Oxjam Festival

Music To Our Ears

Kick-started by a world class storyteller and two local songstresses, the Oxjam Newcastle Takeover made clear from the get-go it wasn’t your everyday charity fundraiser.

For some, successfully assembling 50+ bands and spreading them across five venues might seem like a job well done.

But the Oxjam team didn’t stop there. Their children’s programme at Seven Stories made sure that even the littlest of festival goers were kept entertained.

Storyteller Taffy Thomas MBE was one of the performers. He said: “One of the key roles of art is awakening something in people that gets them talking that little bit more.

“It is always a privilege to use my art whenever possible to better people’s lives.”

Joining Taffy at Seven Stories were The Sage’s very own Eleanor Mooney and Julia Partington.

The duo use their unique musical style and banjulele (that’s a hybrid between a banjo and a ukulele) to enhance children’s language and social skills.

“The families we meet here we might not have met in any of the children’s centres or community centres or The Sage – the places where we normally perform,” they said.


“Oxfam is such a good cause and we’re always extremely keen to take what we do to new places.”

These performances marked the beginning of the day’s events which encompassed venues such as The Cluny, Blast Studios and The Church of St. Ann.

The Takeover raised £5000 (and counting) and was good news for surrounding businesses.

Marketing Coordinator Lizzie Gemmell said diversity was the key to a successful Takeover.

“We want it to appeal to everyone. We didn’t want to limit ourselves to just the indie kids or just the metal heads,” she said.

Jon Melvin, frontman of band The Union Choir, reflected on the positive atmosphere of the day: “The amount of bands they booked for the one day was crackers. It was organized so well and run so smoothly.

“I usually don’t get nervous but I was really, really nervous… It’s all just felt like something special.”

Any donations to Oxfam are still welcome at www.oxfam.org.uk/donate

Oxjam photo gallery

Update: 3 Nov 2012
A full interview with Taffy Thomas has been posted in the Unique section.

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