Could this be the end for Oxjam festival in Leighton Buzzard?

Oxjam Festival Leighton Buzzard
Oxjam Festival Leighton Buzzard

Leighton Buzzard’s Oxjam festival, which has raised £55,000 for Oxfam since it started 10 years ago, will not be held in 2019 if new blood isn’t found to take over organisational duties.

The amount of time and effort to coordinate the festival has increased, but all the organisers of the 2018 event have been involved for many years and feel that it is time to take a break.

Oxjam 2018

Oxjam 2018

Anyone interested in taking over the reins should attend an Oxjam celebration event on Saturday, October 27 at the Leighton Buzzard Brewery on the Harmill Estate off Grovebury Road, starting at 7.30pm.

This will be a chance to reflect on all the years of the festival, to thank everyone who has been involved and to chat to anyone interested in continuing Leighton Buzzard Oxjam – whether as a festival or just a one-day event.

The event dates back to 2007 when two musicians were chatting at a social event in town about the openings for local bands and soloists to perform in the area.

One of them, Andrew King, who played in an electric barn-dance band called Stömp mentioned that he had taken part in a charity musical event held in Buckingham the previous year.

It was in aid of Oxfam and was part of a new scheme to involve musicians in raising money and awareness of the charity’s work with the snappy title of “Oxjam”. This struck a chord with the other, Edmund Flach, who was playing in the covers band “Paradox” at the time and they both agreed to organise an event in Leighton Buzzard as part of Oxjam.

And so it was that on the evening of Friday, October 19, 2007 a barn dance was held at Cedars Upper School featuring Stömp plus support from several local bands. The evening raised £864, but more importantly sowed the seed for future events.

The nationwide Oxjam festival was switched from October to March in 2008 and Andrew and Edmund decided that this was too soon to organise another event, but the following year they joined forces with other musician friends and coordinated a host of gigs, recitals and concerts (20 in total) throughout March 2009 which together made up the first Leighton Buzzard Oxjam Festival and raised £3,348.

The festival has continued annually in March, but also extending from late February until well into April in many years. The number and range of events has increased and have included open-air busking, pub gigs, open-mic nights, barn dances and concerts of brass, jazz and classical music. In addition, three CD music compilations featuring local singers and bands have been produced and sold at festival events.

> For more details and to express interest in attending on Saturday and/or finding out more about Oxjam, contact Edmund Flach at edmund.flach@btopenworld.com, 01525 -378262 or via the Oxjam Leighton Buzzard Facebook page.