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?
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.
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).
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.