A view of the stage from the crowd
We kicked off our agit8 protest songs project in a the BIG way yesterday: By hosting a free, two-day pop-up concert of about two dozen acts at the Tate Modern in London. Buskers, actors and up-and-coming artists shared the spotlight with top UK acts like KT Tunstall, Jamie Cullum, Paloma Faith and David Gray, performing on a stage at the foot of Tate’s iconic chimney, with a gorgeous view of the river Thames out in front of them.
Their mission? Create a soundtrack for the protest to end extreme poverty by re-imagining some of the greatest protest songs ever written.
Photo caption: Dozens of fans across the UK came out to specifically see Biffy Clyro perform.
The event – despite the rain – brought in hundreds of people throughout the day, and ONE volunteers were able to get more than 2,000 signatures on our petition to the G8, which asks leaders to make commitments to food and transparency to help lift up millions out of poverty. “We’re getting really good responses and signups,” said ONE volunteer Natasha on her experience with the crowd.
Over the next 9 hours, the bands took turns gracing the stage with their song. Dancing Years, an indie band from the UK, sang “Harrowdown Hill” by Radiohead. Scottish artists Biffy Clyro did an incredible rendition of “Killing In The Name Of” by Rage Against the Machine. James Morrison, an English singer-songwriter, sang “People Get Ready” by The Impressions. Watch some of these exclusive performances them in our YouTube playlist below.
The audience was a mix of ONE members, tourists, students, people who had discovered the event from Twitter, supporters of the bands that were playing, and others who had just simply chanced upon it.
“I was just coming to the museum,” said Rosie, 19, a student from Central St. Martins, “And I saw this free concert with Paloma Faith. I have her album!”
Watch some of the live performances from Day 1 here in this YouTube playlist:
The concert ended with an incredibly moving and poignant film on protest music and its role in social movements, directed by critically acclaimed writer, director and producer Richard Curtis (Love Actually, Notting Hill). The film, which included vivid animations and footage of historic protests, was projected on the building of the Tate from across the river, and featured songs like Marlene Dietrich’s “Where Have All the Flowers Gone,” and the Clash’s “London Calling”.
The audience stood unmoving, their eyes transfixed on the film.
And we can’t leave you hanging without some perspective of the experience from the crowd. Check out this neat little Storify we made with some crowdsourced photos:
We’re doing it all again today with a different set of artists and musicians, so be sure to check back on ONE.org for the Day 2 recap.
And if you haven’t visited our agit8 website yet, what are you waiting for? Start listening to some great music here!