AN annual Oxfordshire music festival returned to its youth club home with a sparkle on Saturday.

Wantage's What The Fest had been hosted by the town's football club when it began in 2018 - but this year's 'amazing' event saw visitors arrive at the club's rejuvenated base - at King Alfred's Academy.

The new Sweatbox building, on the school's Centre Site, only opened in September and the festival's 'great turnout' allowed much of the community to take a first look at the venue.

Organiser George Hicks explained: "What an amazing day.

"It was an absolute pleasure to welcome so many of the local community to The Sweatbox for What The Fest."

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Live music from local acts was once again the main attraction, but this year's event focussed on mental health, wellbeing, anti-plastic initiatives and diversity.

Mrs Hicks explained: "We are delighted to have been able to make the event as inclusive and diverse as possible and highlight mental health and wellbeing services in conjunction with Thames Valley Police.

"The Sweatbox spirit certainly shone all day.

"Mostly it was lovely to see so many young people having a great time and getting involved."

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The festival also incorporated a community wellbeing event organised by PC Sarah Merritt.

All the emergency services were on site doing demonstrations and telling visitors about their roles, with numerous other stalls, food and drink and workshops available for all ages, from noon until 8pm.

Much like previous Sweatbox festivals Rock in the Park and Dylanfest, WTF boasted live music from talented local performers, including Sophie Elyse (pictured), ex Sweatboxer Iona McNaught and One 3 One.

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Bands, acoustic acts, MC’s, and the ever popular DJ Carl, leading the Macarena, also performed.

Mrs Hicks added that other highlights included the Oxfordshire Drag Collective, 'who had everyone up dancing and singing along'; Wantage's Fire and Rescue Service demonstrating how they respond to road traffic collisions; 'a sea of tie-dyed t-shirts' and the 'huge number of mental health and wellbeing posters' which youngsters from around the Wantage area created.

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Attendees also created a single-use plastic piece of artwork to encourage more thoughtfulness about human impact on the environment.

The community art project was made from plastics, which youngsters collected both at The Sweatbox and at home.

Elsewhere, a variety of speakers discussed a number of topics, including LGBTQ+ rights.

‘Dylville’ – a ‘mental health and wellbeing village’ – also returned with a selection of chilled out craft activities and space to hang out and chat to Wantage Counselling Service.

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A 'silent auction', relying on donations from local businesses, had yesterday raised around £550 for the charity and will run for another week.

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All money raised from the event is being split between The Sweatbox and the purchase of defibrillators.

Organisers hope to raise around £2,000 in total, with some funds covering the event's costs.