Phil Simmons is a producer and organiser of OXJAM, a charity music event, which raises money for Oxfam. We were so happy he found some time in his busy schedule and chat to us all things OXJAM, music and inspiration…
VIVA: How are you involved in OXJAM?
A friend of mine and fellow Oxjam Chester organiser Simon Jones asked me to DJ at an event he was putting on and we discussed the possibility of putting on a 3 band showcase at the venue we were playing at. I had the idea of turning it into an Oxjam festival and It sort of mushroomed from there hahaha
Before you knew it 3 bands had turned into 5 which then turned into 11 bands and multiple venues!
Myself and Si are responsible for pretty much everything from booking the bands, securing the venues, fundraising, hiring the sound crew etc and the list is growing on a daily basis hahaha
VIVA: Have you been involved before?
Never, this is the first time and every now and again i have a panic and wonder if I’ve bitten off more than i can chew but then i realise it’s a fantastic opportunity to raise money for a great cause.
Oxfam have been great to, they provide loads of support and of course the venues have been really generous.
VIVA: Where/When is it taking place?
It’s taking place on Saturday 22nd and Sunday 23rd October across 2 venues in Chester city centre – Alexanders Live and The Golden Eagle – both lovely venues.
VIVA: What can people expect from the return of OXJAM?
We have some great artists lined up, i’m especially thrilled to welcome Vinny Peculiar to the lineup who has collaborated with Drummond form KLF, Bonehead from Oasis as well as various members of Aztec Camera, The Fall and The Smiths. With 12 albums under his belt his set should be a cracker!
I’m similar excited to hear the new stuff from Chupa Cabra – these lads are just about to release their brilliant second single Mouths to Feed and are starting to really get noticed, they’re all dead young and have a very bright future.
Gosh we have so much great stuff- to name a few Chemistry Lane, Daez, Veyu – the list goes on. 11 bands in total. We had to stop there because we literally can’t fit any more bands onto the bill hahaha. It may be the last chance too to see some of these bands in such intimate venues before they move onto bigger tours. All for a fiver donation too, you’d be mad to miss it!!!!
VIVA: How are you feeling towards the event?
I can’t wait!! It’s a cracking line up. I just hope Chester people come out in force to support the bands who have given their time up for free and Oxjam. It really is a no brainer for a fiver!! I’m just a bit sad i’ll be running around all weekend looking after various stuff so i probably won’t get much of a chance to see most of it hahaha.
What would you say to people who are thinking about attending or donating?
We’ve worked incredibly hard to put a lineup on that will attract people to attend Oxjam Chester so please come to at least one night if you can. All of the volunteers are super passionate about making this a success and raising loads of money for Oxfam, nobody is taking a wage from this. It’s very rare you get to see anywhere near 11 cracking bands over a whole weekend for a fiver, so come on donate!! Text BAND94 £5 to 70070
VIVA: What kind of music are you into?
Everything really, i grew up listening to a lot of classic soul as that what was usually playing on the radio in our house at the time, by the time i got to university in Liverpool in 1993 Cream was getting huge and i’d go there every week , i was a big house and techno head at the time. Lately it’s been all different kinds of music but i still like to seek out less well know artists. I like to go to as many gigs as i can and go to loads of festivals. it’s exciting finding a hidden gem that few people know about!
VIVA: What inspired you get involved with the music industry?
It’s something i’d wanted to do for years but never knew how. i’d never been able to play an instrument well enough to be in a band but was obsessed with the technical side of making music and the emotional response people have to music in general.
About a couple of years ago something happened which made me think life is too short to not follow your dream, so i did.
It’s been tough, the music industry is in a real state of flux at the moment, recording studios are closing down, labels are cutting their rosters and live venues are suffering so probably the worst time ever to want to get involved in a creative industry hahaha but i’m a firm believer that if you work hard enough with enough passion it will work out eventually.
You can follow Phil on Twitter