Oxjam is back – enjoy it and get involved

Mamma Green band promoting Brixton Oxjam
Mamma Green promoting Brixton Oxjam

After a three-year absence, Brixton Oxjam is set to return on 13 October, with preparations well under way for the largest UK grassroots music festival  – there were 33 local Oxjams last year.

Local musicians took a stand against poverty in September, singing their hearts out on Windrush Square to raise funds for Oxfam and the upcoming local festival.

The “Buskathon” was the first part of the Oxjam launch – an all-day array of musical talent with local artists and bands performing from 10am to 8pm, raising vital donations.

First up was singer-songwriter, Patti Paige, who has played the blues in South London using the same guitar for decades. “Her name is Jezebel,” she beams, holding the special guitar and says she’s glad Oxjam is back in Brixton.

“Brixton has always been about music, right from when I first moved here. There’s always been so much culture here so there’s nothing quite like it, it’s good fun and real community.”

Also among the eight dedicated acts was Mamma Green, an acoustic band belting out funky covers of well-known pop songs. Band member Simon hopes the music at this year’s festival will help bring people from different backgrounds together.

“We accidentally came together as a band – together we’re Spanish, Italian, Mozambican and British – it shows music is all about making connections, building bridges and having a good time.”

Enthusiastic festival assistants and managers were also on hand with buckets of enthusiasm – and charity buckets too, to help raise funds and facilitate the event.

While Oxfam is an international charity aiding those in poverty all around the world, Oxjam spokesperson Leia Robertson-Dunbar believes their work can also do a lot of good close to home.

“Oxjam is the largest grassroots festival in the UK and it benefits communities we’re working in by supporting local businesses and artists. It’s such a fun process and we’re all really passionate about the cause and the music.”

Later in the evening, scores of music lovers queued to enter the Oxjam launch party, at Market House on Coldharbour Lane – just one of the local businesses getting involved with the good cause.

The late-night club event featuring four local DJs soon filled out, with crowds grooving out to Afro beats, house and disco while their ticket sales went towards helping Oxfam beat poverty worldwide.

Missed out on the launch party? Fear not, the main event is coming up and building momentum. You can get tickets for Brixton Oxjam on the Oxjam website or on the day at Blues Kitchen, Market House and Prince of Wales, where the multi-venue festival will be taking place.

With poverty and homelessness unfortunately affecting many in Brixton and surrounding areas, Leia from Oxjam says there is plenty we all can do to help the cause before the festival.

“Try to be aware of any local charities in your area. Donate old clothes and try to shop in charity shops. You can do anything from cake-sales to a marathon – it really depends on the person.

“You can also get involved with the Oxjam festival. We are still recruiting a variety of roles, from stage managers and ticket assistants to musicians performing at the festival.”

For more information, visit oxfamblogs.org/oxjam