Next week sees the return of Glastonbury which, with around 165,000 attendees, is the biggest festival of contemporary performing arts in the world. Whilst you may have missed out on tickets this year and are resigning yourself to just a May Ball – perhaps featuring Laura Mvula, Stornoway (again…) or even the Venga Boys this year – don’t despair. A group of students, as part of the newly formed ‘Below Board Events Presents’ initiative hope to kick off the 9th Week celebrations with a pre-Glasto warm-up for this year’s Glastonbury Emerging Talent winners, M+A. Down in Cellar, expect less dirt, but a whole lot more grime.
The event is only one of two warm-up gigs for the Italian-based electronic pop trio before they head over to Somerset where they are performing a trio of performances, including one down the infamous ‘Rabbit Hole’ which last year played host to Fatboy Slim, Dermot O’Leary, and frequently invites surprise guest slots with last year’s rumours infamously including Daft Punk and even David Bowie on the decks.
Support at Cellar also comes from Northeast Corridor, straight off the back of their headline O2 Academy performance, and newly formed indie folk outfit Jack & the Giants, who have just released their debut EP and have plans for a London summer tour.
‘Below Board’ is the test-run for a much more extensive group of gigs, once a fortnight, at a variety of venues starting next Michaelmas. It is the brainchild of the aforementioned Jack & the Giants who believe that Oxford student musicians should be encouraged to showcase their talents and launch themselves into the vibrant local music scene. As Nick Hampson, lead singer of Northeast Corridor, told us: “Oxford is an incredible place to be making music right now. There are so many independent venues giving time and audiences to new and up-and-coming artists, and there is such an incredible diversity of music being made.” Jack Chown of Jack & the Giants added: “This is definitely a scene that Oxford students should make the most of.”
Borrowing their formula from the ‘Communion Presents…’ sessions which launched the careers of Ben Howard, Nick Mulvey and Michael Kiwanuka (to name a few) each fortnight will play host to a more established headline act alongside two student acts being featured at variety of venues.
“It’s about creating an artistic community,” Chown adds, “one which can encourage one another to keep creating.” With plans to incorporate these showcases into other avenues, such as the recent spoken word evening at the Wheatsheaf that saw improvised musical accompaniment, it seems that next year should be a cracking one for those students performing around the local scene.
In the meantime, get down to Cellar on Monday of 9th Week to get this exciting new venture off the ground. For full details visit https://www.facebook.com/events/333825080101458/ and if you have any suggestions or simply want to play get in contact at [email protected]