Monday, 19 October 2009

Oxjam Takeover Northern Quarter, Sunday October 25

Forget In the City, the annual music industry showcase of new bands taking place this week - a one day festival this weekend will be a chance see Manchester's newest acts as well as raising money for a good cause.

On Sunday October 25, bands, promoters, artists, poets and comedians will join forces to paint the Northern Quarter blue for one day to raise awareness of Oxfam's 'Here and Now' climate change campaign.

Oxjam have been preparing the city with a series of events such as clubnights, busking and Speed Dating, at which members of the public were daubed in blue face paint. Alice White, Media and Marketing Coordinator for Oxjam Manchester, explained: "The message is 'shout until you're blue in the face'. All the volunteers and campaigners will be dressed up in blue."

She continued; "The whole festival is designed to be interactive, with face painting. We're also creating a huge wave of blue hands on a wall that we hope people will get involved with. We want to make sure we can get as many people interacting and hands-on with the campaign as possible, actually getting physically involved - it's not just signing a mailing list or putting money in a collection tin.

She added: "It's free and easy, and more personal than most festivals too. Bands are supporting us by promoting the gigs too - we're working together."

The all-day event on October 25 is the culmination of months of hard work. Alice explained: "The festival lasts for the whole of October, and many events have already taken place, but it's all been leading up to the flagship on October 25."

"It's different to previous years as before it was just a series of mini-events. This year Oxjam have gone a bit crazy. There are flagship events in 20 cities across the UK all happening on one day."

Eight Northern Quarter venues (Mint Lounge, Night & Day, Matt & Phreds, Odd, Common, Apotheca/ Dough, Nexus Art Cafe and Moho Outdoors) will host music from jazz and folk to punk and indie. Alice said: "There's a real range of bands, from Comfortable on a Tightrope at Odd to a special Oxjam Jazz Band at Matt & Phreds."

She admitted: "Oxjam isn't an established Manchester name like In the City or Manchester International Festival, but we've got big headliners like Peter Hook and the Sunshine Underground. It's not really about established bands, though, it's more about up and coming names."

She continued: "It's a charity event so it's open to everyone. It does represent new music in Manchester, but it also raises awareness for charity. People feel a bit daunted by charity, but this is a way to get connected to people on the city and have fun while you're doing it."

"It's going to introduce Manchester people to a lot of unknown bands they might not have heard about whilst using the platform of a music festival to raise awareness of climate change. We're making sure people hear about the bands from Manchester and unheard of bands."

It's not just a music festival, though, Alice reminded: "At Nexus Art Cafe, we've got Negotiation of Space, where a student group will create a live art performance based on Oxjam's W8 collection of women from around the world. There will be a woman in a huge dress made out of recycled materials and clothes from Oxfam shops which will become a tent with musicians like violinists playing underneath, as well as eight women dressed up."

There will also be circus performers in Tibb Street car park outside Moho Live and Sketch City creating art live in Odd Bar. The winners from Big Issue in the North's poetry competition will be performing on the day.

The festival has already provided a chance for members of the public to get involved, as it's all run by volunteers. Alice said: "We started with four members and recruited a team from across the city. They're managing and putting on events, flyering and volunteering. We'll be bringing them all together on the 25th. "

The festival has involved a huge amount of hard work. Alice said: "We've put it all together in three months, whereas most festivals take years to get together, but we gathered interest as we went along."

She concluded: "We're using the universal medium of music to draw people in. People can connect through music, but hopefully they'll also get into the campaign on the day."

Oxjam Manchester, Sunday October 25, 1pm-11pm.

Tickets, which cost £7 or £8 on the door, are available from wegottickets and the venues.

Visit for band biographies/ full listings and timings.

No comments: