Time: 62 min.
Style: Reggae Punk Pop
ROCK AGAINST RACISM (RAR) was a campaign set up in the United Kingdom in 1978 as a response to an increase in racial conflict and the growth of white nationalist groups such as the National Front. The campaign involved pop, rock, punk and reggae musicians staging concerts with an anti-racist theme, in order to discourage young people from embracing racism. The campaign was founded, in part, as a response to statements and activities by well-known rock musicians that were widely regarded as racist. Originally conceived as a one-off concert with a message against racism, Rock Against Racism was founded in 1976 by Red Saunders, Roger Huddle and others. According to Huddle, "it remained just an idea until August 1976" when Eric Clapton made a drunken declaration of support for former Conservative minister Enoch Powell (known for his anti-immigration Rivers of Blood speech) at a concert in Birmingham. Eric Clapton told the crowd that England had "become overcrowded" and that they should vote for Powell to stop Britain from becoming "a black colony". He also told the audience that Britain should "get the foreigners out, get the wogs out, get the coons out", and then he repeatedly shouted the National Front slogan "Keep Britain White".
RAR's first activity was a concert featuring Carol Grimes as lead artist, and it also launched the amateur journal "Temporary Hoarding´Zine". In spring 1978, 100.000 people marched six miles from Trafalgar Square to the East End of London (a National Front hotspot) for an open-air music festival at Victoria Park in Hackney organized by RAR and the Anti-Nazi League, to counteract the growing wave of racist attacks in the UK. The concert featured: The Clash, Buzzcocks, Steel Pulse, X-Ray Spex, The Ruts, Sham 69, Generation X and the Tom Robinson Band. The Southall-based reggae band Misty In Roots led the march from the back of a lorry during the carnival, although did not appear on the main stage. A second march and also a second concert at Brockwell Park in south London, featured: Stiff Little Fingers, Aswad, Elvis Costello and more. In the summer of the same year, an audience of 40.000 came to the Northern Carnival in Manchester, for a concert featuring Buzzcocks, Graham Parker and The Rumour , The Smirks, Exodus, China Street and Steel Pulse. The Manchester event was also tied in with the 1978 Deeply Vale Festival a week later where they held a Rock Against Racism day. The 2014 Deeply Vale Box Set and book contains a section about the 1978 Rock Against Racism events in Manchester with several organisers and workers giving current interviews. In 1979, a concert was held at Acklam Hall in Notting Hill, London, featuring: Crisis, The Vapors and Beggar.
RAR was reborn in 2002 as "Love Music, Hate Racism" with a live concert at The Astoria in London, England featuring: Mick Jones, Buzzcocks and The Libertines. Other acts involved in the campaign include Ms. Dynamite and The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster. With a goal of counteracting the activities of organizations such as the National Front and the British National Party, it has held high-profile concerts in Trafalgar Square and Victoria Park as well as some other stadiums and venues.