As we have seen previously, there are plenty of good reasons for coming to study business in Oxford – but one more for the list might be the enormous number of local fairs and festivals you can enjoy while you’re here. The range of events is so vast it’s possible to make a decent list of quirky happenings just for the first half of the forthcoming month of May. Whether you’re a student from the local area or you’ve travelled from the other side of the world to join us here at OBC, there’s bound to be at least one event that’ll float your boat.
1. May Day – Wednesday 1st May, city centre
Nowhere celebrates May Day – that’s 1st May for the uninitiated – in quite the way that Oxford does. Kicking off with 6.00am performance by the Magdalen College choir from the top of the Great Tower and continuing throughout the morning with traditional music and dancing in the streets, it can draw crowds of up to 20,000 people. Plenty of them stay up all the night before, while pubs and cafes throw open their doors at dawn on the day itself to serve breakfast to the revellers.
2. Springtide Community Festival – Sunday 5th May, University Parks
Not quite as old as the May Day festivities but still a regular event on the city’s calendar, this family-friendly day-long festival is organised by the Oxford Students’ Union. Attractions include live music, an international selection of food stalls, a mini farm and a five-a-side football tournament. Taking place in the much-loved University Parks in the centre of Oxford, the day’s entertainment is absolutely free.
3. Mayfest – Monday 6th May, Little Clarendon Street
The area of Jericho, just to the north of the city centre, has long been considered a (very trendy) self-contained village within Oxford – so it should be no surprised that locals have organised their own festival. On the first May Bank Holiday, the whole of Little Clarendon Street will shut to traffic, with the shops and restaurants spilling on to the pavements and more than 25 food and craft stalls joining the fun, to a background of live music.
4. Oxfordshire Artweeks – Saturday 4th May to Sunday 12th May, across the city
This special festival, which allows members of the public to visit artists in their studios, claims to be the biggest of its kind in the UK. Encompassing hundreds of events across the city – and later in the month throughout the surrounding county – it showcases the work of painters, photographers, sculptors, ceramicists, glass-makers, jewellers, fashion designers, etc, etc. If you’re at all interested in art, it’s a very special week in the Oxford calendar.
5. Oxford Beer Week – Saturday 4th May to Sunday 12th May, across the city
But if art isn’t your thing, perhaps beer is. From tastings to quiz evenings, expert talks to folk music concerts, this week offers a host of opportunities to enjoy proper English ale in a variety of proper English settings. Local breweries, microbreweries, pubs and nanopubs are at the centre of this celebration of artisan beers and ciders.