Oxford’s answer to the famous Edinburgh Fringe Festival starts tomorrow.

Over the next 17 days, theatres, pubs, restaurants, and community centres across the city will play host to more than 200 events for the fourth annual Oxfringe Festival.

The event showcases some of the city’s finest drama, dance, literature, comedy, poetry and music, as well as bringing in talent from further afield.

It is the fourth annual Oxfringe Festival, and looks set to be the biggest yet.

Co-ordinator Heather Dunmore said: “We are following the lead of the Edinburgh Fringe and having lots of wacky things, new writing, local groups, and bringing in some people we saw at Edinburgh.”

For the first time, BBC broadcaster ‘Whispering’ Bob Harris has signed up as music patron this year — and part of his role will involve judging a new music competition at the Bullingdon Arms at the end of the festival on Sunday, April 11.

Ms Dunmore said: “It has taken a while for us to get it there, but the festival is certainly getting a lot more interest. The bands competition is going to be a major thing for this year.

“Throughout the week there will be different nights when bands are playing and they will be whittled down to the final three, who will then perform on the last night of the Fringe.”

Mr Harris said: “My work is inspired by new music and it is wonderful to be involved with Oxfringe.”

Acts during the festival include poets John Hegley and George Chopping, comedians Dan Antopolski, Simon Munnery, Jo Neary and Francesca Martinez, and music from the likes of the Afropean Choir, Singing Waiters, Walking Dots, Lizzie Hibbert and The Black Hats.

Actor Steve Hay, who lives on a narrowboat in East Oxford, will be performing in a number of shows, including Never Tell Them, which starts tonight at the New Road Baptist Church.

He said: “Oxfringe is a great time to be an artist in Oxford, everyone seems to be doing something, whether it’s theatre, cabaret, music or something completely different. There’s so much going on, you can just float from one thing to the next.”

There will also be a series of free events, including Oxfringe Outside, a colourful showcase of what there is on offer during the festival, at Bonn Square and Oxford Castle on Saturday and Sunday, and the chance to try out different dance styles at a Dance Unlocked afternoon at Oxford Castle on Sunday, April 11.