Oxjam Norwich preview

EMMA LEE This month musicians from Norfolk will be taking part in a country-wide fundraising music festival – Oxjam. EMMA LEE previews what’s in store.

EMMA LEE

It's billed as the country's biggest ever music festival. This month hundreds of acts, from chart toppers to pub covers bands, are being brought together for Oxjam - a massive fundraising drive for the charity Oxfam.

The smallest amount of money raised from gigs and music events can make a huge difference to peoples' lives in poor parts of the world.

Just £120 will kit out five students with school equipment, while £250 buys a greenhouse to help people grow their own crops. And £1,000 can pay to train five care home workers to support people living with HIV and Aids.


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Scissor Sisters, The Kaiser Chiefs, Lily Allen, Jamiroquai, Goldfrapp, Badly Drawn Boy and The Futureheads are among the well-known acts lending their support to the festival, which features more than 1,000 music events around the UK and is hoped to raise £500,000.

One of the highlights is the Buskathon, a 24-hour non-stop busk being held simultaneously in 10 cities and Leicester rockers Kasabian have tried their hand at forming a string quartet.

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And some of the Norwich music scene's best-known groups and singers are also getting involved.

Events in the city kick off this Sunday, October 8, with an acoustic showcase at Norwich Arts Centre café bar featuring James Frost, Sarah Sixsmith, Rory McVicar and Jess Morgan.

Then on Monday, October 9, rockers Cord, who have just released their debut album, Other People's Lives Are Not As Perfect As They Seem, headline the Waterfront, along with former EDP Next Big Thing competition winners the Pistolas. Support comes from Lot 55 and Lick the Dice. The bands aim to raise £2,500 on the night.

Cord frontman James Leeds said that he was keen to get involved with such a good cause.

“We're really excited about Oxjam as it'll be our first home gig since releasing our debut album. Supporting Oxfam at the same time is an added bonus - those guys seem to be some of the few people working as hard as they possibly can to sort the world out,” he said.

Tuesday, October 10, night is punk and alternative night at the Brickmakers, featuring Spot, The Incidentals, The Aprons and The Brownies and Huck, Appleyard, Oscar and Cotton and Guns play at an acoustic night at the Mustard Lounge on October 17.

On October 21 there's a folk and acoustic night at Jurnet's Bar at Wensum Lodge, featuring singer-songwriter Holly Lerski, The Neutrinos, Evil Vine and Tiger MCs and Oxjam returns to the Mustard Lounge on October 24 for a night with ****mat and Ebola.

And legendary American rappers De La Soul are making a special one-off appearance at UEA to close the festival on November 2.

Oxjam events are also being held in Yarmouth. There will be music at the Oxfam shop in King Street today from 12.30pm, a DJ night at Rasputin's on October 17 from 8pm and an Oxjam fancy dress and karaoke party at the same venue from 8pm on October 30.

Oxjam Norwich organiser Natalie Bailey said that she was overwhelmed by the way local musicians from across the genres had come on board to support the festival.

“Oxfam decided to bring all the music events that are held to raise money together. And if it's a success it's going to become an annual event,” she explained.

“All the bands are doing it for free and most of the venues were free. I've really enjoyed organising the events.

“Norwich really pulls together. So many people have got in touch wanting to get involved.

“And I think it shows what a good music scene Norwich has got.”

For information about Oxjam events visit www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam

THE HISTORY OF OXJAM

In 1942 the Oxford Committee for Famine Relief was set up by Canon Theodore Richard Milford and the Oxford Meeting of the Quakers. It was one of a number of groups which aimed to highlight the problems caused by the Nazi occupation of Greece. After the war the Oxford Committee widened its objectives to include the relief of suffering in the aftermath of the war and activity centred on sending out food parcels and clothing.

It gradually became known by its abbreviated telegraph address - Oxfam. Oxfam opened Britain's first charity shop, in Broad Street, Oxford, in 1948.

Today there are more than 750 Oxfam shops staffed by 20,000 volunteers across the country, including specialist book shops. As well as donated items they now also sell handcrafts from overseas and Fair Trade products.

During the 1960s concern for the world's poor grew - and Oxfam worked to change perceptions of poor people in the Third World by portraying them as human beings with dignity, not as passive victims.

The focus of the work changed to setting up sustainable self-help schemes for communities to improve their own water supplies and faming practices.

In the 1970s Oxfam began to campaign on behalf of the people it helped, talking to policy makers about relevant issues.

Oxfam has gone global, and Oxfam International, which was founded in 1995, has organisations in Australia, Belgium, Canada, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Quebec, Spain and the US.

The issues Oxfam works on today include education, gender equality, the Make Trade Fair campaign, human rights, and natural disaster and conflict relief.

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