Oxjam Cardiff Takeover: The Inside Story


On Sunday, Oxjam will stage its latest takeover in Cardiff, with bands including The People The Poet, Breathe In The Silence and Tree Of Wolves set to tread the boards at Clwb Ifor Bach, Undertone, The Moon Club, Four Bars and the Full Moon. Here, Oxjam Cardiff Takeover Manager Sian Walden talks us through what’s set to be a day to remember.

My first experience with Oxjam was last year’s Cardiff Takeover. I’m Australian and had just moved to the city a couple of months beforehand. It was a case of ‘What’s this festival, what’s it all about?’ I really wanted to get involved as it brings together two things that I’m really passionate about: local, emerging music and volunteering for those less fortunate and finding out how we can help. And, what a great way to help, really.

The Cause

Oxfam does lots of work throughout the world supporting aid and campaigning. They’re a figurehead for anything to do with things like sanitation, water, or providing tanks and toilets in areas of disaster. This year, money raised will also help to fight the ongoing ebola crisis. We’ve named our stages after a number of causes – Make Poverty History, Lift Lives For Good, Make Trade Fair, Control Arms and Crisis Appeals – in order to create awareness of the work they do.

The Line Up

The line up is an amalgamation of a list of bands that myself and the production team put together. We included some of our favourite Cardiff bands and also groups that we hadn’t had a chance to see yet. We went through and put together a festival that we’d like to attend, featuring bands that we think Cardiff should be seeing and celebrating.

Contacting those bands was a really rewarding experience, too, even if they couldn’t play. Some who have had to miss it were devastated and often had great reasons because they’re doing really successful things. A lot of them weren’t able to play because they were out on tour or they had big shows coming up. Even though it was disappointing for us it was a really proud moment – they can’t play, but only because they’re doing so well.

We’ve got loads of great bands who are a part of it this year and it’s a big thing in their diary. We were also approached by acts who wanted to play because they understand where Oxjam sits in the music industry and how the Takeover is such a part of the music calendar in Cardiff and all over the UK. It’s grass roots in a lot of ways but has a brand behind it. It’s great exposure but they get to give back, too.

The Venues

We’re taking over on a Sunday rather than a Saturday, but we’re happy with it. We do things a bit differently here! We’ve had a positive response, even though that’s unconventional for a festival. We would have loved to have taken over many more venues but we had to be realistic and make sure that what we were going to pull off was going to be successful and we weren’t going to spread ourselves too far.

We’re all volunteers and we don’t get any funding directly from Oxfam. Any money we spend we have to fundraise ourselves. We go in with zero. Taking on more venues means taking on more cost and more risk. We needed to make it logical. For example: if we did have seven venues, rather than five, would that mean that people were less likely to buy a full day wristband as it’s spread around the city?

We’re really happy and have been really well supported by the venues that are involved. Hopefully in the coming years a larger takeover will be possible. It’s not just 2014. Let’s hope the support keeps growing.

Why You Should Come

We’ve got an amazing line up of bands across the five music venues and some great arts at Urban Tap House’s Fringe Stage – comedy, poetry, creative writing and local film screenings. There are also offers for those with wristbands. Cardiff businesses have come on board and offered discounts to wristband holders, which is great for students especially. The afterparty then will send us all off in style at the end of the night.

Head here to check out the full Oxjam line up and schedule. For more information on the causes supported by the event, head here.


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