Tag: Concert

Oxjam: They think it’s all over (Part 2)

By the time you read this, the Oxjam Beeston Music Festival will be over for another year and you will know that we have raised a record-smashing £22,000.

Just to put that in context, last year we raised a creditable £14000 and the previous year, a brilliant £17400, which was our previous best and the highest raised at any Oxjam Festival in the country that year. This year, unsurprisingly, we have raised by far the most money of any Oxjam Festival in the UK.

Oxjam Festivals take place in over forty different locations around the country, often large provincial cities and towns such as Bristol, Bournemouth and Glasgow, as well as different areas of London. So how come little old Beeston tops the lot?

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Olivia & Finn

Maybe it’s something about the place: nice and compact, so for ‘Takeover’ you can walk between the furthest venues in less than a quarter of an hour; maybe it’s the fact that the folks round here are good-hearted and like their music in all the different forms that Oxjam offers; maybe it’s because we have some brilliant venues or the fact that, over seven years, now, we have established a format and a recognisable ‘brand’ that people love; and maybe it’s the Team!

This year it all began way back in January when, amidst rumblings that it might not happen this year, a group of about twenty people met in the upstairs room at The White Lion and started making plans. In that group there was special expertise – in marketing, music production and local music – specialist local knowledge, experience of running the Festival before, and a mixture of ages and backgrounds. From there we gradually evolved a structure, with a team devoted just to the Takeover day, others handling individual fund-raising events, a sponsorship and marketing team and individuals looking after finance and IT.

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ABII

We are also especially proud of the breadth of music offered: on Takeover day itself we had a very well attended Operatic Arias concert, as well as DJs, Americana, blues, choirs, covers, punk, indie, rock, barbershop, folk, singer-songwriters, jazz and a silent disco! Our other events have included a rock night featuring Madeleine Rust (who organised it for us since they couldn’t make 14 October), an ‘Unplugged’ event back in July, a ceilidh and our regular classical concert. We are struggling to think of a musical genre or style that we missed!

Oxjam Beeston has grown into a true community event. Lots of venues love being involved: our sponsors this year included Nottingham University (stage sponsors at Bartons), NET ‘the tram people’ (sponsoring the stage in The Square), local estate agents CP Walker (stage sponsors at The Crown), Foster Industrial (sponsors of The Hop Pole stage), The Breeze magazine and PN Design who did all our design work for flyers, posters and the programme. Of course, this year we had a special  ‘headline sponsor’, The Star, who celebrated their CAMRA LocAle award. Apart from the Uni, other community or public organisations involved were Beeston Library (venue), Beeston Methodist Church, Chilwell Road (venue and rehearsal space for the Operatic concert), Beeston Parish Church (venue), Middle Street Resource Centre (venue and loan of equipment), Royal British Legion Social Club (venue), local councillor, Kate Foale (grant from NCC Divisional Fund), local folk club Second Time Around (‘Friend of Oxjam’ sponsor) and several schools (distribution of flyers).

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Lia White

Overall we calculate more than two thousand people have been involved as either paying customers, non-paying (but ‘donating’) customers on Takeover afternoon, artists and volunteers. There were over 100 ‘acts’ on Takeover day, appearing on twenty stages across 18 venues over 13 hours.

Have you got a hankering to help? If you’ve got some time and skills you think would enhance our team, look out for a ‘call’ in January. We need people with design, PR and IT skills, or who know about local music or ‘project management’. If you want to perform, registration will begin about May/June and if you just want to help ‘on the day’ visit our website in August to ‘sign up’. Because, remember, you CANNOT assume people who have done it before will have the time and energy to do it all over again – they are all volunteers and most have full time jobs to do as well! It’s hard work – but very rewarding. Help keep Beeston at the top of the Oxjam pile and contribute to raising astonishing amounts of money for the fantastic work of OXFAM. Look out for notice of a meeting in January 2018 and come along if you want to join our team.

CT

Vice Squad Storm the Beeston Greyhound

You might wonder which is more surprising, that Vice Squad are playing in Beeston, or that it is free.

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But the fact that punk superheroine Beki Bondage gives the town its first notable punk gig since Flux of Pink Indians and The Fits played The Shed in October 1981, surely warrants compulsory attendance. Beki (Rebecca Bond) is notable for many things – touring the USA with Social Distortion and Discharge in 1982, releasing the sparkling single in ’82’s Out of Reach, Stand Strong, Stand Proud the same year, and writing Latex Love as a 14 year-old and still performing it in her 50’s. But of all these things, we should give her most credit for trekking the world, delivering rousing chorus-led shows to balding, middle-aged men, nodding their heads to the soundtrack of their youth. And as any of those elite fans would testify, Beki has channelled her desire to be Lita Ford into a productive, varied output that is received tonight by a vibrant crowd. The set spans 2014’s Punk Police from the Cardboard City LP, Upright Citizen from ‘82’s State of the Nation ep, 2006’s Defiant, Stuck in Reverse from the Punk Rock Radio album, and of course Stand Strong, which Beki assures us is ‘as relevant as ever.’

The post-apocalyptic ‘I’m too young to die/too late to live’ Last Rockers from the 1980 fledgling-Squad’s debut is the one everyone loves – the sooner she realises the musical world ended in 1984 and real fans don’t want new songs, the better! Her crowd-rousing ‘Oi, Oi, Oi’ chant (handing the mike to the crowd for them to reciprocate) is frankly cringe worthy, as is the bassist’s inflated Kiss-style stage routine, and the guitarist’s ‘I’m so crazy’ demeanour. As the sole surviving member of the original band, Beki is frozen in time, and a slew of albums under the reformed post-1997 ‘Vice Squad’ won’t release her from the UK82 tag she hauls from country to country. Yet it’s easy to see why Ms Bond and co. would play the Beeston Greyhound, with its obvious rock-vibe, but a shame that a band she formed as a Bristol punkette in 1978, rarely moves beyond a crowd of 50 diehards who’ve seen her play 30+ times alongside their reluctant girlfriends. The band makes scant new fans along the way, nor wins points for sophistication – after all it’s Vice Squad, not Tuxedomoon for goodness sake – but as music journo Gary Bushell always said of this genre of noise, ‘it’s the sound of the streets.’ Still, tonight’s gig was well appreciated by the jaded punk undead and bemused onlookers of Beeston and it’s fair to say, it was worth every penny…

DB