Hebden Bridge plays host to the centre-piece of Oxjam Calderdale 2017 this weekend, Friday night to Sunday (October 27-29), with a series of vibrant live music events showcasing some of the best talent from our local music scene.
Here Steve Desmond takes a look at the back story to Oxjam and picks out a few of the musical highlights festival goers can experience this weekend.
The Oxjam initiative started in 2006 and is essentially an annual music festival that encourages volunteers to set up regional gigs to raise money for global charity Oxfam. Some huge acts have played Oxjam events over the years, including Fatbot Slim, The Horrors, Editors and Hot Chip.
This year there are 38 regional festivals across the UK and Shane Lee (main photo) is the man behind Oxjam Calderdale: “I heard about Oxjam a couple of years when I attended one. It was great to go to an event that not only supported local music but raised money for a great cause.
“This year, in Hebden Bridge alone, we have over 40 artists across three venues so it’s hard to pick out a favourite. Able’s Army have really impressed me live. They’re an indie band from Huddersfield. Bad Pollyanna are brilliant, Hoodoo Operators – they’re like a mix of Johnny Cash, Nick Cave and David Lynch rolled into one - and Fold, they’re destined for big things.”
Oxjam has planned events in Halifax, Sowerby Bridge and Todmorden, but it seemed fitting that Hebden Bridge was the setting for his weekend. Dan Smith, who runs the highly-acclaimed Hebden Bridge Records in the Antiques Centre on Valley Road, agrees.
“The area is a magnet for artistic talent. I see it in my customer base. I have record-buying enthusiasts come far and wide. It’s because there’s an inescapable buzz of creativity here – there’s a constant stream of workshops and events.
“Oxjam has become one of those events. It gives local artists a platform, great exposure and the experience to create and develop. It also helps local businesses by bringing people into the area and it grows community spirit. And ultimately, it helps raise funds for charity, so it really is a win win win!”
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
The venues: The Trades Club, Holme Street
The Town Hall, St George’s Street
The Albert, 1-3 Albert Street
Ones to watch: Hoodoo Operators
John & The Folded Arms
Events run Friday night October 27 and all day Saturday October 28 and Sunday October 29. You can buy all-day or weekend passes at the venues, online or at the Oxfam shop on Market St. Go to www.oxjamcalderdale.org.uk for more details.