Preview: Oxjam Music Festival - Week One

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 135 months ago
Preview: Oxjam Music Festival - Week One

A slap on the wrist for Londonist - we're three days late in previewing this year's Oxjam music festival, and we haven't even got a "dog ate our homework" excuse to cover our blushes. Must try harder next time.

So what is Oxjam? It's only the most fun you're ever likely to have raising money for charity. Throughout October, thousands of budding Michael Eavis's are promoting gigs and club nights across the country. Working largely under their own steam, they've signed the acts, booked the venues, papered the walls of abandoned lockups with flyers, glad-handed and back-slapped councilors and journalists for free publicity - the works. The proceeds go to Oxfam who will use the money in their fight against poverty, so all you need to do is show up with your gladrags and party shoes on and do your bit. It's like a grass-roots Live 8, really.

The numbers involved are impressive: 3,000 events nationwide, involving 40,000 musicians who will entertain a total audience in excess of 300,000. That makes it officially the country’s biggest music festival Last year's inaugural Oxjam set the bar high with a total of £500,000 raised, and the organisers hope this year will top the £1 million mark.

Having run our eye over the first week's events, we like the look of the following…

Oxjam Launch Shows – okay, okay, we missed the boat on this, as the first launch show took place on Monday. But it does sound cool: the basement of Oxfam in Dalston has been whipped up into a makeshift venue, and the opening night saw The Kooks take to the stage, followed by Jarvis Cocker who spun a collection of 45s he'd swiped from the shop upstairs. Wednesday night it’s the turn of Hot Chip who, having appeared at last year’s event, are what you could consider Oxjam veterans, while Fatboy Slim will spin till the wee hours on Thursday. Tickets were available via an online and mobile lottery, so if you've got one, consider yourself lucky.

MySoiree Oxjam - a cabaret night involving swing, soul, jazz and the odd rock-cover in "a close-harmony style akin to Belleville Rendezvous". The people behind it disingenuously describe themselves as being "bullied" into it, but we're certain they're underselling their talent.

Orchestra Reunited

– this is a classical concert that, in the true DIY ethos of Oxjam, mixes both seasoned professionals and lapsed performers in a full symphony orchestra. In the environs of Shoreditch Church St. Leonards, it looks to be one of the festival's more unusual events.

Previews for next weeks events are forthcoming on Londonist, and we promise we won't be late this time.

Oxjam, 1st - 31st October, various venues. Image from Andy McMillan's Flickrstream

Last Updated 03 October 2007