My Oxjam life started in March this year after seeing an ad looking for someone with Sales and Marketing experience and a keen interest in live music. I read on and realised it was a voluntary position and helping to raise funds through helping to organise a live music festival. Mike Chisholm the owner of Artistic Echoes and takeover manager for Oxjam remarked to me that he’d always wanted to be like Michael Eavis of Worthy farm fame…..sounded like a guy that had some connections with bands I’d not heard before…..and so I took a gamble and got involved – no regrets whatsoever! Over the following months regular meetings at the Swan with 2 Necks and MASH guru finalised in us organising 40 bands in 2 days around Macclesfield town centre in 12 different venues and creating a music festival feel in the town centre – the intention was to create a festival vibe in the town centre with each of the venues being classed as a ‘stage’ to showcase some of the best new and long established live acts. Bloody hell I learnt a lot along the way….AND had a great deal of fun leading upto and during the takeover weekend so thanks everyone for helping out.
As I couldn’t be everywhere at the festival being one of the volunteering team members organising it I thought I’d run down the bands I managed to catch and the shenanigans that followed. But let’s be clear here! ALL THE BANDS involed need a massive round of applause! Thanks guys.
We started the day on Saturday by setting up the Town hall stage (admittedly only a 3m x 3m gazebo kindly leant to us by Trackside studios rather than Macc’s answer to the pyramid stage but you’ve gotta dream a bit haven’t you?….maybe next year we can blag a full size stage from somewhere?) The town hall location was confirmed 5 days before the event started so was more about helping to promote the daytime and evenings events/venues and being a central point for anyone to ask questions about what we were upto including treasure hunt, face paints, pin the tail on the ox and win some of Mrs P’s jam along with some great music. As it was we managed to collect donations there and thanks to the last minute lending of a PA by Trackside Studios (Stu @ trackside is a bloody legend!) we showcased some amazing acts including Alistair Bower, Pieter Egriega, Charli White, Josh Wood, Andy ‘Bleeding Hands’ Hughes and even I got a chance to have a singsong with Bleeding Hands inviting me to drop some vocals on some of my favourite tunes at the end of the afternoon including Don’t Look back in Anger, Bittersweet symphony and Sally Cinnamon.
I’m lucky that many of the bands we booked were favourites of mine too and the others I hadn’t heard were also amazing! Whilst I couldn’t be at a lot of my favourite acts to hear them live, I managed to catch the following bands:
@Ronnie’s Bar– It felt like there was a shift in attention at a great new venue that needed some shazam from a bar brand that had been around for years and hosted many of our local talent over the last decade or so – enter stage right the great Ronnielio and Oxjam collaboration to sprinkle some magic on Macclesfield on a Saturday night.
The Christophers – a blistering set including all their classic tunes and some rocknroll bass stance posing from Steve on the top of the speaker stack! The Christophers were always going to get the dance floor filled and they didn’t disappoint as the headline act for the focal venue of Oxjam 2014. Great Band. Stunning Performance. Catch them live soon! Thanks Chris, Steve and Phil for all your hard work!
Hot Vestry – As I’m typing this Hot Vestry have just been announced to support the Charlatans in 2015 – this is after I was banging on to brothers Joe and Harry from the band on Saturday night about how it’s great that Tim Burgess has supported the band for the last couple of years with his Tim Peaks Diner including at Barnaby 2014. They played an excellent set at Oxjam Macc and I’m really looking forward to seeing them play the albert hall supporting one of my favourite bands The Charlatans in 2015.
The Carvettis – Now here’s a band worth keeping your eye on! The have a great confidence about them and I’d best describe their sound as the rhythm and indie swagger of the Bluetones early days with the vivacious and barefaced confidence that Oasis had in their debut days – great job guys you really got the crowd going and clearly have a following as loads of people were coming to see you! Check the Carvettis out on soundcloud.
