Rise Festival was a London event set up by the Trades Union Congress in 1996 as a music event to promote anti-racism.
The original event took part in Finsbury Park, north London, featuring artists Chumbawumba, Fun-Da-Mental, Asian Dub Foundation and Incognito and was held again the following year in East London’s Victoria Park in Hackney.
After a three year hiatus the event was revived when Ken Livingstone was elected Mayor of London in 2000 and held annually around London featuring acts such as Jimmy Cliff, De La Soul, Public Enemy, CSS, Run DMC and Graham Coxon.
Following Boris Johnson’s election as London Mayor in 2008, he removed the anti-racism message from the festival. Subsequently the trade unions UNISON and Unite the Union withdrew their festival funding before Boris Johnson announced the festival would be cancelled completely in April 2009.
The cancellation of Rise Festival is a travesty and removes an important multi-cultural event which celebrated the contributions of different communities to the capital and promotes excellent community relations.