“In a nutshell – anyone can register to host a live gig, which can be as big or as small as you like. You can run anything from a lounge-room acoustic session with your friends, to a backyard DJ set right up to a hundred-capacity event at a local venue. The gig is entirely yours to create and we will help you organise it every step of the way,” explains Simone O’Connor, youth outreach and engagement coordinator at Oxfam Australia.
“You either ask for donations on the night or charge an extra $5 on top of ticket prices and the funds raised will go towards Oxfam’s life changing work around the world.”
A royal start
The OXJAM concept was created by Oxfam Great Britain, with the first event being held in the UK in 2006. Over the years, some 50,000 musicians, including the likes of Jarvis Cocker, Fatboy Slim and Hot Chip have performed, with thousands of venues and a million-plus punters taking part.
This year OXJAM is being held in Australia for the first time, across the month of August. “We have been looking into bringing OXJAM here for a few years now, but the timing just hasn’t been right for Oxfam Australia,” explains O’Connor.
“We now finally have an awesome team working on this, we know that the interest is there and with the help of Oxfam in the UK and our partners here we’ve been able to launch something that is totally our own and suited to the Australian music scene.”
An Australian OXJAM
The inaugural Australian OXJAM has brought together some of Australia’s best known players in music. “We are super excited to be partnering with everyone – MTV Music, MTV Dance, noisey, thump and FBi Radio are our major presenting partners. They, alongside I Oh You, Goodgod, One Dayers, UNDR ctrl and Motorik! will all be hosting OXJAM launch events in the first week of August. That’s 10 launch events with pretty epic line-ups that are getting announced in June,” enthuses O’Connor.
“They were all incredibly excited when we approached them, they love the concept because not only does it support local Australian music but it also allows them to give back whilst doing what they love – organising parties.”
Music as a medium
On a fundraising level, OXJAM is a great example of a creative and accessible concept. “Whether it’s heavy metal rock, classic, electronic, or acoustic – live music brings people together,” says O’Connor. “It’s a language that everyone understands and music connects cultures, countries and people. Music and the arts have always been a medium for exploring issues and it can be a huge catalyst for change and raising awareness. With OXJAM it allows people to contribute and give back, while doing something that is fun. It also enables them to involve their friends and family who might not usually be one for the more traditional forms of fundraising.”
There are many different ways businesses and individuals can get involved. You can host your own event, which involves registering, then, as O’Connor explains, you “throw a party, charge a cover cost, have fun and donate”. Or you can attend someone else’s OXJAM party (check the gig guide for listings). Finally you can also volunteer your time and services – whether it’s playing at a gig or helping out at one.
O’Connor says: “It’s a pretty easy concept, you get to do good in the world while having fun and it’s based around something that we all love – music!”
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