Katherine Christie Evans is organising Oxjam Walthamstow, a music festival raising money for anti-poverty charity Oxfam
I think most would agree that it is important for everyone to have music in their lives.
It is estimated that London has lost 40 percent of its live music venues in the last eight years – with a particular decline in grassroots music venues, which have fallen victim to high costs, complaints from residents and pressures from developers.
Jo Dipple, chief executive of campaigning group UK Music, voiced concerns that these small venues “are platforms for tomorrow’s headliners and need investment now”. She also said: “On the music economy ladder, there must be accessible rungs at the bottom.”
As an emerging female musician I myself have experienced how difficult it is to find opportunities to play, and meet other local musicians. I recently filmed a music video opposite Blackhorse Road Station, using as a backdrop the vibrant striped building, The Standard, that I’m sure many are familiar with. An artwork created by Irish artist Maser and street art collective Wood Street Walls, it’s a brilliant regeneration of a derelict building; but the sad fact remains that this is a lost music venue for locals.
I first heard about Oxjam on Facebook. An advert popped up: “Why not organise your own gig?” So I did. Oxjam is a nationwide initiative by poverty charity Oxfam, which enables anyone to organise a local music event that raises money for charity, while bringing local musicians together.
I have tried to use this one-off, privileged position to curate a night that offers a platform to a diverse range of local talent. There is a wealth of talented female and LGBTQI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, questioning and intersex) people who need to be heard by a wider audience than the music industry currently allows. I hope to provide a stage for minority performers and bring them to a new audience.
Oxjam will be a chance for local musicians to perform without having to sell themselves to business-minded promoters, as is often sadly the way. I’d love local people to get involved; either by volunteering, or coming along on the night. Let’s demonstrate that music-making is crucial to a vibrant community, and celebrate the power of everyday people to come together, create and take control of culture.
Oxjam Walthamstow takes place on Saturday 19th November at Ye Olde Rose & Crown Theatre Pub, Hoe Street E17 4SA. Katherine’s band Velodrome are among the performers. Tickets on the door for a suggested Oxfam donation £5. To get involved: