PREPARATIONS are underway for the biggest musical event in the Witney calendar.

Organisers will be on The Leys from 8am today to set up the site ahead of Witney Music Festival, which will takeover the recreation ground on Friday and Saturday.

Jilted Generation, who mimic The Prodigy, will headline the first evening, with alternative rock band Republica and electronic group N-Trance the biggest names on day two.

But the event is also a chance for several young Oxfordshire artists to play in front of thousands - some for the first time.

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Festival chairman, Eric Marshall, said: "We get excited about the headliners but the real story is these up-and-coming acts who we're giving a platform to.

"As a team, we never lose sight of that. Someone might get attracted to the festival by Republica or N-Trance, but they'll see some of the other acts too and that's really important."

The event starts at 6pm on Friday, when a range of cover bands and tribute acts will kick off the weekend in style throughout the evening.

A full day of music follows on Saturday, with Wood Green School's big band the first act to perform at 11.30am.

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Although many artists come from West Oxfordshire, some bands will travel from further afield, including Philadelphia-based Illusions of Grandeur.

This year's event is promising more of an 'international feel', but Mr Marshall explained even this was planned with grassroots acts in mind.

He said: "We wanted to enhance the experience for local musicians.

"We thought it would be really cool for them to speak to other bands."

The US group will make use of the festival's all-new digital screen by playing a film during their act, which also promises a 'theatrical performance'.

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Other new additions include more lights on stage to reflect the number of dance acts this year, plus a revamped VIP area.

Several stalls will accompany the music in a bid to ensure revellers stay on site for long periods.

A BBC Introducing Stage returns for a second year, while teenager Sophie Atkinson and Oxford band The White Lakes will play the main stage after winning the Ox Factor and the Battle of the Bands talent shows respectively.

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Last year's festival attracted 15,000 people across the two days and organisers are expecting similar numbers this weekend.

It is expected to fill up quickly, due to N-Trance performing at the earlier time of 3pm on Saturday due to other commitments.

Although showers are expected on Saturday, Mr Marshall is confident the town will turn out in force.

He said: "The line-up has had a great reception so far.

"Witney folk are a hardy bunch and we're anticipating it'll be packed whatever the weather."