For a full listing of events, visit