At 7PM on Wednesday 22nd October 2014, The Load of Hay Pub on Villier Street was taken over by students, fairy lights, live music and one fabulous man in a maid’s outfit – all in the name of charity! Since August this year, a group of roughly twenty students have been organising the music event as part of Oxfam’s Oxjam Music Festival campaign.
Beginning in 2006, Oxjam has become one of the UK’s biggest ongoing festivals. The one thing which sets it apart from all other music events? All profit goes straight to Oxfam! With hard working volunteers at the forefront, Oxjam has so far – since its first year – raised over £2.3 million for Oxfam. So it was amazing to see it making a comeback in Uxbridge!
In the weeks prior to the recent gig, fundraising alone raised over £220, purely through the support (and the loving of cake) of students and locals. Organising the logistics of the event, however, did not go so smoothly. Head Organisers Luke Vogel and Oliver Ronaldson were nearly forced to cancel the event after being told that they were no longer able to hold the event on Brunel’s campus, due to the gig raising money for an external cause. As understandable as this is, this dismissive rule is something that needs to be looked at: students are actively being encouraged to volunteer and get involved with extra-curricular activities, and this should not be restricted to University-based activities.
Despite this set-back, the evening itself was incredibly successful. The pub was packed (believe me, I was serving food – or trying to!), over 450 raffle tickets were sold, student paintings were auctioned off (in some cases with a single bidder insistent on out-bidding himself), the music performances and poetry readings were very well received, and a well-loved pub personality dressed as a maid, hiring himself out to serve tables.
Of course, none of this could have been achieved without the volunteer committee managing the event, as well as all of the support received in being able to light, sound and record the whole evening. And so, on behalf of the committee, a huge thank you is owed to everyone involved – no matter what your role. Whether you performed, donated, helped out, or just came along, every one of you is appreciated.
SO WHAT’S THE TOTAL?
Including fundraising, the final total of the night of £835.47 was announced, the day after the event. YAY! Since then, numerous donations have been added via the online donation page, making the current total £930.47 – an astounding amount of money! But of course, since we’re so close, we can’t give up yet. We’ve got to reach £1000! It’s only £69.53 away – let’s smash this target!
Oxjam In Images, Credit to Lewis Allan Gibson-Grainger