On The Road With GROW in Glasgow
Hello, Esme here, tour coordinator for the UK leg of the tour. I’m basically like Pete but woman-shaped. Speaking of Pete, expect to see an appearance back on the blog very soon…
So, we’re back on the road with Coldplay! And this time we’re taking the GROW campaign to audiences around the world.
First stop was Glasgow on Saturday night. But before we could head out on the tour bus, there was packing to be done.
Mrs Peanut and Mr Corn hit the road
A corn on the cob, a hotdog, a peanut and a slice of pizza are not usually the first things you’d cram in your suitcase when heading off for a spot of globetrotting. Especially not when that globetrotting is a gig tour with one of the UK’s biggest bands.
But this is no ordinary type of packing.
Oxfam is taking its new food justice campaign GROW on the road with Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto tour. As Oxfam’s global ambassadors, Coldplay are really keen for us to chat to as many of their fans as possible about the reasons why our global system for growing, producing and consuming food is hugely unfair. Although the world produces enough food for everyone, one in seven people still go hungry every day. That’s a billion people.
But we can change that. By piling pressure on governments and companies and by taking small steps in our lives to grow a better way, we can build a future where everyone has enough to eat always.
But to do this we need as many voices as possible. We need a global GROW movement of people hungry for change. And that’s where the Coldplay fans come in. You’re already a pretty impressive global movement! 15.5 million Facebook fans can’t be wrong!
Oxfam and Coldplay reckon that if all of your voices united, we could make a pretty big noise about the injustices in our food system and the ways we can fix it.
So we’re off, with a box full of food costumes, stickers, banners and lots of other goodies for our volunteers to catch your eye at the December tour gigs, from Glasgow to Berlin. After all, who better to talk you through the big food injustices than an expert like Mrs Peanut?
Glaswegians are hungry for change!
Ouch. Saturday is a mega early start for our first gig in Glasgow. I haven’t had much sleep recently what with all the preparations for taking GROW on the road to nine different cities in a month. Never mind the cases of campaign materials, my biggest excess luggage is my eye bags.
Dawn sees us roll into the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC). I get my first taste of what a tour looks like behind the scenes. It’s the most immense, well-oiled machine I’ve seen in my life. Everyone springs into action as soon as the bus doors open. Each person – whether catering, wardrobe, lighting – has a clearly defined role and knows exactly what they’ve got to get done. Endless seemingly identical boxes and crates arrive and everything gets to where it needs to be – including our campaign materials, thankfully. Props to Crae and Michael at SECC for general fabulousness on that front!
As I step off the bus into the whirr and buzz of a live stadium tour, I feel like the smallest, most insignificant, slightly confused ‘charadee’ ant in a very focused swarm of talented worker ants. But despite the organised chaos, everyone manages to find enough time to shower me with big smiles and reassure me that Oxfam is just as much part of the crew as everyone else. Oxfam’s presence on the tour is really important to the band and we’re all part of a massive tour family. Mrs Peanut too.
The technicians and production crew are like magicians. By 7pm, a desolate, stripped back, freezing auditorium will be transformed into an explosion of sound, technicolour, and the pulsing excitement of over 10,000 Coldplay fans…
Glasgow was an incredible day. The volunteers were wonderful; so passionate about campaigning for food justice and willing to prance about in a silly costume in the name of it. We met so many people loving food and hating injustice and enthusiastic about our GROW campaign. Everyone we spoke to agreed we need to fix our broken food system and was hopeful that change was possible.
While we were a bit gutted to miss Emeli Sande’s set, we were busy busy busy GROWing the movement for change, but from what we could hear through the doors, she sounded incredible. As for Coldplay, well, the set blew us all away. Check out the audience becoming part of the light show here (opens in new tab).
So, in no particular order, my top ten heroes and heroines of the day were…
1. Our 20 Oxfam Scotland volunteers and my wingwomen Cassie and Sara. The band’s performance of The Scientist should have been dedicated to you: Nobody said it was easy/It’s such as shame for us to part…
2. The die-hard Coldplay fans sitting out on a chilly concourse from 8am. That’s dedication. I’m far too much of a nesh Southern wuss to ever attempt such an enterprise. Glad we could find some of you something to help with backstage.
3. The fantastically warm and enthusiastic Glaswegians who were shocked to hear about the broken food system and how unfair it is to people all over the world. Many people know others in the city struggling with the rise in food prices, so can imagine just how disastrous these hikes are for people in much poorer countries.
4. Mrs Corn of Cob who tackled her food phobia of corn head on by impersonating that food stuff all evening. You gave it your all.
5. Mr Hot Dog who beat Mrs Corn in a dance off (“You laid it down, Mr Dog!”) and Mrs Peanut who was sometimes mistaken for a potato but didn’t suffer from a crisis of identity.
6. Senora Pizza, an genuine bonafide Italian thincrust, who was delighted to hear that she came nearly top of the pops in Oxfam’s global food survey.
7. The amazing womenfolk on the crew who have patiently inducted me into all things tour (and made sure I got a shower before bedtime).
8. The lighting crew for the incredibly atmospheric pools of colour, neon doodles and twinkling wristband galaxies of light. You were the toast of the SECC.
9. The production manager who has nicknamed me Padmé after ‘her in Star Wars’. This is a massive departure from my usual lookalike – Red from Fraggle Rock.
10. All the tweetpeeps who added their profile pics to our GROW tree of fan photos by tweeting our hashtag: #lovefoodhateinjustice. There is nothing that beats the excitement of your very first tweet!
On Twitter? Tweet #lovefoodhateinjustice to see your face be part of a GROWing tree of Coldplay fans hungry for change: oxfamontour.org/coldplay/grow-wall. If we took your picture at a show, tag yourself in our Facebook gallery: www.facebook.com/oxfamontour