THOUSANDS of people will descend on South Park in Oxford this summer for a once-in-a-lifetime celebration.

The free event on the evening of Monday, July 9, will mark the Olympic Torch passing through the county, carried by local torchbearers.

And the Oxford Mail can reveal the plans in motion to make the night one to remember.

Headlining will be rock band Young Guns, who have shared a stage with the likes of Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi and Queens of the Stone Age.

Oxford City Council leader Bob Price said: “This is a unique event which will only happen once in our lifetime.

“With all the focus on the Olympics, it is important we give the event real clout and so we’re working hard to make sure that happens.

“The variety of stuff being organised is phenomenal.”

The council is working with the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to organise entertainment.

Hundreds of singers and dancers will also wow the crowds with an hour-long performance of the Tree of Light, a project involving youngsters from across the county.

It brings together 1,200 performers and a choir of 450 from around the Thames Valley for a series of massive outdoor performances. They will perform around the Tree of Light itself – a monumental piece of art powered by electric cycles.

Orlando Gough, who is composing the performance, said: “It’s an epic tale focused on the long life of a mythical tree and of a forest which is born and inhabited, attacked, plundered and reborn – the full cycle of life in all its drama.”

Other local bands will perform, alongside theatre, film, acrobatic and gymnastic performances and displays.

There will be local, national and international food stalls as well as the torch on display.

Council events officer Alison Drummond said: “We’re working to make the event in South Park something really special for everyone in the city.

“We hope residents come out to line the route and support the torchbearers as they carry the torch through our city.”

Helping to carry the torch through the county will be Joe Robinson, 21, from Thame, who broke almost every bone in his body in a 2009 car crash on the A34 Oxford bypass near Wytham.

The student, who was in a coma for four weeks, has been chosen to star in a national advertising campaign for Coca-Cola, with stars like Eliza Doolittle and Dizzee Rascal.

He said: “It’s very cool, but a little bit surreal. And it’s so good to be carrying the torch, it’s going to be fantastic.”

Details of tickets for the South Park event will be released nearer the time.