Committee & Speakers
Lucian is currently finishing a doctorate at the University of Oxford on Hindu devotion (bhakti) and spiritual transformation. During his time as a student, Lucian has developed the remarkable ability to do anything but his PhD. This year he has found himself serving as the Oxford Psychedelic Society’s "Healing Officer", organising events centred on providing experiences that nurture our movement toward Wholeness. He sees the OddBall as a natural extension of this work.
"OddBall is a truly collaborative effort on the part of Oxford students and the local community’s wealth of artists, freaks, and glorious oddities. It is an exciting and much needed opportunity to transcend the divide between “town and gown” that characterises our city. In a spirit of both reverence and reverie, OddBall is a celebration of our common humanity. We are all in this together. So let us dance!"
Voice of Reason
Chloe Benson is a single mother of two children aged 10 and 14.
Local to Oxfordshire, she is currently studying herbal medicine and has a keen and passionate interest in the use of psychedelics for therapeutic purposes, and a deep respect, love and fascination with their ancient and spiritual ritualistic uses.
"I have always one foot in the music and party scene in oxford and have been lucky enough to have had close friends at the forefront of various set ups which has enabled me to be a part of some pretty amazing things including what we are doing now with the Oddball!!! Lucian and I are very close friends, as am I with the rest of his family. The idea for the event came about one night in the kitchen at his sister Sarada's house when we were discussing how amazing it would be to have an "anti ball" so to speak. A student ball that was open to everyone and didn’t cost the Earth. Something that would bridge the gap between the weird and wonderful people of oxford that we are lucky enough to call our friends!! Many of them students, many of them not, that and of course we needed to do something because Lucian had booked Sun Ra Arkestra, his favourite band, and we were starting to think having a 12 piece Intergalactic jazz band playing just for us In His living room would be a bit weird!!! And so the Oddball was born!"
Dot is an alien human hybrid forged in the heart of a binary sun. They are polynomial & retrograde & very fond of cake. They founded Psychedelic Circus, a loose collection of strange beings who created the blueprint for Oddball in 3 amazing nights between 2015-2017
"Dot hopes that the lift back to their original constellation will materialise during the night and whisk them away to a galactic paradise"
Raga Woods is a veteran of Twyford Down, lived in an Ashram when it was still cool, and founded Gingerbread, a single-parent support group in the 80s. Her current work revolves around the Sheela na Gig, a mystical pagan figure who invites you to love the CUNT.
"I hope The OddBall will be a chance to introduce lots of young people to the Sheela and faciliate new connections to our deeper selves."
Thomas Pak is a DPhil student in Mathematics at the University of Oxford. He got involved with the Oxford Psychedelic Society early on and is the current Secretary of the Society. His role as Safety Officer is to ensure that the necessary safety precautions are taken and that any issues during the event are dealt with effectively.
"The fact that there is a student club at the University of Oxford dedicated to psychedelics is already quite strange, but holding a day-long festival celebrating psychedelic culture in Oxford brings it to a whole new level. I think the OddBall is going to be bizarre and weird in the best possible way."
Phoebe Bright is a 22-year-old millenial sell-out studying Digital Sociology at Oxford University. She is responsible for OddBall Festival's social media and press communications.
"OddBall is a day-event daydreamed by wonderful, whimsical, carnival spirits. And it is growing into something very odd indeed. Stepping inside the mushroom ring, you find a world populated by pagan peaimans, agile acrobats, cosmic trombonists, psy-trance sitarists, philosophers, poetesses and performance artists. At the moment i'm a Facebook Faerie and my delicate frame is straining to shoulder the delightful monstrosity we are making. I feel honoured to be part of this magical world."
Samantha Wadham perceives a woven inspiration behind her striking sculptural lighting. Her designs are not merely decorative, but narrative devices. Giving a contemporary twist to floral imagery, Samantha creates art for the home using the metaphors and meanings of flowers, through different materials and media including paper, spray paints, pens and with striking effect, 3D metalwork. Samantha has created a new collection of design focusing on the power of charkas, entwining with her first collection to tell a bigger story.
