Oxjam Festival 2016
Making its way across the nation throughout August, OXJAM is the ultimate party to end global poverty. Placing the party planning in your hands, the festival will see individuals curating their own DIY gigs and gatherings for an incredible cause. Every dollar raised goes directly to Oxfam Australia’s efforts to provide disadvantaged communities with food, water, safety and equality. In only its second year, OXJAM is set to bring together hundreds of locally organised music events and prove that you should never underestimate the sheer power of music.
“I think it’s one of those things, a lot of people know that poverty is a big issue and they care about it but it’s a little bit hard to picture what you can do to change it,” says Jessica Wheelock at Oxfam. “Something like OXJAM is a really great way for younger people and music lovers to get involved and make a difference.”
OXJAM ambassadors, Megan Washington and Art Vs Science recently put it to people from around the country to host ‘Gigs. For Good.’ Encouraging involvement of all sorts, the festival places absolutely no limits on the size or style of your personalised party.
“Basically what we wanted to do with our launch video was show people that there’s so many different ways that you can run a gig,” says Wheelock. “Through the course of the video, you can see their imagination run wild as they try a few different things, which we are hoping our supporters will also do. We’ve been really lucky to have them on board, spreading the word and talking about the different ways people can get involved.”
The DIY music festival will feature a variety of music events run by music-lovers, party-hosts and the like. Last year's instalment saw gigs across the country hosted by individuals, small groups and generous partners.
“We have people registering small gigs that they’re putting on at home as well as our supporters including venues and party promoters that host all types of events around the country,” explains Wheelock. “Last year, we even had someone run an all day festival at a winery. The whole idea of DIY Gig Maker is that it’s all a part of this bigger festival, this bigger party to end poverty, but it’s made up of all of these wonderful, really creative and interesting ideas that individual people are doing.”
While only in its second year in Australia, OXJAM has already received a remarkable amount of attention. In a show of incredible support, the 2015 festival featured over 12,000 attendees spread across the nation, raising around $60,000 for Oxfam’s efforts. This year, organisers are hoping for even more participation and aim to hit that $100,000 mark.
“Last year was our first year that we ran OXJAM in Australia and over 180 gigs happened,” says Wheelock. “We’re expecting this year to be about twice the size of last year. It’s been running in the UK for ten years now and they’ve had amazing, insane numbers over the years – that’s something we’re looking forward to in Australia.
“Musicians and people that are passionate about music are also often passionate about social justice. So it goes hand in hand.”
With August fast approaching, OXJAM has organised launch parties around the country to kick off what is sure to be one hell of a music month. Melbourne’s Howler will host the state’s official launch party, presented by I OH YOU. Performing on the night are The Peep Tempel, Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever, Wet Lips and Hideous Towns, as well as DJ sets from 3RRR’s DJ Fee-B-Squared and DJ Sara Savage.
BY PHOEBE ROBERTSON