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Last Updated: Friday, 25 April 2008, 09:02 GMT 10:02 UK
New bands team up to fight racism
by Kev Geoghegan
Radio 1 music reporter

Rock Against Racism
The first Rock Against Racism gig at London's Victoria Park in 1978

30 years ago, 80,000 people marched from Trafalgar Square in the centre of London to Victoria Park in the East End to watch The Clash play an outdoor show. It was 28 April 1978 and the very first Rock Against Racism gig.

This weekend, the campaign, which has changed its name to Love Music Hate Racism, is holding another free event in the same park on the same day.

It's being headlined by Damon Albarn's latest project The Good, The Bad & The Queen, and features rock performances from the likes of Hard-Fi and The Paddingtons, and urban artists like Roll Deep and Bashy.

Babyshambles were due to play, until Pete Doherty's untimely conviction for drug offences on 8 April.

Instead, bassist Drew McConnell's side project, Helsinki, will feature guests like Reverend and the Maker's Jon McClure, The Guillemots and Ed Larrikin.

McConnell said: "I've got about 15 guests joining us. It's going to be more like the last waltz than Live 8.

Pete Doherty
Pete Doherty plays a Love Music Hate Racism gig in 2005
"People are gonna come on and go off and we'll try and keep it as fun and as interesting as possible.

"It's a big open air festival so we're gonna play music that will make people dance."

The event's message is still the same, to stamp out all forms of racism in the UK.

Martin Smith, from Love Music Hate Racism, was at the original gig.

He said: "It is incredibly sad that 30 years on we have to have the same message.

"I was at a mixed school with black, white and Asian kids and skinheads used to hand out magazines in front of the school.

"It was so bad, the Asian kids used to have to leave school half an hour early in buses."

Rock Against Racism

The movement actually began in 1976. Two years later, the concert at Victoria park was held featuring punk bands like The Clash, X-Ray Spex and Buzzcocks.

Jay Sean
Gigs like this allow us to say we're gonna do something just because we believe in the cause.
Jay Sean
Jimmy Pursey, former singer with punk band Sham 69, performed The Clash's song White Riot on stage with the band.

He said: "The punk thing really was locking into reggae bands and black artists of the time.

"So, it was a way of going forward and saying music is for all.

"That day was a very emotional day and a very uplifting day for us, as musicians, to see what was going on in front of us."

This weekend, a number of black and Asian artists are also involved in the event.

None of the performers are being paid for the gig and R&B singer Jay Sean reckons it is a chance to give something back.

He said: "We get paid to do gigs, we have a whole load of fans who give us a whole load of love and it can lack substance sometimes.

"Gigs like this allow us to put all that to the side and say we're gonna do something just because we believe in the cause."

The event kicks off at 12 noon on Sunday 27 April.



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