"Spreading the message of love and light vibes, something I feel very strong about as a person and artist. Being part of Oddball Festival has been an amazing experience, working with quirky, beautiful souls to bring the Oxford community together through art and music. "
Ziggy is one of the founders of House of Delphi, your friendly neighbourhood art commune. She
supports the Young Women’s Music Project and appears here and there in the Oxford psychedelic music scene. Though busy behind the curtains, Ziggy shall also be frolicking around with merry moon folk at OddBall. Her task is to set the precedent for the atmosphere, delight spaces with folk tunes and be tricksy.
"Though my time in oxford hasn’t been long, the friends I have made are everlasting. What better way to break the elitist Oxford bubble than to host a ball dedicated to equality, free love and free spirit. The people involved are from all backgrounds and experiences- all connected by appreciation of beauty. What a wonderful project to work in!"
Matt is a sculptor and installation artist. He works in bioresin, fibreglass, molehills and clothes.
Matt makes many of Oddball’s sculptures, and décor.
He is published in psychiatry. In an archaeology team he found two saints in a Russian forest.
Art is thought made manifest, most things are metaphors, We have choice, do what you like. The works reflect aspirations, the earth as a layered record creating and growing from the layers we tread, the continuum between facts and history, truth and beauty, and emotional and physical circularity and transcendence. www.MattSmart.org Insta: @mattsmartart
"Oddball is loaded. It grew from nothing, as quick and connective as mycelium. Oddball is what an event should be. Oxford was in desperate need of something as creative, thoughtful and daring as happens in London or Bristol. Oddball flicks that switch. It’s on. We need this. So do you."
Dave is a Production Engineer by day and DJ and/or VJ by night. For Dave Boote, aka Re:Boote, spinning records is a family tradition. When he’s not on the decks though you’ll usually find him behind the computer, managing the visuals…Dave is the founder of MicroDot Visuals and the one responsible for bringing the music to life with projection mapping, music synced visuals and psychedelic décor.
Claire is a full time Marketing manager for a lingerie company… boobs are her speciality! She’s also the better half of Dave Boote and team member of MicroDot Visuals. Being a techy geek she’s the one responsible for mapping out shapes and creating mesmerising, spatial augmented reality. Claire can transform any object into a screen, creating an experience that will make eyes pop and hearts stop.
"Oddball will be everything you can imagine and nothing you’ve ever considered, it is going to be weird and wonderful. You’ll be shocked and amazed… The production meeting was an experience in itself and set the tone for the whole event, in the most wonderfully strange way. Oddball is not just an event it’s an experience and one I think everyone and anyone should be part of."
John Sandford O'Neill
John fires stupidly powerful lasers into weird materials and studies the chaotic mess created by his experiments. He has inexplicably got away with making this the topic of his PhD in Engineering at the University of Oxford. John's role at the OddBall is to fire stupidly powerful beats directly into your ears, which will form a crucial part of the glorious OddBall experiment.
"I honestly could not be more excited to be working on the OddBall. I think we are just at the beginning - this is going to be BIG. I'm lucky enough to straddle the strange interface between town and gown in this weird little city, but much more can be done to bridge the gap between the local community and the student population. What better way to bring people together than a shared love of the Odd."
Although my first time with Oddball its not my first time stage managing. Previously I worked with Its All About The Music where I would make sure to collect bands ticket money, check bands knew where to keep their stuff. Make sure bands got on stage and off stage on time at O2 Academy gigs. I've recently started my own promotion as Dancingman Promotions https://www.facebook.com/DancingmanPromotions.
"The Isis Farmhouse is a nice venue next to the river with a huge back garden and has great festivals."
Lukas currently reads for an MPhil in European Politics and Society and is part of the House of Delphi. Over the past years, Lukas has built and worked for two international NGOs, focusing on alternative fundraising events, such as social art festivals and club nights across the globe. So he is teaming-up with Franziska & Lucian to work on the financial structure and our profit-donations to charitable projects. Additionally, he will be managing the bar/tech stage, thus bringing over some friends from the Love Foundation in Amsterdam, Berlin and Dreseden to get you guys stomping across the floor!
"So many passioante and lovely people coming together to work for a vision of a truly incredible event! I am so stoked and happy to have found a bunch wonderful people, keen to offer Oxford an alternative music and arts event."
