Arts & Culture

Oxford Love Music Hate Racism festival lowers barriers

By Richard Chidwick at

Florence Park was the scene for the Love Music Hate Racism event on Sunday to coincide with the Florence Park People’s Fair. Despite a slightly rainy day in Oxford, the crowd gathered in front of the stage to enjoy music, speeches and performances to promote music and campaign against racial hatred.

Love Music Hate Racism (LMHR) was set up in 2002. The event uses the energy of music to celebrate diversity and involve people in anti-racist activity. At the event, Rhymeskeemz who is also an MC of rap collective, the P45’s was joined onstage by rapper Booka T and backed by DJ Dr Erbz laying down some crisp beats for the two rappers to get the crowd moving.

Julie Simmons, Secretary of Oxford Love Music Hate Racism said: “We are pleased to be invited to run the music stage at The People’s Fair. It has been a fantastic opportunity to celebrate our diverse cultures through music as well as raise the importance of actively campaigning against the rise in racism. The majority of our music comes from the fusion of different cultures. By seeking to destroy this fusion of cultures racism destroys the music we love. Oxford Love Music Hate Racism would like to thank all the artists who performed, Oxford Sound Works Recording Studio and everyone else who helped make this event happen.”

Ian Mckendrick from Oxford Stand Up To Racism who addressed the crowd said: “We need people to unite and act against the rise in racism. Successive governments and the media have worked hard to create a picture that it is migrants, Muslims and refugees who are causing social problems, when in fact it is government cuts. This continual scapegoating is creating division and is inciting racist attacks. We need everyone to unite to drive back this rise in racism. Love Music Hate Racism events are a great way to celebrate our diverse cultures and introduce new people to the movement. It would be good to see local musicians take up the campaign and help to organise more events to get the message out.”

Silas Gray who hosted the event on the day is a longstanding supporter of Oxford Love Music Hate Racism. He said: “I grew up in Oxford from 15 to 18 years old. I began hosting nights in Oxford, and from 18 to 20 I did a lot of stuff with LMHR, and promoted ideas that resonate with society. It’s important for young people to understand Oxford is a cultural melting pot.”

“I was always aware that asylum seekers and people from war torn countries do come to Oxford and that is part of Oxford life. It’s important for anyone in Oxford and the country at large to understand about the people who live here and to spread the love.”

To get involved and to find out about future events go to or

Photo by Julie Simmons