OXJAM – Oxfam Australia’s month-long party against poverty – is booming, and JB are one of the campaign’s proud sponsors. We threw some questions to Matt Okine, the 2017 Ambassador, to find out how you can help alleviate poverty by hosting your own gig.

Last year, the person in your pozzie was the awesome Megan Washington; did you pick up any tips from her stint as to how to be a Very Good OXJAM Ambassador?

Megan and I have known each other since 2002 when we did an acting course together. I was in awe of her then and nothing’s changed since…

Is this year’s spotlighted campaign – Right to Refuge, which seeks to increase community activism and awareness around those seeing refuge in Australia – particularly close to your heart?

When I was eight years old, I remember feeling deeply ashamed to find out that my dad was an immigrant because of how poorly immigrants were being portrayed by the media in this country at the time. And he came to Australia on a university scholarship! We need to be more aware of how impactful our actions to new Australians are, for younger generations, especially when those arriving are bound to provide so much to our country. Everybody seeking a better life – especially those in immediate danger – deserve respect, and the right to not be demonized.

You’ve got a bunch of gig tips on the OXJAM site (bigger doesn’t necessarily equal better; get your venue basics organised; look after everyone, including yourself) – is there any advice on there you haven’t taken yourself at one time or another?

Look – I’ve hosted a few gigs in my time when my eyes were bigger than my stomach, no doubt. And I’ve also thought I was doing the right thing by assuming I could do sound and perform at the same time. How I was so deluded I’ll never know… but that’s why I made those mistakes. So you don’t have to!

Have you pencilled any particular gigs into your diary yet?

I was at the Lansdowne the other night and one of the bartenders told me about a gig he was throwing called “Dirty & Flirty” on August 25. It’s awesome to see people taking up this mad challenge for a good cause.

OXJAM is happening right now – head to the festival’s site for all the details on gigs being held, and now you can participate.

Header image credit: Maureen Bathgate/OxfamAUS.