So on Sunday we held an all day event at The Barn (part of the Milton Arms in Portsmouth). Here’s a quick report – for a bit of context see our last gig report, maybe some idiots have learnt a lesson?
Although we had received no communication from the law (not that we would have replied), we learnt the night before that the filth had been leaning on the venue for hosting us, just as they have been doing at the Southsea Social Club since we last hosted a gig in that function room. Threatening the licencees of premises is a classic tactic to try and get gigs pulled, but the problem the police have is that both venues are well run and therefore don’t have to worry about their licenses being revoked.
Sure enough as a few of us arrived to set up the BBQ there were two coppers in there, again telling the landlord he shouldn’t be hosting an antifascist gig. There’s an important lesson here – Hampshire police are happy to facilitate the far right and EDL in both flash demos and organised demos, where they are free to walk the streets under police supervision whilst lobbing fireworks about and abusing people but we are not allowed to put on a gig without harassment from the same police force. The last gig would have been completely peaceful if it was not for the caped crusaders of the EDL demanding they get a slap. And people still think anti-fascists should talk to the police!?!? Fuck that!
Although the venue had put doormen on, a bunch of antifascists kept vigil outside, again expecting the local fascists to be too stupid to learn their lesson and make a brief cameo, but alas it wasn’t to be – perhaps the local EDL spent a day with their families misunderstanding the D-day celebrations down at the sea-side? It’s a step in the right direction for them, now someone just needs to explain to them which side we were on! (The D-day stuff was really good apparently, the News has some good pics here!).
We are really pleased that everyone seems to have had a great time in what turned out to be a real family friendly day. We need to say a massive thank you to all the bands that played for travel money (or for free!), The couple running the BBQ (for free), the venue, the sound man, those who took the door money, or looked after the stall, and to every one who came down, for the whole day, or just a part of it, and to those that missed all the bands due to keeping an eye out for trouble with the intention of keeping those inside safe. Cheers!
We didn’t make a huge amount of money as we wanted to make sure the travelling artists were looked after as much as we could, but money is not important. What is important is that anti-fascism again grows in our city, that people don’t blame the scapegoats chosen for them by the media and politicians, that people don’t get intimidated by a few idiots, and that we can, and will, host our own events. This weekend it seemed particularly poignant – fascism is not welcome in Portsmouth, never has been, never will be.