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MUSICIANS, poets, artists and other performers will take to the stage in Witney to raise awareness of the plight of refugees around the world.

Billed as Witney’s ‘international music event’, Asylum Sounds will return later this month following a successful debut in the town last year.

People from Witney and further afield are invited to come and join the fun while supporting Witney Refugee Action Group at the Rock Barn on Saturday, September 30.

As well as music there will be family-friendly arts and crafts, mural painting, cake and street-food stalls and more running from 2pm to 11.30pm.

All cash raised on the night will go towards Witney Refugee Action Group’s continued efforts to support refugees across the world from West Oxfordshire.

The organisation is embarking on a new initiative to sponsor a refugee family to come to Witney through the Government’s community resettlement scheme.

Luci Ashbourne, who is a member of the action group, is delighted the popular event will return to Witney.

She said: “We at Witney Refugee Action Group are thrilled to have the opportunity to bring Asylum Sounds back this year.

“People can expect more of the same brilliant eclectic music, family-friendly crafts and inspirational message as last year, along with plenty of exciting new additions to the day, including launching ‘Witney’s Warm Welcome Quilt’, where guests will be able to make a patch to be sewn in and we will present to the family we eventually welcome with the funds raised through the event itself.”

All summer festivals need ice-cream, and this year Ben and Jerry’s will be giving away free treats for gig-goers in support of the company’s Together for Refugees campaign, which is calling for more refugee resettlement across Europe.

County councillor for Witney Laura Price is also thrilled to see the outward-looking event’s second outing. She said it was important to show how much in common people in this country share with others overseas.

She said: “Asylum Sounds is an amazing coming together of the Witney community, welcoming the Syrian families who have been resettled here and raising vital funds to support others fleeing violence, persecution and war.

“It reminds us not only of how fortunate we are to live in such a wonderful town, but also how much we have in common with others no matter where in the world their journey began.”

Oxfam and the Red Cross will also be supporting the multi-genre music event, and some very special guest speakers will be appearing on the day.

It was last year that the group’s first ever international music event was held in Witney, raising £2,000 for an Oxfordshire organisation supporting asylum seekers.

The event was compered by local poet Owen Collins and brought together a multitude of established musical genres as well some distinctly new ones.

This included West African, Turkish gypsy (‘Turkabilly Gyp-hop’), Gallic flavoured rock and roll and Captain Beefheart-inspired pop. This year’s line-up is still being decided.

* Asylum Sounds is at The Rock Barn, Market Square, Witney, on Saturday. September 30, from 2-11.30pm