The Great Escape – this band of seasoned rockers were throwing out some perfect renditions of some fantastic classics, from Radiohead, Rolling Stones, The Who, The Knack and many more. A perfect way of getting the crowd in there early doors in the rocknroll mood and to get the music pumping out down mill street. I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for when they are playing next.
@Porter’s Prince of Wales
The Chinese Marbles – the majority of the marbles are good mates of mine and it was really good to see Jo, Roge, Fats, Jamie et al. bringing a proper party atmosphere into the pub that night – loads of familiar faces were getting down to Stevie Wonders ‘Superstition’ when I popped in to catch a couple of songs of theirs – anyone not at least tapping their feet in there needed to check their CCTV cause their boogie had been half inched!
Echo report – I managed to catch a couple of tunes by this band – I’d never seen them before and Pete the lead singer had been instrumental in making sure the night at Porters went off with a bang. Thanks mate! They finished their set with a classic cover of Kylie’s ‘Can’t get you out of my head’ – a real crowd pleaser and set the night up well and ready for the Chinese Marbles.
Kindest of thieves @ Society, Duke Court – a great sounding two piece with a great sense of style – those shoes were killer! I only had chance to catch one track but you can find more of their stuff on soundcloud they have a great sound and worth looking up!
Matt Cotterill (I caught the MASH set although Matt also played earlier with Joe Roberts at Snowgoose as well) – I popped into MASH with a slight diversion of Waters Green to see Tel for a Fish Cake and a chip bap….I needed that to see me through to the early hours!! whilst I was outside munching on it chatting to two chaps about the night of music we had in store I said “there are some great acts on in MASH tonight you know!” then some guy overheard us just inside MASH and shouted out “yeah , there’s one on now ….Matt Cotterill!” – needless to say I took my chips inside to enjoy the music – Matt sounded great in MASH!
@Town Hall Stage – we were lucky enough that it stayed dry for long enough so we could some outdoor fun on Saturday as well – and loads of artists were up for it too….it was a similar format to what we did at treacle market but was more of a drop in zone for families as well to learn more about what was going on….play some games and listen to some great music from the following artists. I caught most of the acts but I was popping in and out of all the venues in the day as well….. so I’m sorry if I missed anyone off!
First up we had an unofficial start to the day with an elderly gent (around 85-90) who just want to have a play and get involved in the festival….that gent was blues master Bill Boston and he played my guitar whilst we were setting up at about 9am….so unfortunately not many people were about to witness the classic blues he plucked out on the guitar with a bit of Spanish too! Great bloke!
Alistair Bower – played for us first at Treacle as well and does a mix of his own stuff and covers – a great voice and very musically talented – well done mate!
Pieter Egriega – Pieter is a seasoned pro who is often found playing in The Macc pub with his mates well worth catching him play! He played the town hall before heading over to the Monocle
Tim Woodhouse – with an incredibly dry sense of humour I met Tim for the first time at the weekend – he’s a popular guy around the music scene and plays great tunes and guitar – thanks for taking part Tim!
Josh Wood – Josh is a young lad and had played earlier at DMJ vintage ….. he found out we were playing at the town hall and said he was up for it…..boy are we glad he did he is a talented lad …..keep your eye on him!
Charli White – we got in touch with Charli 3 days before the start of the weekend on a recommendation from Pete of Echo Report – she played 3 times for us over the weekend – with an angelic voice and great guitar skills she’s got lots of talent and she also made it onto the front cover of this weeks Macc express flying the Oxjam flag! Bet she helped to sell a load of extra copies …….<all relatives friends and fans all rush out and buy a copy!>
Andy Hughes….Bleeding Hands – this guy needs little introduction he knows lots of people in the local scene and has dedicated his recent years to his music – he’s got a great grit about his voice and a raw determination that comes through his music and his personality – he played a mix of covers for the town hall stage and a few of his own ….. he invited me to join on vocals too…..loved it! Hear some of his stuff here.
