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It seems as if 2008 is another big year of anniversaries just like 2007 was. This time it's the 30th anniversary of the Rock Against Racism event that saw some 100,000 people protesting on the streets of London and concluding with a performance from one of my favorite bands: The Clash (there were a few other bands playing the event too). This April, Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) will stage a huge concert event in London's Victoria Park to commemorate the event and once again promote anti-racism/anti-fascism ideals and messages.
Although I haven't seen the lineup listed for this event yet, I'm sure it will draw a number of interesting bands and hopefully a big name or two as well. Hopefully it will be enough to draw a lot of interest as with these kinds of events the music is just a bonus as it's really about the causes. Promoting world and cultural unity and working to eliminate racism and fascism are definitely worthy causes that I'm more than happy to support.
Perhaps you caught these quotes from Lee Billingham, spokesperson for LMHR:
"[They hope the event] get people to think about and challenge some of the racist ideas that are being pushed at the moment..."
"We want to commemorate the original RAR/ANL carnival of thirty years ago which is seen as an iconic occasion that symbolized a great movement against racism and fascism... A movement in which music played an important part, and an event which politicized thousands of people... "
Although perhaps music isn't as much of a force in terms of social change as it was during the 1960s or other decades past... in fact sometimes it feels like the music industry is more interested in making money than anything else... but I'm glad to see that musicians are still willing to come together and support causes that need it. As I've said before, I'm sure there are probably better ways to raise interest and awareness about racism, fascism, global warming, famine, war or any of the other causes that have seen concert events organized. Still, popular culture events like these go grab public interest and may actually be more effective than we think. I'm glad to both see that this anniversary is going to be commemorated as the original event is one of those iconic rock and roll moments, and that it's celebrating the original causes and working to continue to promote those ideas.
Actually, I see only one real shame about this event. It's not a big thing as it's purely musical preference, is pretty much out the event coordinator's (and everyone else's) hands and might be partially negated when the actual lineup is posted, but is a shame none the less. What I'm talking about is of course a desire that The Clash, the band that is so often associated with the original event, would be reunited to perform again. Of course this cannot happen because unfortunately original Clash front man, Joe Strummer, passed away back in 2002. Still, even without the Clash, I'm sure this will be an event worth checking out both for the music and for the causes that it is promoting, and I think that Mr. Strummer himself might think a worthy cause and commemoration of the original event.
Check out the Love Music Hate Racism site for more information as the event gets closer: http://www.lovemusichateracism.com/