Kurt Nikolaisen explains the purpose of Love Music Hate Racism Ireland.
Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) is a music-oriented campaign by the Anti-Nazi League and Unite Against Fascism in the UK. The campaign involves concerts aimed at spreading an anti-racist message. It follows in the tradition of the 1970s Rock Against Racism (RAR) campaign.
LMHR was set up in 2002 in response to the increased support for the far right British National Party (BNP). The first big LMHR concert was a festival in Manchester’s Platt fields, headlined by Doves and Ms. Dynamite. The organisation believes that modern music is influenced by many cultures and traditions, and that it can be used to bring different kinds of people together. Most LMHR concerts include several music genres.
We’re quite lucky in Ireland not to have an organised racist or fascist party such as the BNP or groups like the English Defence League (EDL). That is mainly thanks to left wing groups and the likes of AFA and campaigning journalists who hound out and shine a spotlight on certain characters who have attempted to create hate groups.
It is also important to have the attitude ‘’prevention is better than cure’’ and the decision was made in 2009 to launch Love Music Hate Racism in Ireland and operate it in the same vein as the UK organisation.
There had been LMHR gigs in Cork, Dublin and Galway over the last few years but never an attempt at putting together a network of events and a national Love Music Hate Racism campaign that would organise events regularly around the country.
On 23 July 2009 Love Music Hate Racism launched its sight and awareness campaign with an evening of live music and DJs at the Twisted Pepper in Dublin. The main aims of the first year of LMHR were to push the ‘’brand’’, and to build the group’s reputation in Dublin. Also, they wanted to show people that there was support for anyone who wished to put on their own LMHR event in other parts of the country, with help and support from the main group in Dublin. This resulted in successful gigs in Galway and Sligo, and even got the ball rolling on events outside Dublin city in places like Clondalkin.
Every organisation has to start somewhere, and this time last year the group was unknown. Now its fanbase has grown to over 5000 nationwide, with the music industry recognising it as a respectable group of individuals trying to create a national musically-orientated anti-racism movement.
The Sweeney Mongrel (formerly Le Cirk) on Dame St is the home of Love Music Hate Racism in Dublin, and the next gigs coming up are the 29th May, 18th June and Love Music Hate Racism’s 1st birthday 16th July.
The success of LMHR does not negate the need for a grassroots anti-racism network in this country, a national campaign that can work alongside LMHR. Music events do have a way of getting a message across, but there are issues out there that need to be addressed in more ways than holding a gig.
In the near future LMHR Ireland aims to have regular events up and running in Galway, Cork, Limerick and Waterford.
Anyone wishing to get involved with Love Music Hate Racism, contact firstname.lastname@example.org