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Barbican residents pull plug on “secret” grime gig organised by Future Cinema founder

Ghetts gig by David Wickham Ghetts gig by David Wickham

Thursday, March 13, 2014
11:54 AM

Furious Barbican families pulled the plug on a protest gig that hijacked their estate on Sunday.

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More than 250 people turned up to the “Secret Gig” which was organised at an hour’s notice in the middle of the Barbican estate, drawing dozens of police to the area.

Those living on the estate off Silk Street confronted the audience in person and on Twitter with comments such as “this isn’t Shoreditch”, before one disconnected the generator at 9.20pm, bringing an end to the noise.

The gig, organised by Future Cinema founder Fabien Riggall and featuring UK grime artist MC Ghetts, was a protest against the Barbican centre’s decision to cancel grime event Just Jam – which was set to take place on March 1 – following advice from the City of London Police.

Perspective

Mr Riggall wanted to hit back at authorities for what he called “unjustified discrimination” against young people, but residents had little sympathy.

David Graves, a City of London Councillor who lives on the estate, said: “I spoke to two supporters of the event on the night and I am not sure they understood the residents’ perspective, one of them saying that ‘it did not matter’. I think most residents would disagree.

“Clearly there is a right to peaceful protest but to have decided to do this in the heart of a residential estate of 2,000 densely- packed homes is in my view selfish and unreasonable. It interferes unfairly with the right of people to live at home in peace.”

Sarcastic comments from residents on Twitter included “Just witnessed some folks organise a gig in front of kids bedrooms on a Sunday night. How cool is that?” and “this isn’t Shoreditch.”

Mr Riggall, who sent out e-mails and used social media to advertise the event, said that some residents had misunderstood the gig, which was only supposed to go on until 9.30pm.

He said: “We were doing this as a statement that young people should have access to culture.

“Lots of the residents were angry, but once I explained what we were doing and that it would be over soon, some of them calmed down.

“But then one resident came down and unplugged the generator. He was furious, he said ‘how dare you do this’; he looked very upset.

“We weren’t attacking the people there, we kept the PA system volume low down.”

City of London Police attended the gig but said they were only there to make sure things did not get out of hand.

A Barbican spokesman said: “The Barbican took the decision to cancel the Just Jam concert scheduled to take place on March 1 on the grounds of public safety following dialogue with the City of London Police. As a responsible public venue we have to take police advice seriously and consider the safety of audience members, artists and our staff.”

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