Thursday, 22 October 2009

Oxfam: meet the Hacienda.

They say volunteering brings out the best in you, but for me it definitely brought out the best in Manchester. It was after signing up to help out at Oxfam's Oxjam festival that I witnessed some of the best past and future sounds Manchester has to offer.

Oxjam Festival was set up to draw attention to the United Nations' Copenhagen Climate Change Conference happening in December. The event was organised in cities across the country, from Bristol to Glasgow, but for 12 hours a selection of the Northern Quarter's favourite venues set the scene for both bands and comedy acts in Manchester.

Although my day involved several hours of stewarding, I managed to catch several acts throughout the day. Jay Krause ( ) played an acoustic at Apotheca, so chilled that a woman behind me used the set to send her baby to sleep. Crooked Rooks( set the scene at Night and Day with jerking melodies and intelligent song writing.

Later in the evening, the Mint Lounge boasted a DJ set by Peter Hook. The former bassist of some of Manchester's most important exports, Joy Division and New Order, played an hour long set. I'll be totally honest by admitting my complete fascination with the Hacienda scene and Factory Records. In recent years, documentaries and biopics have attempted to explain Manchester in the late 1980s/early 1990s but in front of me was someone who had actually lived it. Soppy fanship aside, it was a strong set of old school tracks and heavy beats from a great musician.

Joy Division fan or not, please volunteer for Oxfam by visiting

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