THE Oxford Artisan Distillery – a spirit factory at the top of South Park – is to host its first music festival.

Tom Nicolson dedicated five years to creating the gin distillery which launched last year.

Since then the business has gone from strength to strength and has been shortlisted as a finalist in the New Business category for this year’s Oxfordshire Business Awards.

The festival, run in conjunction with music organisers Irregular Folks, will take place on Saturday, July 7, and Sunday, July 8.

Mr Nicolson said the festival would give more people the chance to have a look around the distillery site.

He added that his background in the music industry made the link-up with Irregular Folks a no-brainer.

Mr Nicolson said: “I spent quite a lot of time working in the music industry in artist and producer management, so this festival is something I was very keen to host.

“The creative types at Irregular Folks have a good eye and ear for brilliant music so of course I wanted to work with them.

“There will be bands on the Saturday and a lazy cinema day on the Sunday.

“It won’t be Glastonbury by any means but it will be a nice boutique festival and a chance for people to find out more about TOAD.

“It could have the flavour of Wilderness festival but for people in Oxford it’s right on their doorstep so there’s no need to bring a tent.”

The distillery is on the site of an old barn at the top of South Park and its products include Oxford Dry Gin.

Oxford Preservation Trust, which holds a legal covenant on the site prohibiting sale and production of alcohol, initially objected to plans for a restaurant but an agreement was reached to make the centre available to park users.

Irregular Folks organiser Vez Hoper said she was looking forward to the festival at the distillery, with tickets priced at £20.

Musical acts in the line-up for Saturday include accomplished double bass player Bellatrix, former Stornoway supremo Jon Ouin, who will be making his live solo debut, Alice Haughton and Sephine Llo.

Ms Hoper added: “With a unique policy of booking no individual artist as a headline act, get down early and indulge in phenomenal performances from start to finish.”

On The Odditorium stage, festival goers will be able to enjoy a number of talks selected by Dr David Bramwell.

And for vinyl lovers there will be a chance to pick up limited edition releases by artists who have played Irregular Folks sessions in the past.

The Lazy Sunday Film Day will be staged in collaboration with the Ultimate Picture Palace off Cowley Road. 

Food and drink stalls open throughout the weekend.