Met with UpRise (London United Against Racism Festival) a group formed to reinstate the Rise Festival that Boris scrapped as one of his first acts to bring London together and spread the love. This was an annual anti-racist, free, music festival in Finsbury Park each summer.
It was indeed supported by that spawn of the devil (as far as Boris is concerned) ex-Mayor Ken – which may be the reason that Boris pulled the plug on it. However, at the risk of extending the ‘plug’ analogy – it plugged a good message – and it is a shame that Boris wasn’t big enough to understand the importance of that message in this very diverse part of London. And with the abhorrent rise of the BNP – my own view is that a public statement where we all hold hands together against racism is a jolly good thing.
Or maybe it was because the unions backed it.
Either way, the two who came to see me and Cllr Ed Butcher (LibDem Stroud Green councillor) have managed to contact many of those involved in the organisation of the original Rise. We suggested that they concentrate also on making it a local community event and bring in the local businesses and schools – so that the heart of the new festival is community too – albeit obviously open to all.
They are working very hard to find funders and sponsors so that – albeit on a smaller scale – Rise can rise again.