Boris Johnson stops London anti-racist music festival

From British daily The Morning Star:

Johnson cancels anti-racist festival

Wednesday 08 April 2009

by Paddy McGuffin

MAYOR of London Boris Johnson came under fire on Wednesday for pulling the plug on an anti-racism music festival which was due to take place in Finsbury Park later this year.

Mr Johnson, who caused uproar last year when he removed the anti-racism message from the promotional material for the Rise Festival, announced that the event would not go ahead at all blaming lack of sponsorship.

Instead, the money from the Greater London Authority will be used for a capital-wide event called Rhythm of London focusing on music education.

Last year, the union sponsors of the Rise event were so incensed by the mayor’s actions that they withdrew their funding for the festival, which has attracted 100,000 people.

A spokesman for the mayor said: “Without a major sponsor in place, it is not considered appropriate to spend such a large amount on a single music event, particularly during a recession.

This year instead, the money will be used to fund a multitude of events and grassroots activities across London.”

But UNISON, a previous sponsor of the event, accused the mayor of passing the buck.

UNISON regional secretary for London Linda Perks said: “We withdrew funding from the Rise festival after Boris Johnson watered down the anti-racist message of the event.

“But UNISON sponsored Rise to the tune of £30,000, which is a giant leap away from the £551,000 total cost of the festival.

“The London mayor is now passing the buck for the festival’s cancellation. The real story here is that Boris Johnson is not interested in working to put an end to the racism and prejudice that sadly still take place on the streets of our capital every day.”

Former London mayor Ken Livingstone also weighed in on the row, saying: “Boris Johnson’s cancellation of London’s anti-racist music festival Rise is a blow to good community relations in the city. Rise was the biggest anti-racist festival in Europe and, on that basis, attracted significant sponsorship.

“It lost much of this when Boris Johnson dropped the central anti-racist message last year. It is no surprise that Boris Johnson is now cancelling the festival altogether.”

See also here.

October 2010: Europe’s biggest anti-racism festival Rise returns to the capital on Sunday – just a year after Tory Mayor Boris Johnson cancelled the event: here.

PUBLIC-SECTOR workers condemned London’s Tory Mayor Boris Johnston on Friday for keeping senior bureaucrats at City Hall in work while lower grade staff stand to lose their jobs: here.

14 thoughts on “Boris Johnson stops London anti-racist music festival

  1. I can’t believe that Boris Johnson has cancelled Rise-has he nothing better to do? I found the festival extremely entertaining, safe and a place that I could educate myself about other cultures.
    The environment was so multicultural and fun! and it just goes to show that the so called leaders of this country do not want to do anything to stop racism, that is still happening daily on our streets. Instead they shove the issue under the carpet and hope it goes away! BRING BACK KEN LIVINGSTONE- He knew what this city needed!


  2. Hi uche akiti, thanks for your comment. I agree with you about the festival and Boris Johnson. I also agree that Livingstone would be a better mayor than Johnson. However, Livingstone had to fight the election with the millstone of national “new” Labour Blairism-Brownism around his neck. And so, he lost, though not as badly as the Labour party outside London.


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