As the dust settles on the South Downs following our mighty Trailwalker event at the end of September, here’s the season highlights in full.
Oxfam’s 2019 festival season has been our biggest and best yet, and interest in volunteering for Oxfam at a festival has grown significantly year on year, increasing a staggering five-fold since 2017.
Pink confetti falling over crowd at Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam
Oxfam festivals in numbers:
In 2019 we delivered at a total of 17 festivals, and raised close to £1 million that will go directly towards ending poverty for good. We had one new addition this year to the portfolio: The Long Road -a country, Americana, and roots festival in early September. After a great festival together, we are really looking forward to continuing our relationship with Universal Music Live in 2020!
Glastonbury also returned this season after its fallow year, and we took more volunteers than ever before to support the festival’s evolving operations. Our work on the ground expanded to include a few new gates, and a brand-new pass out system.
Oxfam volunteers. Credit Zara Canfield/Oxfam & Sam Baggette/Oxfam
As always, our onsite presence covers a variety of key stewarding positions, all of which keep the festival going public safe to enjoy themselves. Whether you have lost your group, need to locate somewhere onsite, or need medical attention, speak to anyone in an orange Oxfam tabard and you’ll be sure to get both reliable and friendly assistance.
Challenging fast fashion:
At Download this year we launched Second Hand September our summer campaign tackling the impact of throwaway fashion by asking the public to pledge not to buy any new clothes for 30 days. The ‘biblical rain’ at the festival was simply too much for many, but it did not deter our campaigners who fought the mud, and torrential downpours to smash the signup targets.
Oxfam taking part in Extinction Rebellion march during Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam
At Glastonbury we worked with graphic artist, and print maker Anthony Burrill and the Giant Triplets to produce unique garments that festival goers could print and wear. This helped spread the re-use, re-wear, recycle message as far and wide as possible. We were also hugely grateful to receive celebrity clothing donations that were sold through the online shop from Kylie, Johnny Marr, Vampire Weekend, Billie Eilish, Loyle Carner and The Cure.
Sceenprinting at Glastonbury Festival 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam
We then took the campaign to Latitude, WOMAD and Leeds helping us to connect the dots with our Festival Shop colleagues, and encouraging all festival-goers to shop second-hand. Throughout the summer we reached over 20,000 festival goers all of whom made a stand against fast fashion by pledging not to buy any new clothing for 30 days. Meanwhile, our festival second-hand shops raised an impressive £250,000 at a total of eight festivals, over £50,000 up on last year.
Oxfam shop at Glastonbury 2019. Credit Sam Baggette/Oxfam
The weather this season:
This season provided the perfect reminder of just how unpredictable the British summer can be, and also demonstrated the wonderful dedication our volunteer community. Saturday afternoon at Glastonbury was unparalleled as temperatures soared well into the 30°C’s, whilst in early August our esteemed partners at Boardmasters were unfortunately forced to cancel, due to the threat of high winds. On the same weekend at Boomtown, gales ripped up tents in the Oxfield, but the sense of community remained resolute and a temporary dormitory was created in our marquee, while more tents and sleeping bags were rushed down from Oxfam House, to ensure that those who lost their tents had somewhere warm and dry to sleep.
Boardmasters morning team. Credit Claire Coleman/Oxfam
Over the weekend of 21-22 September, we held the epic endurance event Trailwalker, partnering with the Queens Gurkha Signals and Gurkha Welfare Trust. After the cancellation of last year’s event due to excessive heat, it was with great pride and relief to see this epic 100km trek across the South Downs go ahead. And what an event it was, with close to 400 highly dedicated teams of four taking on this gruelling challenge to raise close to £1 million. Words fail me on how the QGS A team managed to complete the course in 10h 25m, whilst each of the 12 check points along the course had a party festival atmosphere all their own, welcoming each participant through with a cheer to help drive them on through towards the final furlong at Brighton Race Course.
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff.
Trailwalker 2019 volunteers. Credit Mike Green/Oxfam
Thanks to our dedicated volunteers and staff:
In 2019 we recruited over 6,500 volunteers to support on a broad range of roles, and this year we saw more new supporters than ever before. Meanwhile, over the last 5 years the proportion of people choosing to volunteer for more than one festival per year has also grown and grown, and more than 10% of volunteers who volunteered in 2015 have returned every year since.
Lastly, everyone here at Oxfam wants to send a huge and heartfelt thank you to every single one of our amazing volunteers whether you were a steward, campaigner, or shop volunteer. Behind the scenes we must also not forget the Oxfam office team and outstanding coordinators that make it all happen. You are the essential bedrock of everything we do, and we are incredibly grateful for all your hard work.