EMF whose anthemic debut Unbelievable topped the charts in many countries around the world in the 90s will headline the Witney Music Festival.

The band, whose single reached number 1 in the US in July 1991, will play on Saturday night while Witney act the Inflatables are headlining Friday with support from local cover bands and tribute acts.

The festival, which was cancelled during lockdown, will return to The Leys on June 10 and 11.

However, organisers, who have put in thousands of pounds of their own money to ensure it can go ahead, are reviewing their strategy after a major sponsor pulled out.

Chairman of the festival Eric Marshall said: "Our major sponsor Wychwood Brewery has stopped sponsoring the festival after five years of doing so. 

Oxford Mail:

"Now the brewery has been taken over by Carlsberg their focus is on the national picture rather than locally. Added to that, businesses are struggling on the back of the pandemic so money is not there for sponsorship."

The committee have decided that to make the event sustainable and keep it going for another 16 years they will introduce a charge of £5 per day per person and £10 for families.

Mr Marshall said: "After a great deal of consideration we believe the only thing we can do to secure the future of the festival is start charging for entry. After talking to many stakeholders we believe this is reasonable and can still make the festival accessible to everyone while ensuring we can continue."

Meanwhile Witney Music Festival is working with the Oxfordshire Music and Arts Trust (OxMAT) to develop a coordinated scheme to show talented youngsters how they can progress their interest in music.

The 'Talent Pathway' will link them with music teachers, fellow musicians, venues and recording studios and show them how to eventually find a career in music. 

Mr Marshall said: "Many kids who are not academically inclined do not think of music as an option, it is just looked at as a hobby.  Helping less-academic kids see this as a genuine vocational path for them would help with engaging young people and help them channel energy and enthusiasm in a positive way.

"We are not guaranteeing people will become millionaires, but we can show them how it is possible to earn a living doing something they love. 

Oxford Mail:

"The Witney Music Festival is an essential part of this so securing its future ensures we can deliver on this."

Tickets for the festival can be bought on the gate and a limited number of discount tickets will be available in Rapture in Witney closer to the event.