Online campaign attacks controversial Islington gig
13:02 08 June 2011
»A storm has erupted over a controversial gig featuring bands with far-right connections – but organisers say they are they are victims of an online vendetta.
The event at Slimelight, in Torrens Street, Islington, on June 25 will feature Sol Invictus, whose lead singer Tony Wakeford was once in the National Front, and whose band member Andrew King recorded a song in which a character declares that Hitler is the second coming.
Also on the bill is Freya Aswynn, who was once quoted as saying she was “pleasantly surprised to see a substantial amount of white people in New York”.
Anti-fascist website Who Makes the Nazis has slammed the event, and the internet is awash with bloggers calling for it to be cancelled.
But Patrick Leagas, whose band 6 Comm is headlining the gig, says the criticism is the result of a long-standing personal feud involving Mr Wakeford. “This goes all the way back to the 70s,” he said. “Tony joined a right wing group – he admitted to his stupidity and apologised. He has a Jewish wife now, so it would be hard to describe him as a Nazi.”
“A lot of this bad publicity is the work of one person. The bands offered to cancel the gig, but why should we?”
Fans and members of other bands due to perform at the event have bombarded the Gazette’s website insisting they have absolutely no sympathy or allegiance to far-right groups.
But local business and anti-racism groups are still concerned.
Taz Khatoon, arts co-ordinator for the Candid Arts Trust, a few doors up from Slimelight in Torrens Street, said: “If the bands have racist connotations we would rather they didn’t come – we don’t want any trouble.”
Michael Barnard, co-founder of the Uprise festival in Finsbury Park last year, said: “It would be appalling if pro-fascism bands were to play such a short distance from Finsbury Park which has been the focal point for so many successful anti-racism festivals. “
Mayuan Mak, who runs Slimelight, defended the gig, saying: “We have supported charities doing relief work in Japan and Haiti and support groups for asylum seekers in the past. We would not tolerate an event that has a Neo-Nazi focus.”