More than 400 black, white and Asian people of all ages packed into a Love Music Hate Racism gig in Leeds last month.
UK garage act Heartless Crew and the High Pressure Sound System headlined, and a host of local bands, Bhangra acts and DJs provided support.
Liz, from Love Music Hate Racism, told Socialist Worker how it was organised:
“When the English Defence League came to protest in Leeds last year, we decided to organise a counter-demo. In the process we got together with hundreds of mainly Asian local kids.
“After the protest, we all kept in contact and at the end of the year started planning for this gig.
“We made a political decision to hold the event in the Chapeltown area of the city, which is known for its longstanding black community.
“We wanted to bring people from different cultures together. Initially, there was some opposition to this among the 20 or so people who wanted to help organise the gig.
“Some thought that Asians and whites wouldn’t go to Chapeltown.
“We set about publicising the event on local radio stations and with posters and flyers in all the local cafes and takeways, and by running stalls in the town centre.
“Soon it was clear that we’d hit upon something and that the gig was going to be a success.
“Part of this came from the way we brought loads of different music styles and youth cultures together.
“Now everyone is saying that we’ve got to do this regularly and the local Afro-Caribbean carnival organising committee have asked if we’d like to be involved with them in the future.
“But for me, the most important thing is the people we’ve met through the gig.
“There are now hundreds more people who want to be involved in anti-racist activity. They are going to be vital in a city where the British National Party is standing two candidates in the general election.”
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