Anthony Dalton – by day he’s making fantastic artisan bread for Nom Nom Bread but by night he’s grinding his axe and banging out tunes – over the years he’s been solo and in a number of bands – you can tell he loves to perform songs and does a mixture of covers and his own material. He played twice at the weekend and I managed to catch his set at the swan on Sunday, with Give me Hope Joanna and AIn’t no sunshine being two of the classics.
The Hill Poo Monkeys – This was a special performance…..the band were 80% of the Hot Bananas and Fil Hills daughter Lilly is the Lead singer – She’s only 11 years old and she performed to a packed crowd at MASH Guru like she’d been doing it for 15 years! She’s got a great voice and does a great mix of covers old and new. Towards the end she invited some of the kids that had come to see her (my daughter included) to join her on stage and have go at singing along. A real star and mature beyond her years – well done Lilly….and the band were pretty good too! : )
Michael Chisholm – Mike is the Takeover Manager of Oxjam and also performs spoken word and poetry – he performed a 15 minute slot just before Glass Ankle at MASH on Sunday – My favourite is ‘I’m Batman’ it’s a biographical piece about batman but has a slant which is quite funny. Check it out here.
Glass Ankle – I bought their EP Fragments earlier on in the year and its a cracker – it’s bookend tracks Poor Boy and One of them are spectacular – somewhere between Radiohead but more Thom Yorkes solo stuff and heavy dose of Belle and Sebastian – find out where they are playing live next and go and see them you won’t regret it! Here’s their latest video – ‘Unlike you’
Vicars of Invention – Just Like Mike had chance to perform at the festival and I had a chance to bang out a few tunes at the town hall its great when people at the centre of the virtual Oxjam team can have a chance to get involved. Pete from MASH guru has helped a lot along the way – he’s also no stranger to performing in a band of musical brothers….. or vicars…..Vicars of Invention are splendid running through an unlimited repertoire of jazz versions of rock and pop classics! including Smells Like Teen Spirit and Jump….catch them live at your next opportunity.
Thanks go to the Oxjam evening venues and staff for producing amazing nights! Without their involvement we’d have had no places for all this talent to shine and also no beer and coffee behind the counter:
MASH Guru – thanks to Jane and Pete for their patience throughout the months leading upto Oxjam – they staged the most bands out of all the evening venues and also made it possible for us to promote and collect donations at Treacle Market 3 weeks before the event.
Society (Dukes court) – the new kid on the block, Simon (aided perfectly by Tilly nice one mate!) was very receptive to our ideas and managed to get the newly refurbished bar ready for the Oxjam festival – hope you enjoyed the event Simon
Ronnies – having recently relocated near to the bus station to a 500 capacity venue there was no other choice for the central venue for the festival – our job was to get as many people as possible in there on the Saturday night! Thanks to Ronnie for being accommodating and having similar vision to us for this great venue for the festival. A SPECIAL mention goes to the sound guys and tech specialists here – Mon Duncalf @ Demon Recording and Simon for pulling out all the stops to help!
Porters – I longstanding favourite for many a maxonian and a great bar for live music and creating a live vibe – they even put on some free food too! Special Thanks to Pete from Echo Report for co-ordinating the whole night…..you took a huge weight off our shoulders mate!
The Swan with 2 Necks – acted as our HQ for the duration letting us store a lot of equipment and collateral along the way and also played host to some amazing acts as part of Oxjam on the Sunday, welcoming Kids and families throughout the day – thanks Andy and your team.
And also to the fantastic daytime venues:
The Macc – a great little pub which houses lots of locals (and Staff) that love music and perform in there regularly with a jam here and there!
Snowgoose – I couldn’t make it down to the Macc and Snowgoose to enjoy the Music on Saturday because I was assigned to the top of town but the team members from Oxjam said it was fantastic…..acts I’d love to catch soon – Maisie Johnson, Helen Walford, Charlie Hadfield and Matt Cotterill along with Joe Roberts. Snowgoose has a great ski lodge vibe about it that always has live acts on. Good boozer!
