Why did Walkabout cancel on Rock Against Racism?

Rock Against Racism, a music event which raised £500 and drank the taps of Christopher’s dry, was placed in jeopardy when, three days before it was due to take place, Lincoln’s Walkabout Bar decided to cancel. The Linc spoke to both LoveUnity and Walkabout, to get their sides of the story.

Walkabout responded to why Rock Against Racism gig was cancelled. Photo: Ewan Munro via Flickr

Statement from LoveUnity

The committee of LoveUnity – a campaigning organisation against racist division and discrimination in the Lincoln area, would like to thank all the people who attended Rock Against Racism. In addition, we would particularly like to thank Christopher’s Bar, Lincoln, for its support in making this event possible, and Groove, Lincoln, for also offering their support.

In a disappointing last minute move, the original venue made the decision to withdraw their support and jeopardise the success of an event held to say “no” to racism and discrimination.

This would have meant the four months of organisation that the event had taken to plan would have been in vain.
It is unclear as to why Walkabout decided to reverse their support for the event. Three reasons have been given so far:

1. Police warning of a public order threat.
2. A breach of political impartiality in the run up to the elections.
3. Avoiding the risk of offending their customers.

Either scenario does not stand up to scrutiny. There was no risk of public disorder, as the event was stewarded effectively. The event was a ticket-only event, and Walkabout were fully aware from the start of the anti-racist message which included opposition to far-right organisations.

Thirdly, to “avoid offending customers” is an argument which unfortunately panders to racism, and reduces their position to the lowest common denominator.

In order to stop the rise of racism and the far-right, it is important for people to get involved in campaigning activity, including organising gigs and other social events.

Walkabout’s recent disappointing actions would have set this movement back, but thankfully LoveUnity were able to rescue the situation with the support of Christopher’s.

We would encourage people to think carefully before giving Walkabout their future custom.

Statement from Walkabout

Initially we were very happy to host the ‘Rock Against Racism’ event because it champions a good cause that we feel very strongly about.

However, leading up to the event it became apparent that there were certain parties that were planning to disrupt the event and cause problems at the venue. The safety of our customers and staff is our primary concern at all times, so unfortunately we had no option other than to cancel the event.

We’re very sorry that the organisers had to find a new venue at such short notice, but we are a responsible venue with very high standards and customer safety will always be our first priority.

– Disclaimer: Jack Dobson is an active member of LoveUnity

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