Although the heavens opened and rain drenched many of the local Saturday shoppers it failed to dampen the spirits of those involved; including the buskers who braved the rain in true professionalism to entertain passers-by.
Although I must add, one buskers rendition of The Script’s “For the First Time” did get a little wearing after the millionth time in a row he sang it on repeat!
Since 2006 it is clear that Oxjam has been an extremely successful part of fundraising for Oxfam and to fight poverty.
And it occurred to me that this is a very important way for charities to reach people.
Guildford is home to music’s renowned Academy of Contemporary Music. Seeing band junkies with guitars on their backs hanging around outside Wetherspoons is a distinctive sight in the town centre and so it seems appropriate to host an event such as this here.
It is beneficial for all: Musicians get their music heard, Oxfam gets to raise money for its worthy causes and the community is entertained. It’s an all-rounder.
And the small fee of just five pounds for a ticket is hardly a bank breaker in comparison to the extortionate prices in Guildford town centre on a Saturday night. (Not only are our drinks prices alleged to be the most expensive in the country but the entry fees to clubs are well over what they should be for what you get.)
The fiver enables entry into all five venues on the evening’s Guildford Takeover crawl. One pub was even holding drinks deals and a bowl of chips on entry, despite conflicts over hosting the rugby at the same time as the 1st bands were scheduled to play.
It is clearly a simple yet effective way to raise money. It is a good way to get people together to create awareness of the fight against poverty which remains in many places across the globe.
As a charity, Oxfam’s hit the jackpot on how to fundraise. As one of the leading charities at Glastonbury since 1993 it has raised two point seven million pounds from stewarding the festival.
Oxjam’s slogan sums it up: “Local music: global impact.” It is going right down to the grassroots of local towns and cities in order to increase awareness for Oxfam’s causes.
It’s all good and well appearing at all the top festivals over the summer months but I think Oxjam will and has had a serious impact on local residents.
People always like it when things come to them. And by reaching out to smaller communities Oxfam is successfully engaging with local people.
Not only that, the fact that it is local musicians inevitably increases the audience size as they draw in their friends who come to see them perform.
I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like music. Except an old housemate of mine who hated listening to music, he just didn’t understand why anyone would watch music channels and hated it when we played our music at full blast when we were getting ready to go out until he became friends with some budding dj’s and he changed his mind!
But that means that this event is much better than say, a cake sale or other more traditional ways that were used in the past to raise money for different causes.
And being on such a large-scale in such a local town is another massive advantage for the charity. Taking over five whole venues until 2am and being present in the town centre during the day collecting donations is an extremely effective way to help create awareness.
Even if people aren’t aware of the charity itself but interested in music they are able to watch performances that they would have probably gone to see anyway but helped a charity without even thinking.
Oxfam’s work is extremely important globally. Without their help many people would remain in starvation, be trapped in natural disaster zones or undeveloped communities. But with their help people are being given the chance to survive.
And without the public’s help Oxfam is unable to help these people.
It is truly commendable what the organisers of Oxjam have done. Months of hard work for something that everyone can enjoy and can give aid to those needing help.
I hope that the success of this years events, not only in Guildford but also in other towns and cities across the country, with the support of the public, can enable this to become an annual event which can go on to help millions of people a year.