If you can imagine 50000 people, an enormous stadium, the biggest band in the world, crazy lights, pyrotechnics… and people dressed as carrots and tacos, then you can only begin to imagine the weekend of concerts that Coldplay invited Oxfam to in Sydney.
Coldplay, as most of you would be aware, are one of Oxfam’s greatest and most influential supporters globally, and were lovely enough to invite along some of Sydney’s most vibrant Oxfam volunteers, to spread the message of the GROW campaign, with the theme of the night educating the masses about Land Grabs. It was a partnership between Oxfam in Australia and Oxfam UK, to bring to light this contemporary issue of social and environmental injustice.
As one of the volunteers myself, it was such a fantastic experience, to see the amount of people in the crowd that were wanting to learn more about this issue and sign the petition that will be sent to the World Bank in April, to hopefully place a freeze on lending for six months and allow positive action to be taken. A big help for us out there pounding the pavement, was that any mention of Coldplays support for the campaign immediately had people interested and willing to support. I guess it is true that Coldplay fans are socially aware, hopeful of change and willing to support anything Chris Martin puts his name too.
In my opinion, all the volunteers got immersed in the cause and had a great time themselves, with an abundance of smiles and some even taking their support to the next level by dressing as carrots, bananas, tacos and tomatoes. The crowd loved this aspect, because let’s be honest who doesn’t want to have their photo taken with a taco?? People were not only signing a petition, they were learning fun facts, to later impress their friends with, about the important work of the GROW campaign (did you know that bananas are grown in 130 countries across the tropics, with 90% produced and consumed by small scale farmers who currently need support to grow locally).
I think the evening was a great success for Oxfam, all the volunteers were motivated to educate and spread the word about the issue of Land Grabs to thousands of people in Sydney, the crowd got to have fun and join the global community of activists on social media with some fun snaps and of course to finish the evening off with the visual and audible spectacular that is a Coldplay concert was something very special and memorable for all of us volunteers!!! Let’s hope they come back again soon.
by Patrick Cooper, Oxfam Australia volunteer.