Alex founded the Oxford Psychedelic Society two years ago as a space to bring together anyone interested in the science and culture of psychedelics. He is currently running the entertainment tent at OddBall.
"Back when this started, I could never have imagined it would be staging an event of this scope so soon! So many passionate and talented people have come out of the woodwork to make this happen, and I'm honoured to be working with them, putting together all the non-musical entertainment. That means art, sideshows, surprise theatre, talks, circus, debates, poetry, workshops, and other curiosities too strange to describe... What started as an alternative to the overpriced and stuffy Oxford May Balls has rapidly grown into a huge one-day festival, just so we can pack in all the amazing performers and creators that want to join us."
Jeff GoodJeff Laster is an original Weatherman, was involved in incorporating epic 24 hour play The Warp (based on the Illuminatus! books) into clubbing culture in London in the 90s and continues to host talks and discussions around contnetious issues.
Mark Juhan graduated in Theology & Religious Studies from Pembroke College, Oxford and has just completed a masters Religion and Society at St John’s, Durham. He is interested in the relationship between drugs and culture, specifically the potential of augmenting religion with ritual entheogenesis. He has been a lay chaplain and is currently applying for a doctorate in psychedelic theology. He has taught psychedelic philosophy classes at the society in London, is conducting reading groups of The Rose of Paracelsus. Mark has spoken at Breaking Convention 2017 on Christicisms of mystical thrill-seeking and at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 on a social study he has conducted. His creative writing and poetry have been published in 17 and Psychedelic Press.
Non-food Stalls / Merchandise
Ken Ishikawa, Psychedelic President of Oxford Psychedelic Society for the academic year 2018/9, is an oversea DPhil student from Japan at Oxford University specialising in the archaeology of religion and ritual in Early Historic South Asia. Representing the revolutionary OPS committee 2018/9, he has been credited with newly registering OPS as a non-sport student society of Oxford University, commissioning controversially yet meaningfully trippy OPS merchandise and organising OPS academic lectures. For The OddBall, he is responsible for non-food stalls, OddBall merchandise, the OPS stall and the live painting by Pinky Vision.
"The OddBall encapsulates the local lively and synergetic psychedelic scene in Oxford, where psychedelic science meets psychedelia, town and gown becomes ying and yang and the indigenous goddess turn into manifest as Mother Earth of inclusivism. We humans need to co-exist with other sencient beings and co-evolve with the nature - The OddBall would be a special unique opportunity to collectively envision our future – ‘be here now’ of the previous hippie generation is not enough!"
Richard David O'Rourke
I'm an artist who tries to understand the world we live in the best I can. I'm always searching for answers through positive interactions within this precious, sealed biosphere we share together. If you would like the opportunity to get your organisation's name sponsored through the event please contact me through www.rdorourke.com before Monday 20th May. Peace and love xx
"Bringing together people from around the globe to celebrate peace, love and humanity in Oxford."
NIKKI WYRD is the Editor of the Psychedelic Press Journal. She is also a Director of the charity Breaking Convention, which holds a biennial multidisciplinary conference on psychedelics. Her copyediting work can be found in many books related to psychedelics, occultism and medicine. Nikki often talks at conferences and festivals, as well as holding space at retreats and workshops centred around shamanic/ceremonial practices. She enjoys dancing to psytrance, and following from her degree in ecology she encourages humans to consider how they can live in better relation with other organisms.
