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[Exclusive 2008] Coldplaying.com catches up with Coldplay’s Oxfam Tour Coordinator


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Pete Lusby is currently touring the world with Coldplay, promoting Oxfam’s campaigns to concert-goers. Joined by teams of dedicated volunteers, Oxfam are raising awareness of, and advising of how we can all take action to overcome, poverty. Coldplaying.com caught up with Pete, via email, to find out more about life on tour, volunteering and Oxfam.

 

Hi Pete! Thanks for sparing some of your time to answer some questions.

 

How did you become involved with Oxfam?

I'd always known about it from the Oxfam shops in Britain. I learnt more through a Development Studies course at university.. and seeing Oxfam at Glastonbury Festival.

I started out working for Oxfam as an intern. I volunteered full-time for six months from April 2007. I was working as the assistant coordinator on the Oxfam GB Festivals programme. We were doing a similar thing to what we do on band tours. Volunteer campaigners helped over 101'000 festival-goers sign a Climate Change petition. We also had a chill-out/Fairtrade coffee/dance tent and an Oxfam Campervan, at some of the festivals which was great fun to work on. After that I worked on 'Oxjam', Oxfam's fundraising music festival in UK, another band tour with Klaxons in the UK, and then on fundraising challenge events like the London Marathon and Trailwalker. Then Coldplay came up... and I jumped at the chance.

 

What’s your favourite thing about working for Oxfam?

I love meeting people who are enthusiastic about Oxfam's work to fight poverty, whether that's our volunteers or music fans who see us out there at the venues. It's good to know that the work we are doing can make a difference to people's lives. I won't lie to you though.. working at festivals and gigs is a great buzz too.

 

 

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The Strasbourg Volunteers

 

Do Oxfam tour with other bands ?

Yes. I started out with Klaxons in the UK. Oxfam has recently been out with REM too. When we had the launch gig (in an Oxfam shop basement), for Oxjam last year, loads of musicians turned out to play. Hot Chip, Fatboy Slim, The Kooks, Jamelia, Jarvis Cocker, Emmanuel Jal and loads more...

Oxfam has also done tours with Kaiser Chiefs, Editors, and a number of bands in the states including O.A.R. Coldplay is the biggest tour we're on right now though.

 

Do you get to see much of the shows?

It depends.. Sometimes. I usually have some clearing up to do when the volunteers go in to watch the show. I try to get in for 'Cemeteries of London' and 'Chinese Sleep Chant' because I can tell the band enjoy playing those. 'Lovers' is great near the end too. I'm sometimes busy blogging away, so I miss the lot.

 

What has been your favourite moment on tour so far?

So many to choose from, for different reasons. Can I give a few highlights? For Oxfam, it was great to work in places where we don't yet have groups, places like Stockholm, Oslo and Vienna. People were so keen to find out about us. I had a great time in Ottawa too, when we broke our sign-up record!

As far as the show goes.. Brixton was awesome at the start, for the bands comeback. Chicago had a great buzz, when they filmed 'Lost!'. Spain and Italy had an unforgettable atmosphere.. just incredible. Lyon was awesome too.

My favourite moment though, might have been setting up Will Champion for his hat-trick in the second Band v Crew football match in Rotterdam!

 

What’s it like living on a tour bus with the roadies?

Cramped. I call the long trips 'submarine rides' because you don't have much space to move about and the bunks are tiny (but surprisingly comfortable). Some nights, it's a bit like trying to go to sleep in a submarine bouncy castle, with a boom-box next to your head. I'm on Bus 5, with the bands longest serving crew. They like to party. It's cool. They're all really nice people and fun to work with.

 

Do you get chance to explore the cities/countries you’re visiting?

That depends if we have a show the next day or day before.. If we travel in for a show and have another the next day, we bolt after the load-out, to the next city. There are some places we've been, that my only memories are of the inside of an arena. If we have a day off though, I get a chance to explore, usually when i'm out running. Seen some amazing places so far.. Barcelona, Paris, Zurich, Hamburg, Lyon, Rotterdam, Las Vegas, Pemberton, Chicago, NYC, Oklahoma... the list goes on.

 

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Barcelona Volunteers & Pete

 

If I volunteered for a show, what should I expect?

A great night of talking to fans about Oxfam, and then seeing an awesome Coldplay show for free. You'd get a briefing from me, a wristband and an exclusive Oxfam t-shirt on arrival, then do 2-3 hours of campaigning, where you would talk to fans about Oxfam's work and specific campaigns we are running, such as Health and Education For All. Then the free show and a big thank you from me.

 

Are volunteers collecting signatures for the same causes or does it vary from country to country ?

It varies. Last time out with Coldplay, we always had the Make Trade Fair campaign, as the band we're stongly supporting that campaign. Different Oxfam groups now have different campaign priorities, even though MTF is still going strong. So depending where we are, we have a different petition. In US, we have been signing people up to get involved through email updates, so they can take action on a variety of campaigns down the line.

 

 

How are the sign-ups going?

We have well over 50'000 so far! Amazing stuff. Really inspiring. It's great to see so many people wanting to make a difference.

 

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Collecting sign-ups in L.A.

 

Will there be an opportunity to volunteer for the UK shows?

Oxfam GB is recruiting right now for all the UK shows, as is Oxfam Ireland, for Belfast and Dublin. Check out their websites if you want to get involved.

 

 

Thanks for taking time from in between shows to answer our questions.

If you’d like to volunteer for Oxfam in the UK or Ireland, you can apply to Oxfam GB or Oxfam Ireland. You may get the opportunity to attend a Coldplay show!

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