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Folk Against Fascism launched at Sidmouth Folk Fest

zoe | 13.08.2009 20:32 | Anti-racism | Culture | Repression

Folk Against Fascism has been created to take a stand against the BNP’s targeting of folk music, a stand against the appropriation of our culture.

The UK folk scene is a welcoming and inclusive one; folk music and dance have always been about collaboration, participation, communication and respect. The British National Party’s manifesto encourages its members to insinuate themselves into the folk and traditional customs of Britain. This involves the appropriation of British folk music and culture as a means of spreading its peculiar brand of racism and intolerance.

The launch was one of the highlights of Sidmouth Folk Week, with an hour-long concert jam featuring Spiers and Boden, Eliza Carthy, Jim Moray, Dogan Mehmet, Steve Knightley, Pete Coe, Saul Rose, Maclaine Colston and MCd by Paul Sartin. Apart from the political message, it was a bloody great gig!

Folk Against Fascism isn’t a political party or a bureaucratic, top-heavy organisation. It is any and all of us who want to make ourselves aware of the BNP’s bigoted view of our history and culture, and who want to do something about it.
The BNP want to take our music, want to twist it into something it isn’t; something
exclusive, not inclusive. We must not let them.
Folk Against Fascism is a way to demonstrate our anger at the way the BNP wants to remodel folk music in its own narrow-minded image.
The BNP’s Activists and Organisers Handbook encourages its members to get involved
in the folk scene; Folk Against Fascism aims to make such infiltration impossible, with
support coming from all sections of the folk community. We can be found on the web
and at various folk clubs and festivals, and we encourage people to organise and support events in their own area.
If you sign up to the newsletter at you’ll receive updates and information on Folk Against Fascism events. We are currently organising a series of large-scale concerts to be held starting next year, but also encourage people to join the group, set up shows, distribute our stickers, badges and T Shirts, or simply pass on information to friends.

If you’re a Folk club or organisation, you can affiliate to Folk Against Fascism.

“Maybe I should talk to you about fascism. It is a big word and it hides in some pretty
little places. And it is nothing in the world but greed for profit and greed for the power
to hurt and make slaves out of the people. Fascism and freedom are the only two sides
Woody Guthrie

At the launch, we talked about FAF Week, which will take place from 23 April (St George's Day) through 2 May (okay, slightly more than a week, but it means we can have two full weekends of activity!) We hope to hold a big, high- profile national event during this time, but we'd also like FAFfers all over the country to organise their own gigs, events, fetes, dance-outs, village hall parties, ceilidhs, and whatever else you can think of. These events will not only bring the FAF message to a wider audience in your towns and communities, but will be a positive response to the BNP's stated desire to co-opt the traditional English holidays of St George's Day and May Day.

At the launch we also announced a FAF logo for CD covers, which will allow artists to take a positive stand against their music being appropriated by the BNP. This is something that has been welcomed, and several high-profile folk aritsts are already planning to incorporate it into forthcoming albums.

Another concern raised by several artists at the launch was about the restrictions being put in place on live music being in pubs - a kind of cultural fascism in which a minister was said to assume that their urban prejudice against 'three guys singing a folk song in a Somerset pub' constitutes a good reason for a ban... I wonder, would such a ban extend to tapping your feet to the piped music or passive applause during the Big Screen sports events? Seems there's a risk that those are the only bodily sound and vision we'll have in our pubs if this foolishness goes on...

listen to or download the audio from the event: