Oxjam 2013 started early this year with two fundraising events at the Cluny in the early Oxjam2summer and a series of original open mic nights at Bar No 28 as a build up for this year’s Oxjam Takeover.

Last year’s festival was a huge multi venue success and raised a staggering  £6935.45 for Oxfam UK.

This year Oxjam is returning to rock the Ouseburn Valley, with performances taking place primarily at The Cluny and Cluny 2 on 21st October with an after show at Ernest Bar.

Oxjam Takeover manager Max Weedon offers the following information:

“This year we have a lot of exciting young up and coming breakthrough acts who are all willing to give their time to help Oxfam projects for example the Syrian refugee crisis,” enthuses Max, who formerly worked as Section Manager for Music at Newcastle College.

For example we have Shades, a maths rock band with four part harmonies. There is also 18 year old David Smith who sounds like a young Jeff Buckley crossed with Ben Howard.  David is attracting incredible industry attention despite playing only handful of gigs and we are proud to have discovered him. We are still on the lookout for any big bands that can pull in a paying crowd, so if anyone could step in and perform for us on the 21st please get in touch’.

Max explains: “A strong motivation for me is to provide strong support for original artists. For example my background in music education has included redesigning the music curriculum around the idea of operating as a record company, with original songs at the heart…

“I have taken the same approach to Oxjam… The covers circuit can be a graveyard for ambition and I would urge venues to pay original artists to perform original songs and invest in original music to put the North East back where it belongs as a powerhouse in the music industry. I would urge audiences to support local original musicians like they support their local football teams.

“Get to know their songs. Follow them on Facebook and Twitter and give them constructive feedback.”

“The thinking behind them has been to give original artists a platform that they might not otherwise have… David Smith has now aready performed twice for Oxjam on the main Cluny stage and you can see how much confidence this has given him. He is now attracting attention from the music industry and we are proud that Oxjam has had a hand in that. Another act that really came into their own was Amateurs Built the Arc who totally dominated the Cluny stage and showed they belonged there.”

As well as enlisting Ernest as the venue for its aftershow DJ party featuring local house legend Bigger Than Jesus, the folks at Oxjam will be back for a second helping of fundraising action at a special gig at the Cumberland Arms on Friday the 1st of Nov which will be the final action for Oxjam the 2013 team.

“The Ouseburn is a magical part of Newcastle that outsiders just don’t seem to know anything about,” Max says.

“As an ‘outsider’ originally from Africa I can testify to that. The general public perception of Newcastle to the average person seems to be heavily weighted towards the Gazza, Geordie Shore, Bigg Market, Viz Magazine, football fans punching horses type stories which is actually 100% different from the reality.

“Newcastle is one of the premier cultural European cities on a par with Milan, Barcelona, Amsterdam & Lisbon etc. I would advise strangers to Newcastle to walk down the Quayside to the excellent Tyne Bar and then up through the Ouseburn Valley to the Cluny.”

If they do this on the 21st of October they are guaranteed a glimpse of the always excellent original local music scene, as well as helping raise money for a good cause along the way!

If anyone would like to donate the price of a pint please text JAM0014 to the number 70066 using your mobile phone and you will have donated £3.

Peter Cumiskey OuseNews.com, Max Weedon