Bashy ~ Image by Alex Winn ©
UpRise started as a grass roots campaign responding to the cancellation of the annual anti-racism festival Rise. Rise was previously known as the Respect festival when it was first held in 1996 by the trade unions, in response to the racist murder of London teenager, Stephen Lawrence.
The UpRise campaign has gathered ongoing support including cross-party politicians such as; Darren Johnson AM, Simon Hughes MP, David Lammy MP, Jeremy Corbyn MP, Chuka Umunna MP , Lynne Featherstone MP and Jennette Arnold AM.
Additional support for the campaign has been given from the worlds of the arts, activism, media, politics and entertainment including; Andi Osho, Antony Gormley, Asian Dub Foundation, Ava Vidal, Ayanna, Beardyman, Bonnie Greer, Doreen Lawrence, Ed Sheeran, Enter Shikari, Gina Yashere, Imran Yusuf, The Invisible, Jamie Woon, Jocelyn Jee Esien, Ken Livingstone, King Blues, Mark Thomas, Mehdi Hasan, Meera Syal, The Noisettes, Omar, Owen Jones, Paloma Faith, Roots Manuva, Russell Kane, Sara Pascoe, Seye, Simon Hughes MP, Tawiah, Zara McFarlane, Zoe Lyons.
In three years the UpRise campaign has seen it grow from a petition, to a festival and into a growing movement making real changes. Thousands have already engaged in the various UpRise event, projects and initiatives.
Since the inception of the UpRise campaign support has been unprecedented, attracting support from across communities and society as a whole.
Together, the team is working to bring real changes for a modern world. UpRise is a collective of ordinary people who believe in extraordinary change of unconditional equality and inclusivity in society, and seek to deliver creative ways of campaigning against racism, prejudice and all forms of discrimination.
The UpRise mantra is “A new vision, for an age-old issue, in a new epoch”, and the mission is to resign racism to the history books where it belongs!
The history of London’s anti-racism festival
1996 Respect Festival was a free London event set up by the Trades Union Congress as a music event to promote anti-racism. Then called Respect, its name has changed over the years to become Rise.
The original event took part in Finsbury Park, north London, featuring artists Chumbawumba, Fun-Da-Mental, Asian Dub Foundation and Incognito. It was held again the following year in East London’s Victoria Park in Hackney featuring Luciano, the Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Dreadzone.
2001 After a three year hiatus, the festival was revived with the support of the then Mayor of London, Ken Livingstone, and backed by Trade Unions, Unite the Union and UNISON. Held in Finsbury Park and featuring Run DMC, Mis-teeq and Desmond Dekker, it attracted over 60,000 people.
2002 featured De La Soul in Victoria Park
2003 saw Public Enemy and Estelle perform at the Millennium Dome in Greenwich.
2004 The festival changed it’s name to Rise for the first time and returned to Victoria Park with a bill that featured Jay Sean and Apache Indian.
2005 The name was changed again to ‘London United’ in the wake of the July London bombings and was held in Burgess Park near Peckham with Lemar and Goldie Looking Chain.
2006 Back as Rise, with performances by Graham Coxon, Sway. The Buzzcocks, Roy Ayers, The Wailers and Common, the festival returned to Finsbury Park, where it would remain until its cancellation.
2007 featured Kelis, Jamelia, The Skatalites, Saint Etienne and The Noisettes and in 2008 Jimmy Cliff, CSS and Beardyman took to the stage.
Ty ~ Image by Alex Winn ©
Following Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor in 2008, the anti-racism message was removed from the festival leading to the withdrawal of funding by UNISON and Unite the Union. The event still went ahead, attracting 100,000 visitors to Finsbury Park.
In April 2009, Boris Johnson announced the complete cancellation of the festival due to a lack of funding claiming a sponsorship shortfall could not be bridged by the taxpayer. However, Unite and UNISON claimed they would have been interested in supporting Rise Festival in 2009 but were not approached.
In 2009 two local Haringey residents, Mike Barnard and Freya van Lessen, started a petition and took on a tenacious campaign to request the Mayor reinstate the festival, gathering over 3,500 signatures along the way. Bright Star PR joined the campaign and helped gather high profile cross-party political support and with the aide of Jennette Arnold AM, the petition was debated at Mayor’s Question Time.
Arts collective BrazenBunch, who performed at the last Rise in 2008, now joined the campaign and drafted a final letter to the Mayor and shifted the energy to hosting UpRise’s own festival after the team received a response from the Mayor’s Office stating that Rise would not return.
UpRise provides the opportunity for London to celebrate its position as the most multi-cultural place in the world.
After gaining the support and of the Trade Unions, and a new logo created by twenty%extra.
2010 marked the return to Finsbury Park in an updated form as UpRise; a FREE festival for the people by the people. Omar, Aruba Red, Jimmy Screech, United Vibrations, Bongo Kanny, Imaani, Yaaba Funk and The Soothsayers graced the stage of the landmark launch. As a grassroots one-day festival, UpRise provides the opportunity for London to celebrate its position as the most multi-cultural place in the world.
2011 UpRise switched from the traditional park setting and held the festival in the streets of Hackney under the title of “Community Is Home” in a direct response to the riots. Performers included ESKA, Miss Baby Sol, Power to the Pupils, Cynikal, Fiona Bevan and The London Jazz Orchestra. The festival focused on significant community involvement and was held over 14 unusual spaces, providing a platform to highlight the social cohesion and community collaboration that exists in London.
2012 Continuing the concept of addressing equality issues of the year, the UpRise Festival was entitled ‘A Generation Inspires’ in response to the misrepresentation of youth in the media, and also gave a platform for people and small businesses who did not benefit from the London Olympics. Live music and poetry came from Haynzy, Danica Hunter, ACM Gospel Choir, Kevin Mark Trail, Potent Whisper.