Guest post – written by Oxjam Marketing Executive, Henry Wilkinson…

It’s the middle of September and you’d be forgiven for thinking that festival season is grinding to an exhausted close. It started for us back in May at Common People, quickly followed by another great Field Day (Flamingods and Julia Jacklin were our highlights, if anyone’s asking…) before Oxfam provided stewards to the likes of Glastonbury, Reading, Leeds and Shambala. For some, things are quieting down, but for Oxjam, we’re just getting started.

That’s because it is only a month until October when Oxjam Music Festival returns for its 11th year, taking over cities across the UK to unite music lovers, promote grassroots music and help fight poverty and suffering around the world. We think it’s a totally unique and inspiring movement, and one that you should all be a part of. Here’s why.

Firstly, it’s all for an amazing cause, raising money for Oxfam’s vital work. Since it started, we’ve raised over £2.8 million, a staggering amount that has undoubtedly made a huge difference to the lives of thousands. Here’s a video of just one of the ways this money has been put to use.

Secondly, Oxjam is the UK’s largest music festival, with over 60,000 musicians playing to an audience of over 1.5 million people since its inception. This year there are 40 festivals taking place, from Cardiff to Calderdale, Bristol to Beeston, Shoreditch to Sheffield, and everywhere in between. There will also be a series of one-off warm-up events and fundraisers. In fact, we’ve already seen some pretty cool ones, including a swishing party (look it up if you don’t know what it is), an art battle and a gig headlined by a former Dandy Warhol. Keep your eyes peeled for some big announcements coming your way too.

More than this though, Oxjam isn’t any old festival, it’s a devoutly grassroots one. Oxjam celebrates and provides a platform for local talent, and in a week where another one of our beloved music venues is faced with closure (this time it’s our local, Oxford’s Cellar), local artists need our support. Notable alumni from past Oxjam festivals include Foals, Drenge, The Sherlocks and Everything Everything, so Oxjam helps give a break to future musical heavyweights. So why not get yourself down and discover your new favourite band?

Finally, Oxjam is run by dedicated and downright inspiring volunteers. Our Festival Teams and Gig Makers are nothing short of incredible. Many of them will be getting their first experience of the events industry (who knows, we could have the next Michael Eavis in our midst) but all of them are mad about their local music scene. Some of our festivals managers have been running Oxjams for years too, all for the love of it and in order to make a real difference to people living in poverty around the world. Putting on a festival is a great achievement, and a really positive cultural addition to your local landscape.

If you’d like to put on a gig in the name of Oxjam, then head over to the website now for more details on how to be a Gig Maker. Need some fresh new music in your life? Then go find your nearest festival and buy a ticket. You can even help out on the day by getting in touch with your local team.

Follow Oxjam on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for all the latest on this year’s festival.

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