One of the founders of reggae band Steel Pulse, Basil Gabbidon has a long history of using music as a force for good.

Basil played at the first Rock Against Racism ‘Carnival Against The Nazis’ in London’s Victoria park in 1978 – and comes to Oxford on Saturday for a second year to headline the Oxford Love Music Hate Racism festival at the Isis Farmhouse, in Iffley.

Basil will be performing with Gabbidon Acoustic and will be joined by a host of local talent to rally people to anti-racism through music.

“In the 1970s our music helped to unite black and white youth against those who wanted to divide us,” says Basil. “We faced a tide of racist attacks and a dangerous fascist movement in the form of the National Front.

“Now racist attacks are on the rise again and we are seeing the growth of racist, far right and fascist politics on a scale not seen since the 1970s.

“Our music expresses a wish for peace, love, and fun, but also carries our fighting spirit and determination to say ‘Never again’ to the racists.”

As well as the Basil Gabbidon band, there will be sets by Brickwork Lizards, Rhymeskeemz, Joely, Inner Peace Records, Call.Me.Tiece, LoLo, My Crooked Teeth, Russ Chandler, Raouf Adear, Jen Berkova, The Hex Collective and Dr Steevo.

There will also be Witney Soul Club DJs John & Butters; Bhangra DJ Steve Gill; and spoken words from Ciaran Walsh and Robin Welsh.

Also expect pony rides, a bouncy castle and face painting plus a live graffiti artist.

Oxford Mail:

Julie Simmons is a founding member of Oxford Love Music Hate Racism – part of a national body supported by prominent artists including Ed Sheeran, Stormzy and Wolf Alice.

She said: “Rock Against Racism attracted hundreds of thousands of people of all ages to hundreds of small gigs and large anti-racist festivals and protests that helped to reverse the advance of the National front, and transformed British society against racism.

“We can’t let that kind of hatred grow again.

“The racist rhetoric of mainstream politicians like Trump and Farage embolden racists to attack and make it easier for fascists to get a hearing.

“The mass killings in Pittsburgh and Christchurch show where unchecked racist and fascist ideas end up.

Oxford Mail:

“At a time of rising racist attacks we urgently need to build the grassroots movement against racism, and music has an important role to play in mobilising people who want to live in a peaceful and tolerant society.

“We use the energy of the music scene to celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist activity.”

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Oxford musician Jake Swinhoe who is helping to organise the festival said “I have taken aid to refugees in Calais and seen decent people, including very young children, forced to live in inhumane conditions.

“Their suffering is a direct result of the racist scapegoating of migrants. The Government’s ‘hostile environment’ policy has wrecked the lives of members of the Windrush generation and many more.

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“As the climate crisis grows we need a better response to people forced to migrate than racist walls and border guards.

“The Oxford Love Music Hate Racism festival is a great opportunity for people to come together in celebration of different cultures while raising funds for the campaign to halt the rise in racism.”

Oxford Love Music Hate Racism Festival takes place on Saturday from 2pm - late, at Isis Farmhouse, on the towpath, near Iffley lock, Oxford.

Tickets: Afternoon 2-7pm £4.

All day full price £8 / unwaged £6.

Evening only full price £6 / unwaged £4 on the door.

All funds raised will go towards campaigning against racism