Oxjam is a festival with a difference: thousands of events put on by music lovers – from large-scale club nights to sponsored charity shop DJing – during October will produce the equivalent of 500 days of continuous music, all raising money to fight poverty around the world. Last year, around 20,000 music lovers took part in 1,100 music events, and the festival generated £500,000 for Oxfam.
As Oxjam enters its second year, it will be twice as big, with stars such as Klaxons, DJ Shadow and Hot Chip involved, and a series of high-profile launch gigs as A-list music stars perform in a specially-converted Oxfam shop in October.
DJ Shadow, who travelled to Africa in April with Oxfam to support Oxjam, said:
"I went out to Kenya to see how some of the money from Oxjam is being spent and saw first-hand that it really does change lives. I'll certainly be doing my bit for Oxjam this year, and would encourage DJs, producers and MCs to get together and put on an event this October. Together, we can use our music to make a difference."
Joe Goddard from Hot Chip said:
"I spend most of my time doing trivial things in the name of pop music, so doing my bit for Oxjam is undeniably a good thing. We should all try to slip a few good things into our otherwise selfish lives, so please get involved with Oxjam in some way if you can."
Musicians taking part in Oxjam in 2007 will also have the opportunity to appear on MTV. Bands can upload videos of their Oxjam event in October at www.mtv.co.uk/oxjam. The most popular artists as voted for by the public are then filmed by MTV, with an entire MTV show dedicated to the overall winner.
James Righton from Klaxons added his support to the cause:
"For us, Oxjam is the highlight of the festival season because everyone gets to make the noise themselves. The only thing more exciting than putting on your own event to help fight poverty is knowing that you're part of a movement of thousands of gigs, club nights and events right across the country."
Highlights from Oxjam in 2006 included:
- Kasabian forming a string quartet to try something new for Oxjam;
- The Futureheads busking on the London Underground;
- Oxjam live dates from the likes of Badly Drawn Boy, Embrace, Hot Chip, Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, De La Soul and Scissor Sisters;
- A tour from the 'charity shop DJ', visiting charity shops across the country, performing DJ sets with the records he found on his travels;
- Around 1,100 club nights, gigs, mini-festivals and concerts attended by more than 100,000 music fans nationwide.
The target of £1 million from Oxjam this year would be enough to provide safe water for almost 1.4 million people, 20,000 emergency shelters or essential medicines for 10,000 villages. The call for music lovers to get involved comes now, as Oxfam estimates that the average gig takes three months to organise.
To find out how you can get involved with Oxjam this year, visit www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam or call 0870 905 9060.