PREPARATIONS are well under way for Wallingford’s annual BunkFest celebration.

It will be staged on the Kinecroft, the town’s green space, from Friday, August 30 to Sunday, September 1.

The headliners for the showcase of music and beer are Tankus The Henge, Merry Hell and Roving Crows.

Thousands of people gather for the festival every year and it was a big success last year after wet weather almost wiped out the Sunday sessions in 2017.

Bands missing out in 2017 were then invited back last year.

The free festival, which is almost entirely run by volunteers, costs about £100,000 to stage and takes 11 months of planning.

Oxford Mail:

Last year a site re-design made more room for people to enjoy bands on the large main stage while tents and stages

across the town hosted acts including belly dancers and Morris men.

READ AGAIN: All the pictures: Sun shines on BunkFest in 2018

The festival provides a big financial boost for the town every year as people travel from outside the area.

As well as spending money on the main festival site they give pubs and shops extra business.

BunkFest chairman Colin Dolton, who is a town councillor and one of the festival founders, said: “We think about 20,000 people now come to BunkFest every year - it started out small but it has grown and grown.#

Oxford Mail:

“The pubs have one of their busiest weekends of the year and businesses in the town definitely benefit.

“People come to stay for the whole weekend and some of them camp at the sports park at Hithercroft.”

Mr Dolton said the festival cost more than £100,000 to run, with the proceeds of the on-site bar, sponsorship from local businesses and donations covering the costs.

He added: “I think we got about £20,000 in donations last year from people putting money in the buckets and that’s a big help.

READ AGAIN: BunkFest founder was Wallingford legend

“The festival is run completely by volunteers and it really builds community spirit.”

Oxford Mail:

The Market Place will be closed to traffic on Saturday and Sunday to make way for stalls and music performances.

Mr Dolton, a former town mayor, added: “Of course we are hoping for good weather but if it rains people will pack into the pubs.”

He said there would be special tributes paid to BunkFest co-founder Bob Wyatt, who died in May aged 66 following a lengthy battle with prostate cancer.

Oxford Mail:

Mr Dolton said: “Bob will be missed and there will be special tributes to him on Friday night and on Sunday.”

In 2002 Mr Wyatt, a life-long folk music enthusiast and musician, was running the Cross Keys pub at the top of the Kinecroft.

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Mr Wyatt was considering a marquee for the car park behind the Cross Keys for various private events over the summer and approached Mr Dolton, a friend and fellow folk-music enthusiast since their schooldays, about the idea of using the marquee not just for private events but also to host a small folk music festival at the Cross Keys.

Oxford Mail:

The two friends decided the festival idea was worth pursuing and approached the folk musicians who frequented the Cross Keys to perform at the festival.

The name BunkFest derives from the nickname for the Cholsey and Wallingford branch line of Great Western Railway.