Oxjam is the name for the nationwide music festival in aid of the charity Oxfam. It's been running since 2006 and involves musicians and singers the length and breadth of the country
(www.oxfam.org.uk/oxjam). The first Oxjam event in Leighton Buzzard was a ceilidh featuring the band Stömp, plus four local bands in support. Held
at the Raven Theatre, Cedars Upper School in October 2007 it raised over £850.
The success of this evening prompted the organisers to put together the Leighton Buzzard Oxjam music festival in March 2009. A total of £3,348 was raised from 20 different events ranging from a mobile folk session visiting the town’s pubs, to a rock bands’ night. There were open rehearsals of brass bands and concert bands, jazz , rock and classical concerts, a variety of music performed in the open air at the town’s Market Cross, and much, much more.
The second LB Oxjam festival was held in March 2010 with a programme of 23 events including a Jazz Club featuring some of the UK’s foremost jazz musicians. There was something for everyone: indie, rock, folk, metal, jazz, classical, big-band, brass, choral, and all presented by local musicians and groups in the town’s venues. The total handed over to Oxfam at the end of the 2010 festival was £4595.82
In 2011 the third festival was again held during March and this time there were 31 events including an Oxjam bands night and open-air music at the Market Cross. The total raised during the 2011 festival was £5,501.18. A CD featuring 19 tracks by local musicians and groups was specially recorded for sale during the festival. It is still available by mail order from Oxjam Leighton Buzzard at 10 Rothschild Road, Linslade, Beds, LU7 2SY for £6 payable to Leighton Buzzard Oxjam Festival Organising Group (Includes £1.00 for postage & packing). Thanks to everyone donating their time and effort, plus free recording and mastering by RedDot Music and sponsorship of production costs by Stefan Muzsnyai, every penny of the £5 CD price goes to Oxfam.
The 2012 Oxjam festival was a huge success with 37 events running throughout the 3 weeks from 10th to the 31st March. There was the usual mix of concerts, recitals, open mic nights and open rehearsals, plus this year some new events, such as evenings of Rogers and Hammerstein and Poetry and Ballads, and the Linsdale Singers’ Spring Concert, and returning contributors like the Leighton-Linslade Concert Band and the Oxjam Jazz Club. This last event featured a group of internationally renowned Latin jazz musicians, put together specially by Arnie Somogyi, along with the Gilbert Inglefield Samba band, the Cedars Upper School jazz band, and Latin American food and drinks courtesy of the Cedars School Association. The night was a sell-out and £2300 was shared equally between the school’s music fund and Oxjam.
The 2013 festival ran from Friday 8th until Sunday 31st March with a few events before and after. It was another great success and raised £6,010.28 for Oxfam.
The 2014 festival is now underway and promises to include a wide range of styles and musical genres. There are over 30 events listed under Festival Programme, but keep checking because further events are still being added!
Gill and Andrew King