The Coffee Shops included:
The Monocle, Mel and Chris are both lovers of Music and Chris is known to perform in skiffle bands around town…..they were very supportive and is one of my favourite places to hang out and work from time to time. Pop in if you haven’t already! They ended the day with 4 acts when they were only expecting to have 2 ….thanks guys!
Jack Sevens – David the owner there was very receptive to having involvement in the Oxjam Takeover and setup a corner in his courtyard under cover and hosted Kevin Rochford and Tim Woodhouse there on the Saturday. its a great little suntrap on good weather days and also has a beautiful gallery area inside when its not so sunny.
Next up opposite the library is Plums Kitchen – I was glad they wanted to be involved as they serve up amazing food – Lee’s sandwiches are absolutely fantastic….they have specials on all the time and they are great people as well – thanks guys.
We also had 2 retail shops involved one of them was the Oxfam shop on Mill Street and DMJ Vintage. DMJ Vintage have a mix of music related memorabilia, Vintage furniture and record players and a wide variety of new and used Vinyl and is also home to founder member of Macclesfield Record Club, Simon. He’s well into his music and has plenty of stories to tell…..I’m a regular customer and love popping in for a bit of banter most weeks.
we got our rollerbanner done here too!
There are lots of things we couldn’t have done for free without help from people but we needed help from local businesses as well….and by far and beyond the star of the show and the most required partnership for any sizable charity event is getting a good dependable print partner on-board. We dropped very lucky with that one when I spoke to Laserline MD, Robin (a great guy with a good business head on his shoulders! And also a big lover of music too! Perfect combination.) and they have done a blog about exactly how they helped our mission. I seriously think we would have really struggled to promote the festival in the way we did without their help! Social media does a good job of promoting but it needs to be backed up with a solid presence of posters/leaflets/banners/ and all-round visibility in the town centre. All that costs and Laserline helped make that realistic and flexed there industry experienced muscles and creative flair to produce some unique print solutions like our pop up banner and the Plectrumbola which has over 70 prizes to be won around the town centre – all printed on cool commemorative Oxjammacc Plectrums courtesy of their partner Plectrum Picker.
That brings me on to the generous donations of prizes we managed to blag for the Plectrumbola and prizes for the kids games. All these companies/individuals donated in some way to the cause: New Order, Man Utd, Roe11 Hairdressers, RonTikis, Cheshire Gap, Monocle Deli, Plums Kitchen, Flour Water Salt, Abruzzo, Marcmakescomics, DW Sports, Rumour Lingerie, John Douglas, Ant Mulryan, N Carter Butchers, High St Chippy, Trackside, Piccadilly Records, Neil Alexander, Mrs P Jams, Margin Music, Brewtique, Bathery, Steven Young, Artstore, Magick Otters, DMJ vintage, Red Willow, Society Café, For Me and for you, LCA photography and more ….
Then comes the way we capture the atmosphere on film and for me there was only one local photographer that was the man for the job…..afterall he was snapping the Stone Roses at the Empress Ballroom in ’89 ! …..and only went and brought all his snapping mates too so we ended up with the whole of the Maccarrazzi! Ant Mulryan was that guy at Empress Ballroom in 89 and our chosen photography partner initially and when we knew we needed more we didn’t have far to go as we have so much creative photography talent in the area. Just check out some of the snaps from Simon Brown, Ragphotography, Steve Thornhill, Irene Lea and Ant himself….and I’m sure more will appear as the week goes on – thanks for the enthusiasm guys and thanks for getting along with your keen eye and ability to capture a moment on film!
And to the people who helped store things (The Swan, The Council, Brewtique and Margin Music), carry stuff, paint faces (Zaina! Thanks), design posters (my Bro, Nick), paint/chalk black boards to help guide people around town (Charlie, Marc, Bez), appear on radio (Charlie again!), run errands and generally help out (Peter Robinson), – you were all part of a virtual team and helped massively so thank you!
So from us all at team OxjamMacc2014 (That’s Suzanne, Amy, Keith, Mike and Myself) Thank you and see you next year!