John Constable (aka John Crow) is a performance poet, playwright and urban shaman. The Southwark Mysteries, his cycle of psychoactive poems and contemporary Mystery Plays, was performed in Shakespeare's Globe and Southwark Cathedral in 2000 and 2010. His Sha-Manic Plays, The Southwark Mysteries, and his stage adaptation of Mervyn Peake's Gormenghast are all published by Oberon Books. Spark In The Dark, a selection of his poetry, is published by Thin Man Press. He is also known as John Crow, the urban shaman who raised the spirit of The Goose at Cross Bones, south London's outcasts' burial ground. In this persona he conducts The Halloween of Cross Bones and the Cross Bones Vigils held at 7pm on the 23rd of every month to honour the outcast dead. He has performed at festivals world-wide and also gives talks, walks and workshops in Western magic and mediumship, including his pioneering Shamanic Playhouse. John’s work at Crossbones features in many books, including Watling Street by John Higgs and The Spirits of Crossbones Graveyard by Oxford Professor Sondra Hausner. For more information visit: www.crossbones.org.uk
Artur organises ceremonies of Sacred Medicines all over Europe Ayahuasca San Pedro Sacred Mushrooms, using ancient medicine tools for mind, body, and soul. Artur works with different energies to gently approach and connect with people. Every healing session is unique and performed with delicacy, bringing deep and powerful healing. Shamanic healing is very powerful for restoring balance and harmony to all four aspects of the being: spiritual, mental, emotional, and physical. Healing energy is channelled to the client and combined with sound. The healing effect of the sound is immediate, bypassing the mind and getting straight to the root. Two forms of sound are used: tone and breath. The person’s energy web and centres are re-woven by the healing energy, restoring connection to oneself and awakening inner healing potential. Sounds are made with the voice to assist the depth of your soul to relax and enjoy a vocal message from deep within.
Dave is a fourth-year graduate medical student at King’s College London, and holds a BSc in Medical Anthropology. He is a founding co-director and programme chair of Breaking Convention, a director of the Scientific & Medical Network, the founding President of the King’s College Society for Psychedelic Studies, and founding President of the UKC Psychedelics Society. He co-directs a Lecture Programme in Drug Assisted Psychotherapies at King's College London and has been involved in the organisation of conferences and lecture series at the University of Kent, University of Greenwich, National University of Singapore and the House of Lords. He is the co-editor of four books and author of several book chapters and articles. Presently, Dave is a Senior Researcher at a parliamentary drug policy reform group.
Stephen Reid is a social entrepreneur, activist and public speaker. He is currently a co-director of the Psychedelic Society, which he founded in 2014 and has become one of the global leading providers of legal psychedelic retreats. Previously, he was the youngest ever board member of Greenpeace UK, co-founded the New Economics Foundation's New Economy Organisers Network and worked as a technology consultant for organisations including the Labour Party, the Green Party and 350.org. Stephen has an MPhys in Physics from the University of Oxford, where he specialised in quantum field theory, and an MRes in Complexity Sciences from the University of Bristol.
Julian Vayne is a British occultist with over three decades of experience of esoteric culture: from Druidry to Chaos Magick, from indigenous American shamanism through to Freemasonry and Wicca. During this time Julian has written for numerous underground esoteric journals, contributed to various collections of essays, led workshops, retreats and facilitated a wide range of group ceremonies. Julian is a founding member of Transform Drug Policy Foundation and Chair of The Friends of The Museum of Witchcraft & Magic. A regular speaker at conferences on the subject of contemporary occultism, magic and altered states he is also a cultural educator and in that capacity is the author of Wonderful Things: Learning with Museum Objects. Julian is the leading contributor to theblogofbaphomet.com and author of the much celebrated Getting Higher: The Manual of Psychedelic Ceremony, he sits on the academic editorial board of the Journal of Psychedelic Studies and is part of the Breaking Convention team."
Lindsay Jordan is a senior lecturer at the University of the Arts London, where she teaches philosophy and theory of education. She is currently researching the purpose of universities, the role of psychoactive substances as educational tools, and moral enhancement. She won the student prize at Breaking Convention 2017 for a doctoral assignment on psychedelic enquiry, and spoke at Beyond Psychedelics 2018 on ‘What Are Psychedelics For?’.
Ciaran Walsh, Radical Historian, Storyteller, Performer, Poet, Ranter and Anarcho-Looney, presents 'Fiery Tongues'. A Tribute to the Late Great Anarchist, Poet and Performer Heathcote Williams, King of Squatting and Graffiti: selections from -'Autogeddon', a ground breaking apocalyptic explosion against the ongoing carnage and catastrophe unleashed on the world by the car, as seen by a visiting alien life-form.
And 'The Invisible Captain Swing, Daemon of Direct Action', an historical montage of the carnivalesque resistance to the imposition of a shit world; from the revolutionary insurgency of the English poor in 1830 up to modern indigenous and environmental radical movements to save the planet. Up The Revolution!
Justine G Gens (June)