The 14 July 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of Manchester’s legendary Rock Against Racism Concert where 35,000 woke folk marched against the National Front and for a better tolerant world
The Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival was a free music concert on 15 July 1978, in Alexandra Park, Manchester. Jointly organised by Rock Against Racism and the Anti-Nazi League, the concert was preceded by a march through Manchester, starting at Strangeways on Bury New Road, at 12 noon. The concert featured Steel Pulse, Buzzcocks, Exodus and China Street – and was attended by around 35,000 people.
The concert was conceived by Bernie Wilcox of Rock Against Racism and Geoff Brown of the Anti-Nazi League in April 1978, as they travelled back from Carnival Against the Nazis, which was held in London’s Victoria Park on 30 April 1978. The pair, inspired by the event, wanted to create a similar concert in the northwest.
The event was organised within just ten weeks. Although the original preference had been to hold the concert within an inner-city area, to better connect with white youths, the Alexandra Park venue, in Moss Side, was decided to be more suitable.
Using the stage, generators and PA equipment from the Deeply Vale Festival 1978 (which ran from 20 July to 25 July 1978, at Deeply Vale in Bury) helped to make the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival viable both financially and logistically.
Graham Parker and the Rumour approached Rock Against Racism, asking to play a practice set prior to supporting Bob Dylan’s first UK concert since the Isle of Wight Festival in 1969 (by coincidence, Graham Parker and the Rumour were playing on the same date as the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival). With the permission of Manchester City Council, the practice session, which became a Rock Against Racism event, took place on the Thursday before the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival on the Saturday.
Another Rock Against Racism concert was organised to take place on the Friday evening before the Rock Against Racism Northern Carnival, this time featuring the Rich Kids and The Fall, at UMIST Students’ Union.
Well racism is a cunning beast lurking in the corners and institutions. More subtle and shifting, but still destructive. As with any prejudice and hate. Call it out
Let’s remember the past, to make sense of the present to change the future.
Join us for a celebration of music poetry and life at Night People on the 14th July 2018
Full lineup to be revealed.
Thanks to John Hall organiser/inspirer.
Sponsored by Futura