Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Brighton Hip Hop festival's funding has been cut. It's the only UK festival celebrating hip hop. Why should I care? Because my son has been writing and rapping with one of the organisations running it, a fantastic group of people called Audio Active. Their workshops have provided a focus for teenage boys - black and white - in the city to express themselves, to write and communicate what they feel about this screwed up world we live in. The festival's given them an opportunity to appear on the same stage as some of the UK's biggest stars, to learn about the discipline of creating work and performing it. To learn about what it means to be professional and dedicated. To learn about the power of words.

But the same old story seems to be played out endlessly in this city. No money for poetry, no money for hip hop, but plenty of cash for withies and string and clowns..... So the festival, on the seafront in July, just won't happen. Instead, some of the acts due to perform will be at Concorde 2 on Sunday trying to raise cash to keep at least something going. Why does this sound SO familiar?

Oh, there's the excuse of the olympics which is threatening to become one of the old standards, rolled out by the lazy to justify their inability to see beyond their own limited existence. But maybe, also, it's to do with the amount of money poured into organisations that play the funding game so well, that provide sponsors with good seats, with kudos, with press coverage and outcomes and well, we all know.....

The acts appearing at the Concorde 2 are waiving their fees. The flyer reads: Help Save the UK's largest celebration of Hip Hop Culture. The names mean nothing to me, but I like the sound of Dr Syntax. Inconceivable, isn't it, that the city can't back this one? But as an old hippie turned old cynic, maybe not. This is the website address: www.bhhf.org