Getting to volunteer with Oxfam at Coldplay the other day was amazing! I was a super long weekend, but a lot of fun.
My Sunday started with having to move out of my summer dorm room on campus and bring everything back home, summer housing had ended and I decided just to go home for a little instead of living in transitional housing on campus.
After packing my car and leaving the hill at 8:00am I headed into Boston (the only place I could find with a Kinko’s open at 9:00am on a Sunday. I had to print out a few color flyers for the Coldplay show that explained why these tours are so beneficial to Oxfam America. I made a map using ArcGIS that displayed all the cities Oxfam had traveled to in the US because of Coldplay, talked about a few key volunteers that came to us through Coldplay including former employees and Action Corps Organizers, and explained that because of Coldplay concerts, Oxfam’s constituency base had grown by 100,000 supporters – and guess what, Coldplay actually got to see this handout!
After that I headed to L.L.Bean (my part-time job this summer) and worked until 3:00pm and then headed start to the Garden for the show. At first I could find the other volunteers and was getting a little nervous, but then I saw a few familiar faces from the Boston Action Corps and went to sit with them until Rachel arrived. Rachel has been the Oxfam Tour Coordinator traveling with the band. Every few nights she travels from city to city with the other roadies and leads a team of Oxfam volunteers. I have been communication with her through e-mail and had spoken to her on the phone once, but it was really exciting to finally meet her and get to see what she’s been doing.
Rachel rounded up all us volunteers and brought us in through security to the venue. Once inside she began to brief all of us volunteers, first with some quick ice breakers and then jumping into more in depth explanations about Oxfam, GROW, and canvasing. She did a great job at making all the volunteers feel excited and ready to talk about GROW (even through she had to yell over Marina and the Diamond’s sound check). Then the door’s opened.
Concert goers started pouring in and carrots, peas, bananas, chilies, tomatoes, and ears of corn started talking to them about food injustice and our ability to end world hunger. Everyone was really responsive to our message. Some already knew about Oxfam (often through Coldplay and Chris Martin’s previous involvement with the Make Trade Fair Campaign), others supported our message once they listened, and others were just pumped to take some goofy pictures with some veggies. All the volunteers continued canvasing for about 2 hours and then it was time to clean-up and see the show, but before seeing the show myself and a few other Oxfam employees helped Rachel bring all the materials backstage and then got ready to meet Coldplay!
Chris, Will, Guy, and Jonny all shook our hands and introduced themselves and we took a quick picture. Then it was time for them to go on stage. We all rushed back to our seats to see the show and saw the guys we had just taken a picture with preforming in front of 17,000 people.
The show was great! They really try to interact with the crowd always calling out to everyone in the audience, not just going through their sets of music. Each and every audience member also got to be a part of the show through our light-up wrist bands. Chris also wore the Oxfam logo on his shirt, like he’s been doing for every show, which I find super cool.
The next day I came into the Oxfam office in the morning and then got to do it all over again at night! After two nights we got over 850 sign-ups in Boston – which is amazing. As of now we just jumped over 10,000 Oxfam America sign-ups for the Mylo Xyloto tour!
I took a bunch of pictures, which will be coming soon, but until then be sure to check out the Oxfam on Tour Photos facebook page to see how the night went!