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Axed Finsbury Park festival to rise again

PUBLISHED: 20:29 29 September 2010 | UPDATED: 11:13 14 October 2010

AN anti-racism festival that was axed last year by Mayor of London Boris Johnson is set to return to Finsbury Park this weekend. A campaign to resurrect the Rise festival after the Mayor axed its grant will reap its reward on Sunday with the staging of it

AN anti-racism festival that was axed last year by Mayor of London Boris Johnson is set to return to Finsbury Park this weekend.

A campaign to resurrect the Rise festival after the Mayor axed its grant will reap its reward on Sunday with the staging of its successor, UpRise.

Up-and-coming stand-up comedian Imran Yusuf will host the event, while hip-hop artist and Mercury Music Prize nominee Ty will return to the stage after performing at the last Rise in 2008.

The campaign was started by two Finsbury Park residents, Mike Barnard and Freya van Lessen, of Bolton Walk, who collected a 3,000-signature petition. Mr Barnard, 28, who works in marketing, said: "It's a very exciting time. A dedicated team of volunteers have come together to bring this festival about. We're just keen to get to Finsbury Park, get set up and have a great day for everyone to enjoy."

The organisers originally petitioned Boris Johnson to reinstate the festival, which was run by City Hall, but when their bid was rejected they decided to organise it themselves, dubbing it UpRise.

They raised £20,000 and are hoping to draw 20,000 people to the celebration of London's multiculturalism. Mr Barnard added: "This is the first of what we hope will be many festivals."

The last Rise event, in 2008, attracted 100,000 people and was headlined by reggae legend Jimmy Cliff.

Sunday's event is from 12.30pm to 7.30pm.


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