PREVIEW: Oxjam Takeover
By Claire Dupree on October 17, 2012 in Music
If you’re cynical – or maybe just playing the game – a benefit gig is a great way to make your band look good and convince a shit load of people to come to see you all in the name of charidee mate. I wouldn’t dare to suggest that one cause is more deserving than another, or that charity gigs in general aren’t well meant and genuine, and sometimes the charity gig is a rare opportunity to see something totally unique.
That’s what Oxjam are hoping for anyway, at their annual Newcastle Takeover in the Ouseburn Valley on Sunday 21st October. “It’s going to be a huge event, which is incredibly exciting and just a little bit terrifying!” Says marketing coordinator Lizzie Gemmell. The Takeover is certainly on a grand scale this year, with over 50 live bands and DJs confirmed across five venues in the Ouseburn Valley, as well as stand-up comedy and events for the kids too. Quite an undertaking, and it needs to be a successful event too, as Oxfam organisers have raised the Newcastle fundraising target this year. “We’re on course to raise £8,000 for Oxfam for the Takeover festival and our fundraising gigs, which is more than all the previous Oxjam Newcastle events combined.”
A tough challenge, especially in these harsh economic climes we’re all being told about. But Lizzie’s not daunted. “We’ve been overwhelmed by the support shown for our gigs so far, and it’s been fantastic to see 50+ people coming down to our acoustic gigs every month at the Central Bar. Of course the recession means that people just don’t have the spare cash that they used to, but we’re extremely grateful for every penny donated as it really does go towards making a difference in the fight against poverty.”
Oxfam have committed a huge amount of manpower and resources to raising money through events like Oxjam Takeover. This year they’re aiming for 700 events across the country, with a goal to raise over £400,000. With 200,000 people attending an Oxjam event last year – that’s neck-and-neck with Glastonbury – it’s hopeful their ambitions will be realised this year. “Oxjam was created as a way to bring gig-goers closer to Oxfam’s work, and bring Oxfam to life in the local community.” Says Lizzie. “They recognise that live music is an incredibly powerful way to bring communities together to support a great cause.”
So how will the money raised have an impact? “The changes our money can make will give people hope, options and opportunities. It might surprise you to hear that one in five people in the UK live in poverty. Oxfam work in some of the poorest areas of the UK to help local communities identify and solve the issues they’re facing. Oxfam helped a staggering 14.5 million people last year.”
How can you help then, I hear you cry? Well firstly, you can buy a ticket for the Takeover event – costing a mere £7 – and enjoy a wealth of carefully chosen local talent, right on your doorstep. “One of the things we agreed on when we started planning the Takeover was the importance of diversity. We knew we had a large target to aim for, and the only way we’d raise that much was to appeal to as many people as possible.” It’s for this reason then, that you can see The Cornshed Sisters rubbing shoulders with Big Beat Bronson, Waskerley Way, Blank Maps and Eeves.
Live comedy is curated by the team behind the Grinning Idiot Comedy club and features Andy Fury, David Hadingham, John Whale and many more. In fact, there’s far too much outstanding talent to list here (check out the website for their full line-up). Lizzie has a parting shot: “There are bands that you’ll have heard of, and those you haven’t heard of yet, but they’re all ridiculously talented. No matter what venue you’re in at any time of the day, we can guarantee you’ll be impressed. Who knows, your new favourite band might be playing!”
- Preview: Oxjam Acoustic @ The Central Bar