Rise: London United 8th July is the UK's largest anti-racist music festival. This year, held in Finsbury Park, Londoners of all age, colour and race stood together and showed a united front against racism in our country's capital. The event provided a fun day out for all families as well as conveying some important messages about discrimination and racism.
Formally known as the Respect festival, Rise: London United was re-launched in 2005 reinforcing the importance of its continuance within our communities.
Held on the 8th July in Finsbury Park N3 Rise: London United was poignantly close to both the July 7th 2005 bombings and the Olympic bid anniversaries. In a month where the country had joined together in celebration and in grief, Rise: London United offered the perfect occasion for the capitals population to reunite and celebrate each other; both similarities and differences. Families, couples, young and old stood together to celebrate the multi cultural and diverse city that we share.
Issues affecting all races were raised at the festival with specific emphasis placed upon the false portrayal of the Muslim faith through modern press; this added a strong political message to the day's objectives.
Not only did Rise: London United bring a variety of people together but it also congregated a range of activities ad stalls making traditions and produce easily accessible to all present, many of which would never have been experienced by the crowds.
On entering Finsbury Park N3, visitors were greeted by the bright colours and playful screams of a fair ground, fully equipped with Dodgems and Waltzers.
The 7 stages contained within the venue provided a platform for the musical performances of the day. Some well-known artists performed as well as other more obscure acts, but all with the universal message, ‘Love Music, Hate Racism’.
Mirroring the cultures that were present, culinary delights from the world over were readily available, as was the range of merchandise on sale. The stall handlers were also more than willing to explain the historical and cultural detail of their produce adding an educational element to their presence at the festival.
Although the political messages and cultural importance of the festival may have been a little advanced for the 0-5 age group there was still plenty available to keep the children entertained, and educated all day. The numerous performances provided a fun summer's day soundtrack, ample for dancing around North London's sun kissed park, while finger puppets and hair braiding were also popular activities for the younger visitors.
Most of the attention given to the children was provided by Buckinghamshire based Child care company ‘Nipperbout’. Started 15 years ago Nipperbout is a mobile child-care company that provides a supervised and un-supervised child care facility for 0-16 year olds.
A large space was dedicated solely to the children's entertainment sector that included a bouncy castle and professional face painting. The supervised play area allocated to Nipperbout included the usual toys you would find in a playpen such as kitchettes and sand pits, however more adventurous and exciting toys had been brought along too. The children were able to experience small movable stepping machines and twisted mirror glasses; much to their excitement. Also included in Nipperbout's range of facilities were two child entertainers dressed as a ‘fairy’ and a ‘gnome’, who worked tirelessly organizing games all day to ensure the children's enjoyment of Rise: London United whatever their age.
Janthea and Stephen Brigden
Nipperbout Active Childcare
Tel: 01296 712658
reviewed by Claire Cahill
(KidsZone • London)