Another month has passed and my Oxjam event is now a mere 12 weeks away. This may seem a long way away, but given the ups and downs of the last month, this seems like no time at all!

It never ceases to amaze me how much can happen in a month! Just when I started to relax, happy in the knowledge that everything was going perfectly to plan, I seemed to be faced with problem after problem.

The first problem started when I spoke to a representative of Patriots MC UK (the club is hosting the event) about fundraising: drinks promotions, free food, everything I suggested was faced with a firm "no". Given that I'm not selling tickets for the event and have set my fundraising target at 500, I was slightly frustrated.

To add to my frustration, I went to an Oxjam meeting with the regional co-ordinators to find out what other events where being organised and to seek some fundraising tips. Surrounded by what looked like eager students, some with more enthusiasm than actual event management knowledge, I felt rather out of place. Conversations suggested that poetry nights and themed gigs, all in Cardiff city centre, were the popular choices mine's being held in a motorcycle club in the South Wales valleys! I decided to ask for advice about fundraising at my event, given that I still didn't have a fundraising plan in place. My heart did sink as I was told that my idea of selling T-Shirts and CDs would be a waste of time, but the suggested alternatives really did scare me: chocolate rice krispie cakes and pin badges... I tried not to be rude as I stifled a laugh to explain again that my gig was being held in a motorcycle club, that my target audience was the more mature rock fan and definitely not the type of people who wear pin badges. As I left, I did begin to wonder whether I had let my heart rule my head, with the Patriot Inn perhaps not the best venue to choose.

I decided to take on-board the advice I received at the Oxjam meeting in so much as I'm restricting the merchandise I produce much more than was initially planned, but still going ahead with the T-Shirt/CD idea. I was very lucky to have a separate discussion with one of the Oxjam regional co-ordinators after she'd had time to think about my unique position. That discussion was a thousand times more helpful, with the biggest idea to come out of that was to hold a fundraising bike wash. As Patriots MC UK hosts a 3-day music festival (Party in the Pub) at the end of August, this seemed to be the ideal time to do it. I've had a provisional yes from a club representative for the fundraiser to go ahead, so I'm currently running around frantically trying to round up volunteers!

The positive streak continued as one of the bands who will be playing at Oxjam had an interview on a local radio station. Not only were they incredibly helpful by mentioning Oxjam and discussing it at length with the DJ, but this also resulted in me receiving an invitation from the station to do an interview on-air nearer the event you can't buy that kind of promotion!

Unfortunately, this positive streak didn't last too long and I finish this update on a slightly depressing note due to personal reasons, one of my bands had to cancel their appearance at Oxjam. Although this is hugely disappointing because they are a great, quirky little band, at least it happened before the T Shirts/CDs were printed, along with any marketing material! As I write this, I've just received an email from another local band interested in playing, so watch this space! What it has taught me, however, is that I need to draw up contracts with all of the bands and the venue, to ensure that there are no other cancellations nearer the date!

I did mention in my last feature that I would announce the bands in this update, but due to the cancellation and no definite replacement on-board yet, I am going to postpone it until the next update. What I will say is that it's looking incredibly diverse. I have an indie band, a Southern rock band, hard rock bands and a thrash metal band there really is something for everyone!

The month ahead is going to be non-stop hard work: with a fundraising bike wash to organise, a marketing plan to put into place and raffle prizes to seek, I get the feeling that 30th October will be upon me all too soon!

Fingers crossed that the next update will be completely positive!

Sian's Oxjam event is taking place on Saturday 30th October 2010 at The Patriot Inn, Crumlin, NP11 4PT from 14:00. For further information, or if you would be interested in helping out, please email Sian at sian-jennifer.smith@roomthirteen.com. A Facebook page has also been set up which can be accessed here