The annual reunion of folk supergroup St Agnes Fountain is as much a part of Banbury’s festive season as the Christmas Eve dash to the Castle Quay and a beery get-together at The Reindeer.

Featuring Fairport Convention’s Chris Lesley, guitarist and songwriter David Hughes and multi-instrumentalists Chris While and Julie Matthews, the group spend the bulk of the year on their own projects, then reconvene in the winter for a December tour – the highlight of which is Chris’s hometown show at Banbury’s St Mary’s Church.

“This is our 15th year together and we’re looking forward to it as much as ever,” says Chris, who lives in nearby Adderbury.

“It’s a very special time for us and it’s wonderful that so many people see their St Agnes Fountain gig as the official start of Christmas.”

This year’s show, which takes place on Tuesday, will be a particular treat, featuring tracks from the band’s newly released Best Of – Volume 2 album as well as arrangements of carols and traditional Christmas music – some of them to ukulele – and plenty of jokes and banter.

Each member of the group has also chosen a reading with an evocative, seasonal connection. For tickets call 01295 253329.

* While we are on the subject of folk music, those good people at the Oxford Folk Weekend have announced the first tranche of bands booked for next year’s event, which takes place from April 15-17.

They include folk legend Martin Carthy, Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman, The Emily Portman Trio, Coope, Boyes and Simpson, Megson, Hannah James’ new show Jig Doll, Rachel Newton and ceilidh act The Simon Care Trio.

Many more names are yet to be announced. Organisers are offering a special rate on earlybird tickets, which are going for £52 (£49 concs).

To secure the future of the volunteer-run festival, organisers are keen to sign people up as Folk Weekend Friends. These come at silver, gold and platinum level, with all manner of juicy gifts, perks and discounts.

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