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Matt Henshaw in the Leicester Mercury ...

Oxjam makes the city rock
By Tom_Mack | Posted: October 21, 2013

Grace and the Magic Roots were among the performers at this year's Oxjam
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Music lovers enjoyed a day of live bands as Leicester’s Cultural Quarter bounced to the beat of Oxjam 2013.

Thousands of people, hundreds of bands and mainly mild weather made for a successful event, held to raise cash for Oxfam.

Local bands played throughout Saturday at 13 venues including Curve, The Exchange, Manhattan 34, The Soundhouse, The Shed and on an outdoor stage in Orton Square.

Ascend the Skies, a metal band from Market Harborough, played at The Shed on Saturday night.

Bassist Matthew Pearman said: “We love coming to Leicester to play.

“It’s great to support a charity like this and it’s a chance to play more shows, which is great fun.”

Music fan Lesley Owen-Jones, 48, of Oadby, said: “It’s been a really good day.

“We came along mainly to watch Band Jaxxed at The Exchange and they were great - they showed that old timers can still have life in them!

“We also saw Matt Zara playing guitar at the Ramada Encore and he’s only 14 but he’s brilliant.

“There’s been a great atmosphere all day and the weather was mostly perfect.”

Among the first bands to perform on the open air stage was ska act Iyahkayah and the Mid Dawn.

Guitarist Ashley Newton, said after the performance: “We had a great set. We’ve been going just over a year and it’s good publicity for us.”

They were followed onstage by Grace and the Magic Roots, who performed dressed as Woodland Animals.

Alan Hobbs, 41, from Leicester, said: “I watched the ska band and then Grace and the Magic Roots and they went down really well.

“You could really feel it building up to be a great day.”

Vanessa Adamson, of Birstall, who was there with her family, said: “I love all kinds of music and it’s so nice to see so many different styles.

“I’ve been before and I just love coming to see live music. We saw Matt Henshaw play at The Exchange and he was great.

“He even sang a song for my daughter, Grace.”

Ruth Sanders, 20, of Leicester city centre, spent Saturday morning handing out leaflets with her friends.

She said: “We’re in the Oxfam Society at the University of Leicester so we came down to volunteer and it’s been great.

“There are lots of brilliant unsigned acts in Leicester and it’s been really good fun.”

Other bands performing during the day included Oh Ruin, The North from Sheffield, Vanishing Point, The Activators, Midnight Wire and Mid Beats, while some venues also had performances of poetry and dance.

There was also an Oxjam market with more than 50 stalls in Orton Square selling food, arts and crafts.

Organiser Anna Webb said she expects the event to have raised about £10,000.

She said: “It was great and every venue was packed out.

“It was twice as good as previous years and the weather was great.

“Even when we had a quick downpour people didn’t run off home - they just ducked under the cover of the Curve and waited it out.

“We had really great bands and people came from all over.”

• Click here see our gallery of pictures from Oxjam Leicester 2013.

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