Once again Brixton has found itself in social controversy, surrounded by issues that seem to swarm the area such as music, gentrification and race. The 13th August Loose Lips, Resonate and Philantropy Collective worked together to form an event at Pop Brixton, a new ‘trendy’ venue where you can grab some food and booze from a wide variety of choice.
I spoke to the co-founder of Loose Lips who had chosen to set up an enjoyable and friendly day event fuelled by artistic souls exposing their paintings, clothes, poetry and live performances. In an area where Brixtons influence to the UK’s music industry is blatant from dub to jungle to Hip Hop, Pop Brixton seemed like the supreme venue to hold an event to receive a booming crowd while preserving good vibes. The team worked together to contribute to Artists in Action. This humanitarian association provides awareness whilst enjoying an artistic experience allowing more people to get involved and come closer to certain crises around the world. The co-founder of Loose Lips, Frederick made clear the importance of supporting one of these many causes, this being the Calais refugee camp. With our eyes shut to the world outside us yet immigration problems being such a current affair it seemed important to create a clear view on this problem being ‘so close to home’ on our border into the UK. With a mixture of diverse talents, artists, backgrounds, some even coming from overseas such as Greece, one intention was clearly seen: bringing humanity together while tackling a serious issue.
Being a lively and colourful event with a successful popularity with over 2800 people through the door, it was thriving. The team had been told, however, to avoid bass type music as Pop Brixtons policy. In the heart of Brixton were music with a fast BPM can be seen as a heritage this new policy can be seen as debatable by some. Around 7/8 in the evening whilst food and drink had been flowing one of the DJ’s whose roots were based in Brixton decided to pay tribute to the area while adding extra atmosphere by playing a Jungle track. With drastic action from the staff the situation escalated quickly after a second DJ repeated to play a D&B track as a statement showing that music should define love and unity. Having the opposite effect the event got shut down due to ‘aggression’. All those involved in the event, distressed by the trouble caused and misunderstanding, found themselves on the doorstep. This left all in a certain awe with some of the team trying to collect extra funds on the streets to complete their goal in helping the Calais Refugee Camp. This quickly got cut short by security from the venue attempting to stop this act of goodwill.
Loose Lips, being involved in many events around the UK, has had a large experience in creating events. Frederick explained his disappointment had ran a lot deeper than just misfortune of his event being shut down. Being not only a charity event which had ran smoothly with all artists showing a considerable compassion, the problems raised ran a lot deeper. In Brixton where the famous arches and markets are being shut down and replaced with trendy tourist traps we found this idea of gentrification getting in the way of the meaning of an event. A Brixton born and bred DJ showing the crowd a peek of his own background and being thrown out on his own doorstep is just a keyhole perspective of the problems involving social class, music and gentrification in our society. After being in contact with Pop Brixton they have given 5% of the bar take to the charity but this had already initially been agreed. Crucially though, no compensation has been given for the shutdown of the event and the time that was lost where the organisers were not allowed to collect money for the charity leaving yet again a sour note from this rich profitable venue. Even with this brash, unexpected and sad attempt to disharmonise a great amount of work the day still came to be a success through expanding the knowledge of the public, creating an inspirational showcase.