History & Culture

The Unity Festival Pt 4 the aftermath

The SAG de-brief

During the process of setting up an event like the Unity Festival you have what are called ‘Safety Advisory Group’ Meetings – or ‘SAGS’. Once it’s all over you have to attend a SAG de-brief.

You'll be needing this... it's the wrong end of the stick.

At the SAG de-brief, the Council made clear that they had expected 2000 tops (as had we), so we had to go & sit on the naughty step for a while when we met up with them.

They'd been so much help & we knew full well that there's no way we could ever have pulled it all off, without loads of input from the Council. The great numbers for us, had been a mare for them & thus, the (aforementioned) step - was piping hot..!

There had also been a little weed smoking going down by the Reggae tent apparently, which didn’t go down too well...

Council Officer : 'Get nice & comfy fellas - Ya want some gravy fo' dat ass..?'

Omelettes & eggs though & we think they knew in their hearts, that we had done our very best to ensure people kept a lid on things.

The odd bod did let the occasion get to them though... One girl climbed up really high in a tree & had to be got down by the Fire Service, which wasn’t ideal...

As you can see, Gibbon-Girl could easily have fallen & badly hurt herself or even die, but there's always one..! No wonder the Council were pissed off.

There was also one accident, where a stall holder got burned by splashing cooking oil. Other than that & the smell of a ‘lickle ‘erb’ down on Reggae corner, things went off really well, especially when you consider how many people attended

 The Council did make clear though, that if we wanted to ever do it again, we’d have to use the bigger, Exhibition Park to handle the crowds.

The Miner's Gala

We got the chance to bring the festival back & incorporate it with the historic 'Durham Miners Gala' a few years later & went down with Danny to chat to the Unions.

We seriously considered it, as it had a decent production budget & was a really golden opportunity. But it was also right when we were first setting up WHQ & Nat Turner Live Events. We didn’t want to let them down, by not being able to undertake the level of full time commitment it would have required, so we had to pass.

At WHQ we have total respect for the Trade Union Movement.

These days we often now wish we hadn’t...

But you have to be straight with people you respect about things & you have to be realistic. You can only do so much, if you want to do it properly.

Daniel the Lionheart

We are lifetime friends with our brother Danny now & we honestly couldn’t be more proud of the path his life has taken. He’s recently been heading up the UK Black Teachers Union & now has a little boy with Laura, his lovely partner who is also one of us.

We hooked up when she & Jeremy Corbyn came to the Toon during the election campaign, to spin tunes for them before & after their speeches, to the massive crowd at the Newcastle City Hall.

Will it ever happen again..?

We always spoke of doing another Unity Festival, initially liking the idea of 4 years later in 2019 (that’s why it says that, at the end of the movie we cut, which you see at the bottom) but that didn’t end up happening. Who knows though, maybe we will bring it back someday.

Thanks & some retrospective cashews

For now, we thank every single person who freely gave their time & effort to help deliver this amazing landmark & historic event.

Many of you reading this today will have been there on the day. Thank you all so, so much for supporting what you knew was right & for standing up to racism with us. We took the time to write this section of the site just for you, to make you smile & help seal all those fantastic memories of the Unity Festival.

We’d also like to take this opportunity, to apologise again, to anyone who at times during its organisation & our full on gametastic, raw hustling, delivery process drew the conclusion we might be nuts…

Bananas actually.

It was just that we cared so much, wanted to make certain of the result we all ended up with & didn’t want to let anyone down x.

Post Festival Triva & Bits

1. If you watch Tommy’s Doctorate acceptance speech in the 'Dr. Who..?' section you’ll hear him namecheck Danny at the start.

2. We charged the one ice cream man we had there, around £300.00 (from memory) for his pitch for the day. He took flippin' thousands & we worked out afterwards that we could have bought our own ice cream van & still made way, way more than that, had we had a crystal ball.

3. Akala & Ms Dynamite are related. Which basically means, that our Brother & Sister, are Brother & Sister.

4. We have a favourite memory of the day. It was the bit where Ms D was smashing it & a group of little girls were at the front, really excited & getting right into it. You can see it captured below, in a fleeting moment in the film of the day, near the end... 

It's so important that young girls have strong, positive role models (that look like them) to look up to. If that one moment, was all the Unity Festival had delivered, we'd still be happy & feel that it was all worthwhile.

5. The Unity Festival 2015 Film - Jake, who we brought onto the committee & stage managed for us (a great friend & ally of WHQ) can be seen in the front still panel of the film with Jenn, his lobster... He can also be seen in it, dancing around like an over excitable, elated & chimpy, little loon...

6. The first Unity Festival flyer we created.

Still love the colours on this.

7. Flyer we made to distribute at rallys in London, to drive donations from outside the area.

The copy & quite 'heavy' ominous vibe, pretty much nails where we were at in the city pre Unity Festival - we all needed a proper good boost.

8. Front of the 2nd Newcastle-specific Flyer.

That 'Think outside, no box required' line is so cool.

9. The WHQ specific, donation drive flyer we did.

Pretty in y'face - but worked a treat on the Club bunnies, as we knew it would.

Always remember...

You are all the kids of the Toon. We are always with you & we are a Team. Our Team is strong, passionate & we shall prevail... x


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